By Lindsey German
and Robin Beste
Oct 21, 2014
This latest phase of terrorism is a product of the west's disastrous foreign policies, endless wars and backing of barbaric regimes in the Middle East.
- The way to defeat ISIS is not by using the methods which which led to its creation. The wars and interventions in the Middle East for over a decade broke up exisiting states, destroyed their infrastructure and fostered sectarianism. This was the seed ground for the rise of ISIS.
- The latest military intervention has returned to Iraq the powers who led the invasion in 2003 and the occupation that followed. This will do nothing to solve the problems of the region.
- The airstrikes by the US, Britain and their allies are not intended to save lives, but to strengthen the west's domination of the Middle East region strategically and control its resources, most notable its oil. The British government's aim is also to reverse the defeat David Cameron suffered in parliament last year, when MPs voted against an attack on Syria.
- Dealing with terrorism should start with stopping arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and other reactionary regimes in the region. US vice-president Joe Biden let the cat out of the bag when he said that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had "poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons" into Syria, which fell into the hands of ISIS and other jihardi groups. Much of the ISIS weaponry was seized from forces armed by the US, including from the Iraqi army and sections of the Syrian opposition.
- Shutting down the ISIS sources of funding is essential. ISIS has been funded by various powers in the region, most notably Saudi Arabia, which is one of the most reactionary states in the world, while remaining a very close ally of Britain and the US. Saudi Arabia was also the centre of support for al Qaeda. Cutting off financial support for ISIS must include Turkey, a Nato member, which has kept open its border with Syria, allowing ISIS to cross and sell lucrative oil.
- The issue of the Kurds is central to countering ISIS expansion in the region. The Iraqi Kurds are close allies of the west, but there is a very different attitude to the Kurds in Turkey and Syria. The PKK, which has been struggling for Kurdish self-determination for decades, is still listed as a terrorist organisation by the EU and the US. This is despite the PKK and its allies being prominent in the battle against ISIS. Turkey has oppressed the Kurds for many years and will not help those in Kobane, now under imminent threat of seizue by ISIS. Turkey could open its border to the Kurds, but refuses to do so, in contrast with its support for ISIS in the past. Instead the Turkish parliament has voted to create a 'buffer zone' at the Syrian border which will involve the disarming of the Kurds.
- Bombing will prove counter productive because it will do nothing to help the people already suffering, but will lead to far greater levels of death, injury and destruction. This has been the experience over the past 13 years, not only in Iraq, but in Afghanistan and Libya too.
- Iraq and Syria should be flooded with humanitarian aid, particularly for the millions of refugees who have been fleeing the wars. The refugees should receive the aid and support they need, and not be treated as potential terrorists within Europe.
- The brutal behaviour of ISIS should not be used as a means to increase anti-Muslim racism in Europe and the US.
- It must be recognised that this latest phase of terrorism in the Middle East is very much a product of the west's disastrous foreign policies, including the extension of wars and the backing of barbaric regimes in the region. The people of the Middle East have suffered enough. The west and Nato should get out of Syria and Iraq.
Video of Lindsey German speaking at the Stop the Bombing of Iraq demonstration, London 04/1014