Responses: “Your Wars – Our Dead”
A renewed cycle of war and terror – terror and war. Scared also of the murder upon murder which the forces of the racists and the far right would like to unleash – thus accomplishing one of the aims of the murderers in Paris tonight. But we have to resist that, everywhere. And break this cycle at its roots. If we don’t, who will? Total solidarity with comrades in France who tonight are indicating that they will struggle tomorrow to do just that. And in that lies hope, and banishing fear.
– From the New Anti-capitalist Party in France.
There can be nothing but condemnation of the attacks in Paris. But there can – and should – also be understanding about why they occurred, and who created the conditions.
The short answer is us.
…Daesh has not risen in a vacuum. For those concerned about preventing such atrocities in future, it makes sense to examine the types of policies that have contributed to its emergence and strength. Two factors that created the crucial preconditions for the rise of Daesh were the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and Western support for Syrian jihadis.
Sorting fact from fiction in the aftermath of butchery
Crikey politics editor http://www.crikey.com.au/2015/11/16/sorting-fact-from-fiction-in-the-aftermath-of-butchery/
The Age of Despair: Reaping the Whirlwind of Western Support for Extremist Violence
by CHRIS FLOYD
Without the American crime of aggressive war against Iraq — which, by the measurements used by Western governments themselves, left more than a million innocent people dead — there would be no ISIS, no “Al Qaeda in Iraq.” Without the Saudi and Western funding and arming of an amalgam of extremist Sunni groups across the Middle East, used as proxies to strike at Iran and its allies, there would be no ISIS. Let’s go back further.
Without the direct, extensive and deliberate creation by the United States and its Saudi ally of a world-wide movement of armed Sunni extremists during the Carter and Reagan administrations, there would have been no “War on Terror” — and no terrorist attacks in Paris tonight.
Again, let’s be as clear as possible: the hellish world we live in today is the result of deliberate policies and actions undertaken by the United States and its allies over the past decades.
ISIS in Paris by Tariq Ali
There are three important pre-requisites to re-stabilising the region:
end of Western support to the extended Saudi royal family; end of all Western intervention in the region; a single Israeli/Palestinian state with equal rights for all its citizens. As long as this doesn’t happen, political freaks and monsters will continue to proliferate.
Nothing justifies the killing of innocents in Paris or in any city of the Arab East.
Paris attacks – COP21 and the war on terror
Oliver Tickle 14th November 2015
Is it a coincidence that the terrorist outrage in Paris was committed weeks before COP21, the biggest climate conference since 2009?
Perhaps, writes Oliver Tickell.
But failure to reach a strong climate agreement now looks more probable. And that’s an outcome that would suit ISIS – which makes $500m a year from oil sales – together with other oil producers.
…As the FT put it last week in an article titled ‘Isis Inc: how oil fuels the jihadi terrorists’, “Oil is the black gold that funds Isis’ black flag – it fuels its war machine, provides electricity and gives the fanatical jihadis critical leverage against their neighbours …
“Estimates by local traders and engineers put crude production in Isis-held territory at about 34,000-40,000 bpd. The oil is sold at the wellhead for between $20 and $45 a barrel, earning the militants an average of $1.5m a day …
“While al-Qaeda, the global terrorist network, depended on donations from wealthy foreign sponsors, Isis has derived its financial strength from its status as monopoly producer of an essential commodity consumed in vast quantities throughout the area it controls. Even without being able to export, it can thrive because it has a huge captive market in Syria and Iraq.”
Wars Past and Wars to Come
by John Newsinger
With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, elements within the U.S. ruling class came to believe that their country was militarily invincible. Indeed, they believed this newfound military superiority over any potential rival was something new in human history. So great was its technological advantage, the United States could destroy its enemies with complete impunity. A long-heralded Revolution in Military Affairs was taking place, enabling the United States to reshape the world. New smart technologies would disperse the “fog of war,” making it possible for the United States to kill its enemies without their being able to strike back, and the “Vietnam syndrome” could be overcome once and for all. The first Gulf War was a good demonstration of U.S. military superiority. According to military historian Keith Shimko, the U.S. casualty rate in the war was so low that male soldiers were statistically safer in the Gulf War zone than back in the States.1 Although he does not make the point, presumably black American men would have been considerably safer.
Even so, at this point in time, the U.S. government proceeded with considerable caution. The then-secretary of defense, Dick Cheney no less, made clear that the United States did not invade and occupy Iraq at this time because of the danger of finding itself in a “quagmire” where it would be taking casualties while the Kurds, the Shia, and the Sunnis fought it out. The administration decided not to involve itself in “that civil war.”
Such a commitment would have had to involve the use of “overwhelming force” for an extended period if it was to have any chance of success.2 This was in 1991. Ten years later such caution had been replaced by an overweening self-confidence, by a belief that the United States could completely reshape the Middle East, starting with Iraq, and then moving on to Syria and Iran. And, moreover, this could all be achieved with a comparatively small invading and occupying army. Read more here:
We must insist on the political nature of tragedy because politics offers the only way out of violence and injustice.
Paris peace sign http://time.com/4113068/paris-peace-sign-artist-interview/
Interviewing ISIS prisoners http://www.thenation.com/article/what-i-discovered-from-interviewing-isis-prisoners/
Statement from Gauche Révolutionnaire, the Socialist Party’s sister organisation in France
Sickening violence has struck Paris once more. Over 120 dead and dozens of injured in places where workers and young people gather at the end of the week (Stade de France, Bataclan music venue, various bars in the 10th and 11th districts). These barbarians had their minds set on indiscriminate mass murder, striking innocent people once again. These were working class districts of Paris, with their diverse populations, which suffered in this tragedy.
Nothing can justify these mindless attacks which took place on the same Friday in Paris, Baghdad and Nigeria, nor the attacks on a Beirut market on 12th November, nor in Ankara on 10th October, nor in Tunisia. We grieve today for our brothers and sisters, workers, young people, jobless, single parents, pensioners, irrespective of their background or heritage.
We condemn these attacks and the blind cowardice behind them. To execute defenceless people in cold blood reveals a far right ideology, whatever the supposedly religious or other excuses offered. Incapable of winning support among any section of the population, and certainly not among Muslims, the terrorists of ISIS, who have claimed responsibility for these attacks, use methods which are exactly the same as fascist groups, state dictatorships, and armies of occupation. Terror is a political weapon which aims at preventing workers from uniting, at imposing passivity through fear, at strengthening racism : we will not be intimidated, we will not be divided.
Unity of workers and youth against racism and barbarism
ISIS’ reliance on indiscriminate terror reveals the true nature of this organisation, which is nothing more than a gang of looters and traffickers. ISIS is merely the product of the chaos into which Iraq has been plunged following the destructive wars waged by European governments and in its methods it replicates the indiscriminate bombing raids on Syria and Iraq under cover of the ‘war on terror’.
In striking indiscriminately at working class districts of Paris ISIS plays an arch-reactionary role since it will be Muslims who may end up paying a high price through a renewed wave of Islamophobia, intolerance and racism. Moreover everything will be put in place to justify repression of action by workers and young people, starting with the imposition of a ‘state of emergency’ under which trade union demonstrations can be banned.
Not our war
Politicians, from the Front National to the PS (Socialist Party), are all united in their talk of ‘war’. A war they created and for which the people are paying the price today. But this is not our war. This government of ours continues to support the regime of the President of Turkey Erdogan. This is the same Erdogan who has for years been aiding ISIS, by allowing the terrorists and their contraband to cross the frontier, while keeping it firmly closed to the people of Kobane, a Kurdish town in the north of Syria which resisted and defeated ISIS last January. This same Erdogan bombs towns in Turkish Kurdistan, yet it is the Kurds who have just freed the Iraqi town of Sinjar from ISIS occupation.
It is the governments of Europe who sustain the regimes in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and sell arms to them, at the same time as these countries support ISIS and engage in mass killings in Yemen.
No to the religious or political far right
The position of the Hollande government, with the support of the FN and the Republicans, is to block any mass solidarity movement. The consequence of the ‘state of emergency’ will be to prevent any solidarity demonstrations such as those which took place in January after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo. Similarly, various current disputes, such as the strikes against redundancies in Paris hospitals or at Air France will certainly be banned. The state of emergency provides for ’the banning in general or in particular cases of meetings likely to be provocative or lead to public disorder’ and ‘enables those same public authorities to take any measures necessary to ensure the control of the press and all publications’. We must not accept these limitations on our rights and our activities since only the capitalists – the bosses of large corporations, share-holders – and the politicians who act in their interests will benefit, without creating any obstacle for terrorist groups.
It’s essential that the organisations of the workers’ movement, trade unions, parties, campaign groups, unite and declare their opposition to war and to the murderous policies of capitalism and its wars for oil and profits.
The genuine poverty in which whole sections of the population are plunged can only lead to despair and confusion which plays into the hands of the reactionaries and those who would divide us. The policies pursued in the Middle East and Africa can only promote further chaos. The consequences will be terrible for ordinary workers who will pay the price while politicians use the situation to provide further justification for their wars. In those countries terrorist groups, whose only motivation is pillage and contraband, reap generalised despair and use it to send out suicide bombers while the leaders live in palaces. More war will only bring more terrorism !
How much longer are we going to pay for a system which wages military, economic and social war a majority of the population of the planet to create profits for a handful who are safe and comfortable ?
And we are expected to suffer the worst terror, death, mistrust and fear. Enough ! We won’t let the racists, the far right like the FN and reactionaries win !
We will not be intimidated and divided, we will continue to fight for a tolerant and co-operative society, freed from capitalism and exploitation, for a democratic socialist society.
This will be a massive struggle with workers and youth united, whatever their nationality, skin colour, religion or none, a struggle for a decent life for all to take society forward and eliminate the filth of economic and social poverty in which religious and political reaction can thrive.
We are saddened and pained by the destruction of so many innocent lives. But we draw from these events all the more anger and determination to tolerate this inhuman system and the chaos it creates no longer.
Read the statement in French here: http://www.gaucherevolutionnaire.fr/
For those a little unsettled by the blanket coverage of the massacre in France, along with the virtually complete lack of coverage of the massacre of 43 people in Lebanon the day before, (and whatever that hypocrisy implies…)
the New Matilda site has some salutory articles – such as: