Monday, 11 August 2014

Why the Stop the War Coalition in Britain is Orwellian.

'The terrible plight of the Yazidis, trapped by Isis and fearing a terrible fate if captured, is heart-rending but will not be helped by further military intervention in Iraq. The occupation of Iraq broke the infrastructure of Iraqi society. Sectarian tensions were encouraged and exacerbated by the occupying forces, and some of those now supporting Isis formed the opposition to this occupation'.
So opines Lindsey German, head and chief propagandist of Britain's Stop the War Coalition. Of course, if the war being waged by ISIS in Iraq at present is considered a continuation of the war the US and Britain started in 2003 by invading Iraq then there is not really much more to say on it. Only there is.

Some of those now aligning with ISIS were indeed part of the 'opposition' to the US and UK occupation. Former Baathists and Sunni jihadists whose 'opposition' was not called so but termed 'the resistance' by luminaries of the Stop the War Coalition such as Tariq Ali and John Pilger.

The hypocrisy of this is not surprising but it is no less fundamentally repellent to the deepest core possible. Back in 2003, the 'Stop the War Coalition' continually ( and artificially ) yoked the fate of Palestine to Iraq when the line was the witless placard slogan 'Don't Attack Iraq: Freedom for Palestine'. 

Now after eleven years when a pyschotic jihadist movement called ISIS is murdering Christians and the Yazidis in northern Iraq, Lindsey German merely claims that is the fault of 'the west' for having invaded Iraq in the first place ( as if this was radical subversive knowledge we did not know ).

But German bemoans the fact too that 'the west' and Turkey and Saudi Arabia 'armed the rebels'. The 'rebels', in any case, are not one homogenous group and the failure of the Western powers to try to strongly advise Saudi Arabia and Qatar enough not to fund Sunni fundamentalist fanatics is an abject failure.

The Free Syria Army is connected with the Muslim Brotherhood backed by Qatar and which also supports and gives funds to that noble 'resistance' movement known as Hamas which is extolled by leading members of the absurdly entitled 'Stop the War Coalition'.

But, of course, German knows that, which is why, in accordance with doublethink, she omits to mention Qatar at all as a factor in the regional power politics of the Middle East. It's obvious that the US and Britain's 'intervention' in the Middle East has largely had negative consequences in Syria and Iraq.

However, to say there is plenty that could be 'done' to 'stop' Israel committing war crimes in Gaza while insinuating absolutely nothing could be 'done' to stop ISIS killing thousands of Christians and Yazidis does not add up. Any truly humane 'anti-war' activist would, at least try to outline what could be done.

Adding to that the sneering and embittered comment that if the 'Stop the War' movement is to be accused of double standards for not having anything to say about that then those concerned are 'Tory bloggers, shock jocks and neocons', it could be made plain that the leadership of the StWC is actually little better.

The STWC leadership consists of a miserable array of failed Trotskyist revolutionaries and sour malcontents whose insistence in hijacking the cause of being 'anti-war' is a total fraud and a con. If Galloway could not be described as a ranting shock jock , then it would be difficult to see who else could be.

There is a need for a principled opposition to Britain's foreign policy that is seldom there in Parliament any more. Unfortunately, the StWC cannot provide it because it sits there as a sort of established anti-establishment consisting of the same dreary faces and self important hack propaganists.

Maybe it's time for an alternative alternative ? One based on true principles and, above all, a real knowledge of the Middle East and not the same empahasis on pure political expediency and hypocrisy that defined Tony Blair's approach and that has, in part, been carried on by the British government since.


  1. Interesting how you've gone silent on Russia / Ukraine. Have you finally woken up to Russian manipulation in that conflict? I doubt it, judging by your previous contributions on the subject. If people were to believe what you have written, this is a conflict 100% dreamed up in the mind's of neo-liberal imperialists, one which Russia played no part in the causing. Which, if you know anything about the recent history of Ukraine, you know is unmitigated crap. So, disclosure - have your views on Ukraine changed?

  2. Well, I can't deal with every world crisis on a continual basis. Too much is happening from Israel and Gaza, from Syria to Iraq as well as potential resource conflicts in the South China Sea. As for Russia and Ukraine, its another regional conflict over gas and a proxy conflict ( as is Syria ). Russia cynically exploited the Ukrainian crisis for their ends, but they would not have been able to do that had there not been a genuine reaction against the Ukrainian nationalist government in Kiev by those living in the east of Ukraine and better diplomacy from the western states. So my view of Ukraine has no changed. It remains consistent. Remember, I'm not one of those who called the removal of Yanukovych a 'fascist coup'. There was a genuine protest that got hijacked by far right elements to remove Yanukovych. That led to panic in the eastern regions, played on by Russia for its geopolitical ends.

  3. Fair enough. Then I can't really understand how in your blog about Poland's position on Ukraine you sound like a Kremlin propagandist claiming that Radek Sikorski hankers after greater Poland from Baltic to the Black Sea, when clearly the inverse is true and it is Russia which is hankering after imperialist expansion. Do you honestly believe that is what Sikorski is about? I'm curious because when you write about other topics that don't involve Poland, or specifically Poland and Russia, you seem to be able to make sense, but when that country or those countries are involved, you descend into some bizarre parallel universe in which you seem to see everything in reverse

  4. As regards Sikorski, no. I think his view of Russian under Putin is formed by certain 'echoes of the past in the present'. Sikorski evidently does not think Poland would or could create a Greater Poland from the Baltic to the Black Sea. He has a vision of Ukraine joining Poland within the framework of the EU and NATO but has been pushing vociferously for both as part and parcel of the same process for Ukraine rejoining the West. And that sense of his destiny, in so far as it is bound up with Poland's mission in Europe and as a Transatlantic spearhead of democracy promotion, is determined by that sense of history. Only Ukraine's post-1991 history demonstrates that this sort of determination to pull Ukraine into the EU, and so much more into NATO, is dangerous given the reality of its ambiguous position as the 'borderland'. I've written a new post at least partly updating the situation in Ukraine ( though it's by no means at all as detailed as I want it-more will follow). I think has Sikorski made bad errors of judgement and he cannot play this power game between himself and Poland, as he represents it, and Putin in Russia, the better to enlist the EU powers and the US too in a strategy that has already proved dangerous and divisive in Ukraine.