Sunday, August 21, 2011

And the war drags on . . .

Since Wednesday, Turkey has been bombing northern Iraq and today the Turkish military continued to send war planes to bomb northern Iraq today. Michael S. Schmidt and Omar al-Jawoshy (New York Times) report that one of the Turkish bombings killed 2 children and 5 adult civilians in the area. Shamal Aqrawi (Reuters) notes that the Turkish government has yet to confirm that they carried out the daytime bombing but "A Reuters witness said he saw six Turkish warplanes take off from a base in southeastern Turkey on Sunday morning but it was not immediately clear where the planes were headed." Al Jazeera notes, "Turkey's military has said the jets are targeting PKK sites only -- including shelters, anti-aircraft gun positions and ammunition depots -- showing 'the necessary' care not to harm civilians."

The PKK is one of many Kurdish groups which supports and fights for a Kurdish homeland. Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described them in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk." The Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq has been a concern to Turkey because they fear that if it ever moves from semi-autonomous to fully independent -- such as if Iraq was to break up into three regions -- then that would encourage the Kurdish population in Turkey. For that reason, Turkey is overly interested in all things Iraq. So much so that they signed an agreement with the US government in 2007 to share intelligence which the Turkish military has been using when launching bomb raids. However, this has not prevented the loss of civilian life in northern Iraq. Aaron Hess noted, "The Turkish establishment sees growing Kurdish power in Iraq as one step down the road to a mass separatist movement of Kurds within Turkey itself, fighting to unify a greater Kurdistan. In late October 2007, Turkey's daily newspaper Hurriyet accused the prime minister of the KRG, Massoud Barzani, of turning the 'Kurdish dream' into a 'Turkish nightmare'."

CNN reports that the 7 killed by the Turkish bombing today were 2 parents and their five children. CNN also notes:

In a phone call to CNN on Sunday from Northern Iraq, a PKK spokesman placed the blame for the latest round of hostilities squarely on the Turkish government and its prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"Erdogan has decided for an all-out war," said Roj Welat. "We will use our right to defend ourselves and our people. ... There will be new things probably, new developments will occur, but in what way I cannot say. But all I can say is Kurds will defend themselves. And we are calling on all the European countries, especially the United States, not to support state terror."

Hurriyet notes that the Turkish goverment states they intend to continue the "cross-border military operations until Kurdish militants in northern Iraq are totally eliminated" while the "the Kurdish Regional Administration says the issue can only be solved through dialogue as it condemns the military attacks. 'It is no longer the time for violence or war. It is the time for peace and dialogue,' the administration says in expressing its discomfort." Aswat al-Iraq adds, "The chairman of the NGOs in Kurdistan called on global governments and authorities to work towards a termination of the continued bombardments against Kurdistan territories. Adnan Anwar Bey said in press conference, attended by Aswat al-Iraq, that the NGOs 'call on the UN Security Council, the European Union, and the U.S. to stop Turkish atrocities.' He demanded the federal government bear its responsibilities in regards to these violations, not to be shy and take necessary measures to stop these attacks." The US is, of course, in no position to end the bombings. Not only are they supplying the Turkish government with intelligence used for the bombings, the US government has justified the Turkish attacks with their own actions.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, the number of US military people killed in the Iraq War since the start of the illegal war was 4477. Tonight? PDF format warning, DoD lists the the number of Americans killed serving in Iraq at 4478.

Reuters notes a Baghdad bombing left three people injured, the corpse of 1 Kurdish peshmerga was discoveredin Baghdad ("traces of suffication and torture"), a Mosul grenade attack left two police officers injured, a Baghdad sticky bombing left a bodyguard for the Minister of Oil injured, two Baghdad roadside bombing last night left four people injured and another Baghdad roadside bombing last night left two people injured.

New content at Third:

Isaiah's latest goes up after this entry. Pru notes this from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

‘Rioting is the only voice we have that they will listen to’

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The riots have lifted the lid on the routine police harassment, racism and deprivation that is the daily life of thousands of young people in Britain.

Politicians and the press have done their best to paint rioters as “criminals”. In reality they are ordinary people fed up of a world that gives them nothing.

Ben, a young black man from Dalston in east London, told Socialist Worker, “I’m sick of being told I’m the problem. It’s black youth this and black youth that.

“I cheered the riots because I thought finally people are saying they’ve had enough.”

Natasha, also from Dalston, added, “We feel like we’re always guilty of something. Breaking people’s shops isn’t good. But our young have nothing—and no way of saying it any other way.”


The feeling that the government ignores young people, and that peaceful protest gets nowhere, is widespread.

“Rioting is the only voice we have that people will listen to,” said Nick, a student from Bristol. He pointed out that the riots in the Stokes Croft area of the city on Monday of last week pulled in many different people.

“There were people of all colours and backgrounds there,” he told Socialist Worker. “It wasn’t about race, it was about an attack on youth culture.”

David Cameron paints rioters as “mindless”. This disgustingly plays down the event that sparked the riots—the police killing of a black man in Tottenham, north London.

“This is about Mark Duggan being shot down in daylight under very suspicious circumstances,” Geraldine, an artist living in Tottenham, told Socialist Worker. “It was an execution.”

The Tories want to blame poor people for expressing their fury at the police and the government.

It reflects their fear that widespread, popular anger is coming their way—because they are the ones making life worse for ordinary people.

Labour MP John McDonnell addressed a meeting organised by the Coalition of Resistance and Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (Barac) last week.

He pointed to MPs’ hypocrisy over the riots. “We’re in a society of looters,” he told the meeting, referring to MPs who had fiddled their expenses.

Campaigner Lee Jasper put the blame for the riots on the Tories. He said, “If people want to know why children are like this, don’t look at their parents, look at Margaret Thatcher’s society.”

He added that governments had “put black youth in the spot of public enemy number one”—and declared that, “the solution is to bring this government down, now”.

The riots were sparked by police racism and violence.

But the fact that they spread so easily shows the deep discontent that people feel over a myriad of issues.

Donatella, a health worker from Haringey, described rioters as “a generation in a state of shock, in a world that offers nothing to them.”

Ahmet, from Stoke Newington, told Socialist Worker, “People did this because they are angry. Some days you feel like nothing. We all deserve better.”

Rioter: ‘People have had enough of the police’

A 17-year old man from west London spoke to Socialist Worker about why the riots happened

“People had had enough of the classic ways to protest. When they ‘play by the rules’ they get nothing. We wanted to confront the police.

Frustrations have built up for a number of years—we don’t feel like we have a voice.

But during the riots it felt like all the people who had said ‘nothing will ever change’ came out. There was collectivity and cooperation.

People worked together to pull bins into the road to burn and stop police horses.

When people realised they could loot the shops it was basic commodities that went first. People came out of shops with nappies and rice.

The shooting of Mark Duggan by police was a trigger for the anger, but it’s about more than that. People have had enough of the police.”

‘Gangs show lack of options’

Delroy Brown, a youth worker in north London, spoke to Socialist Worker about the Tories’ “gang” rhetoric.

“David Cameron blames gangs on black fathers not sticking around. This is nonsense.

Gangs exist and members can seem intimidating. But if you talk to them you realise that they are normal people.

Most aspire to jobs such as becoming plumbers or work in construction—but there are no jobs.

Gangs are proliferating because things are getting worse for young people. The massive rate of exclusion from school leaves few with any options. And the cuts are adding to this.”

The following should be read alongside this article:

Jail the Tories, not young people

Birmingham comes together

Racism, riots and resistance

Condemn the class system, not rioters

Zita Holbourne: ‘I was so angry hearing the MPs’

Darcus Howe: ‘My father curfewed me and I jumped through the window’

A Sivanandan: ‘This is not the end of rebellion—it is the beginning’

What next in Tottenham?

‘Give our kids a future’, demands 2,000-strong march across London

Thought crimes on Facebook

Courts dole out rushed revenge after riots

Family faces eviction by London council after riots

Crown Prosecution Service ‘name and shame’ children

Give young a future, say campaigners

Mark Duggan did not shoot at police

Notting Hill Carnival is under threat

What the MPs looted

Elite’s hypocrisy—they are the real criminals

Tottenham defence campaign launch meeting

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