Saturday, June 21, 2014

Listening to the Iraqi Left on the ISIS Crisis

It's difficult to know what a socialist policy towards Iraq should be beyond deep suspicion of the warhawk architects of the US invasion. Some have formula, isolationist, non-intervention, and revolutionary, that they apply to every situation.  Often those formula seem unconvincing or incomplete to me. A better place to start, I think, is looking at the viewpoints of the Iraqi left. There are four-plus organizations I would  look at:

 I couldn't find a statement by the National Democratic Party, but did find information on the other three.

Martin Thomas of the British Workers Liberty group interviewed Nadi Mahmood of the Worker Communist Party of Iraq.

Nadia Mahmood of the Worker-communist Party of Iraq told Solidarity:

"What's going on now with ISIS is a new phase of the sectarian violence which reached its peak in 2006-7 with the bombings in Samarra".

That simmering sectarian civil war died down in 2007-8 and after. But, said Nadia: "After the Arab Spring [in 2011], the Sunni [minority in Arab Iraq] became more assertive.
"In 2013, [Iraq's Shia-Islamist prime minister] Maliki ended the [peaceful, and not sharply Islamist] protest camps outside the roads to Fallujah and ignored their demands.

"Now in 2014, after the election two months ago, Maliki wants to stay in power and has marginalised even the other Shia parties.

"Because of the sectarian nature of the government, this sort of violence will happen again and again. Socialists need to call for a secular state.

"The left and the labour movement in Iraq are not powerful right now, so first of all we need a secular state without religious identity which will give us ground to build. The target now is to end the sectarian nature of the state".
A statement of the Iraqi Communist Party from the Iraqi Letter, a blog associated with the party.
It is truly the battle of the homeland that is now being threatened. Political, material, logistic and military prerequisites must be provided to stop the expansion of this malignant cancer. Terrorism is targeting all, and it has no religion or denomination or nationality, and it wants to finish off the political process in our country and return it back to the days of tyranny and obscurantism.
Terrorism is the enemy of all. Our people, of various nationalities, religions and sects, and of all ideological and political affiliations, should be aware of the reality of the dangers and beware of falling into what Da’ish (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - Isis) and the regional and international powers standing behind it are planning, with the aim of destabilizing national unity and stirring up sectarian strife and narrow nationalist and chauvinist tendencies.
We in the Iraqi Communist Party, while condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, renew our full support and unlimited backing for the military and security forces, and call upon all the political blocs and parties, whether in power or outside, to meet immediately and conduct an urgent national dialogue. This should consider ways of confronting effectively the forces of evil, aggression and crime, defeating the terrorists, and providing political, material and moral support for the armed forces in the ongoing battle, in addition to sound management of the overall security policy.

See also:
 Kurdish Parties

The BasNews site has an article on the positions of the two main Iraqi Kurdish parties.
the leading KDP believes that the Kurdish enclave should remain neutral and protect only its territories, including the disputed areas, the PUK claims that the Kurdish region should provide the Iraqi army with military support.

BasNews has been informed that Iranian Agha Sobhani met the Chief of the Executive Body of Polit Bureau of PUK Mullah Bakhtiar. Following the meeting Bakhtiar published an article in a local Kurdish newspaper in which he wrote: “in fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), Kurds shouldn’t just defend, they should participate in the fight”.
 “What we can do now is only protect the Kurdistan Region. The US, Iran and Iraq will hit ISIS and the Ba’athists, the Kurdistan’s excuse for only defending the region will appear weak. For this reason Kurds should have policies that allow them to deal with Baghdad, US and neighbors. Kurds should consider that a federal Iraq must survived this plan by ISIS and Ba’athists and Kurds should participate in it,” said Bakhtiar.
 In contrast 
member of KDP Leadership Council Ali Awni told BasNews that high Shiite marja Ayatollah Sistani has called for Jihad and that this is a conflict between Sunni and Shia.

“Our case is different, it is an ethnic case. Therefore, it is better to not be part of this fight in order not to lose our case,” said Awni.

Awni noted that while other party’s may pull them into the fight, he believes that the Kurdish government’s duty is to protect the region, including the disputed areas.

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