Syria

Hariri resignation stokes up regional tension

Submitted by Matthew on 15 November, 2017 - 9:08 Author: Simon Nelson

The bizarre resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Saudi state media has opened up another battleground between Iran and Saudi Arabia for regional dominance. Hariri said his life was in danger, pointed the finger at Iran and by extension the Shia sectarian Hezbollah, one of his government’s coalition partners.

100,000 Kurds flee Kirkuk

Submitted by Matthew on 8 November, 2017 - 8:41 Author: Simon Nelson

Over 100,000 Kurds have fled Kirkuk since the Iraqi army and the Hash’d al-Shaabi militia seized control of the territory, in the face of an overwhelming vote for an independent Kurdistan.

Kirkuk is of great importance for both Kurds and the Iraqi government. Its oilfields would have made any potential Kurdish state economically viable and allow it to quickly establish international trade links. Few oilfields now remain in the hands of the Kurdish peshmerga fighters.

Iraqi troops out of Kirkuk!

Submitted by Matthew on 18 October, 2017 - 10:15 Author: Simon Nelson

Iraqi government forces and Shia militias have occupied Kirkuk for the first time since 2014, the year Daesh made their away across Iraq. Although Kirkuk is not part of Iraqi Kurdistan it has been under the control of Kurdish forces. In the September referendum it voted by a sizeable majority in favour of independence.

Mehmet Aksoy

Submitted by Matthew on 11 October, 2017 - 9:26 Author: Gerry Bates

Mehmet Aksoy, a London-based Kurdish socialist activist, has been killed by Daesh while volunteering with the Kurdish YPG national liberation forces. Aksoy, a trained film-maker, was volunteering as a press officer with a unit of the YPG when a Daesh unit attacked his position a short distance from the front line in Raqqa.

US coalition moves on Raqqa

Submitted by Matthew on 21 June, 2017 - 10:55 Author: Simon Nelson

After several months of deadlock, the US-led operation with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to take Raqqa has begun. Lama Fakih the Middle East director at Human Rights rightly points out, “The battle for Raqqa is not just about defeating ISIS, but also about protecting and assisting the civilians who have suffered under ISIS rule for three and a half years.”

Saudi Arabia tries to push Qatar into line

Submitted by Matthew on 14 June, 2017 - 10:58 Author: Dan Katz

A simmering conflict between the Gulf State of Qatar and its larger neighbour, Saudi Arabia, has abruptly flared into an open, serious stand-off.

Beginning on 5 June, a Saudi-led grouping of states including Egypt, Bahrain and UAE broke off diplomatic relations, and implemented travel and trade bans against Qatar. Qatar has said it will not retaliate.Saudi Arabia has closed Qatar’s only land border and ordered its citizens to leave Qatar.

Corbyn must be clearer on Assad

Submitted by Matthew on 3 May, 2017 - 6:36 Author: Simon Nelson

Jeremy Corbyn was attacked in the press last week for his refusal to talk about Syria at a press conference. He said he would address the issue in other interviews. Though the outrage was faux, Corbyn’s stance on Syria, and indeed Labour’s as a whole, is contradictory, unclear and tainted with the Stalinist complaisance towards Assad that infects the “anti-war movement”.

In response to the US airstrikes and Boris Johnson’s commitment to help the US with further strikes, without a vote in Parliament, Corbyn called for a political solution:

Syria: the return of US “world policing”

Submitted by Matthew on 12 April, 2017 - 9:16 Author: Simon Nelson

During the US election Trump’s advice to Obama was, “do not attack Syria... if you do many very bad things will happen and from that fight the US gets nothing.” Therefore Trump was not heeding his own advice when he gave the go-ahead for 59 missiles to be fired at an Assad military airfield on 6 April.