Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

Syria: Russia launches missiles from warships

October 7, 2015

Last week, Russia launched airstrikes against targets in Syria.  A Russian general walked into the US Embassy in Iraq and gave one hour’s notice.

Two days ago, Russia violated Turkish airspace. Yesterday an emergency meating of Nato.

Today, Russia launched misslile attacks on targets in  Syria from ships in the Caspian Sea.

Russia is propping up the murderous Assad regime. Assad has killed more people than ISIS.

Bombing makes the siuation worse, more recruits for ISIS.

Shukee Begum: the British mother and children who escaped Isis

September 23, 2015

This story does not add up.

Women takes her children to join ISIS.

Then she ‘escapes’.

Now she wants to return to the UK?

Ortadoğu’da olanın özeti

September 15, 2015

Ortadoğu’da yaşananları anlatan ilginç çizgi film…

In The Middle East, about what happened, interesting cartoon…

Middle East dust storm

September 8, 2015
Cyprus dust storm map

Cyprus dust storm

Middle East dust storm across parts of Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Cyprus and Iraq / NASA

Middle East dust storm across parts of Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Cyprus and Iraq / NASA

Protaras barely visible in the dust storm

Protaras barely visible in the dust storm

visibilty reduced in the Syrian city of Homs

visibilty reduced in the Syrian city of Homs

We and most of the Middle East are in the midst of a huge dust/sand storm, people have literally died. — Canon Andrew White

Across the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean, a dust storm.

In Cyprus, the figure speak for themselves:

  • Nicosia 1707mg
  • Larnaca 3242mg
  • Limassol 7649mg
  • Paphos 1250mg
  • Zygi 4670mg
  • Ayia Marina Xyliatou 288mg

Visibility reduced, temperatures soaring.

Several people needed treatment for respiratory problems in Cyprus and authorities urged people to stay indoors as a thick blanket of dust enveloped the island. Larnaca Airport closed and flights diverted to Paphos due to reduced visibility.  The dust was expected to start dissipating by Thursday, according Cypriot met office, but predicted it would take time before the situation returned to normal.

Israel’s environment ministry has warned the elderly, young and pregnant to stay indoors, as well as those with heart or breathing problems.

At least 80 people were taken to hospital with respiratory problems in Lebanon according to the state news agency.

Syria has suffered several years of drought. It is one cause of the civil war and the rise of ISIS. Farmers have moved to the city. Civil unrest, protest. Gunning down of peaceful protesters. Who in turn have armed themselves in self-protection. It has then escalated.

calima - haze caused by dust from Sahara

calima – haze caused by dust from Sahara

In Tenerife, Calima,  hot, dust-laden storm originating in the Sahara.

Humanity washed ashore

September 8, 2015

We are seeing mass movement of people on a Biblical scale. The largest movement we have seen since the Second World War.

The hot spots are Syria, Iraq and Libya. Countries that have imploded, that exist in name only, and when they did exist, they were artificial constructs, lines on a map drawn by the British and the French.

Not all are war-weary refugees, carrying their few wordily possessions. Many are from across Africa, from the Far East, willing to risk their lives to enter Europe for what they see as a better life.

The focus was in France, the camp known as the Jungle, migrants terrifying drivers trying to cross the English Channel.

A new route has opened up, maybe it was there all the time, but has become the focus of world attention. the crossing from Turkey to Greece.

Hungary has come in for a lot of stick, but all they were trying to do, was adhere to the rules, process the migrants, decide who was legit, who was not, but they have been overwhelmed by the sheer numbers, as has Greece.

Syrian refugee camp in Jordan

Syrian refugee camp in Jordan

The only obligation is to grant sanctuary on the first country of safety. For those fleeing Syria and Iraq, that is Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan. But these countries are overwhelmed.

Christians fled Baghdad, as was not safe. They fled to Minerva. Minerva was overrun by ISIS. They fled to Kurdistan, Syria. Syria no longer safe. Many have fled to Jordan.

How many killed in Palestine by the Israelis homes destroyed. The world turns a blind eye. An arms fair was recently held in London, to which flock the brutal dictators of the world armed with their shopping lists.

It has taken the body of a three-year old boy, washed ashore in Turkey, to stir the conscience of the world.

Political leaders paralysed. It has taken the people to act.

People have been driving across the Hungarian border to transport refugees on the long walk, only to be warned they will be arrested for people trafficking.

The Pope has asked that every singe Parish takes in a refugee family.

People have shown they are willing to help.

But whilst the are helping those who have made it to Europe, they may have made it far worse for those who have not.

People are being pushed by the conditions in their country. They are also being pulled by the El Dorado of Europe, the land of milk and honey, the streets paved with gold. If people now falsely believe that if they can reach Europe they will be allowed to stay, will now risk their lives. An act of kindness will result in many millions risking their lives, many more children washed ashore.

And what we are seeing now, is nothing like what we will see when climate change kicks in. One of the roots of the crisis on Syria is a drought of many years in Syria, forcing people from the countryside into the cities.

Since the uprising against Assad in March 2011, over 240,000 people have been killed, 4 million Syrians have fled their country, and over 7 million have been displaced.

Giles Fraser says let them all come, Green Party says no borders. Let us assume insanity prevails and we let them all in. Our cities will become like those in the Third World, surrounded by shanty towns.

Figures are bandied about. Many of which are false, as no one bothers to check, they simply regurgitate what they read, maybe in the hope that if regurgitated often enough, will become an accepted truth.

UK has accepted 260 (or is it 270) Syrian refugees. Will fill a Tube train, we are told.

Actually several hundred will fill a Tube train, but putting this to one side, the figure is from one programme. 5,000 Syrian refugees have been accepted from different programmes.

Germany will accept 800,000 migrants. This figure is not true.

800,000 is a projection of migrants into Germany, many of whom will be sent back. It is not how many Germany will accept. This is all migrants, not only from Syria, it includes migrants from Albania.

Germany has accepted 10-20,000 over one weekend. Germany Austria and Hungary have said this was due to exceptional circumstances, and are now tightening their restrictions.

Germany has said it may accept more migrants. This should be seen within the context of a projected labour shortage in Germany.

Germany now cannot cope. Munich cannot cope. Germany closed its borders, quickly followed by Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia.

One of the many ironies is the refusal of Israel to accept any Syrian refugees. Did not Free Europe take those Jews fleeing Nazi Occupied Europe? But then maybe a mixed blessing, as they would only house them on stolen Palestinian land.

And what of the wealthy Gulf States? We do not see the corrupt House of Saud welcoming refugees, and yet it is their meddling in the Middle East that has helped cause the refugee crisis.

For Syrians, be they in Turkey or Lebanon, or hoipng for a better life in Europe, they have no home to go to, many have walked for days, weeks, been on the move for years.

Syria and Palestine, resemble Germany in 1945.

The obligation of any country, is to provide safe sanctuary. That does not imply refugees can demand which country they be taken to.

The Law of Unintended Consequences, may well lead to more migrants dying as they engage in perilous journeys, the only ones to benefit being the people traffickers.

One option may be to create a safe haven in Libya, access to the sea, materials to build houses, a plot to grow food, a sharing gift economy.

To stop the flow of migrants the underlying causes have to be addressed. This is not a European problem, it is a problem of the Middle East.

In Syria, a tyrant to be deposed, ISIS to be defeated.

Yes, as Jeremy Cobyn has suggested, a meeting of all parties, talks (which David Cameron has dismissed out of hand). ISIS will not talk. They are an insurgency and can only be defeated by military means, which as a start, means arming the Kurds and providing whatever military support they request.

What was feared would happen, is already happening. Given the green light, you will be able to stay if you make the trip, tens of thousands are now making the trip. The transit countries are being overwhelmed by marauding migrant mobs. When officials try to process the migrants they are being met by violence.

Meanwhile, those left behind, the ones who are really suffering, are forgotten.

Until November last year Canon Andrew White, better known as the ‘Vicar of Baghdad’, was Chaplain of St. George’s Church in Baghdad, the only Anglican Church in Iraq. He was eventually forced to leave at the behest of the Archbishop of Canterbury following numerous death threats from ISIS militants, and now works as the founding and current President of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME).

In a scathing statement, Canon White has now slammed Europe for its response to the migrant crisis. He says it is wrong to focus resources on those already in Europe, when those in real need are the ones left behind.

I am disappointed by Europe’s response to the refugee crisis. Not enough is being done to help the most vulnerable, particularly those who have fled religious persecution.

My charity is providing food, shelter and medicine for hundreds of Iraqi refugee families who have fled ISIS and are now in Jordan. Some have walked across the desert to find safety, with little more than the clothes on their backs.

When I see angry young men clashing with border police in Hungary and demanding to be let into other EU countries, I feel that the wrong people are at the front of the queue.

Europe needs to distinguish between those who are looking for a better life and those who are running for their lives, otherwise we risk failing those who need our help the most.

I would like to see more being done for the thousands of refugees, particularly Iraqi refugees, who are stranded in Jordan and other countries without any hope for the future.

Canon Andrew White is not the only one  urging Europe to look beyond the migrants on their doorstep to the wider picture.

Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I told the Vatican Insider that there was “something strange” about European politicians encouraging migrants into their countries to take jobs in the care industry, looking after the sick and elderly.

I can confirm that it is not just displaced people who are fleeing. Priests tell me that there are also people who aren’t too badly off financially, people who work at banks for example, who are leaving. People who don’t really need to leave. They feel that a window of opportunity has opened up and they fear this window will soon close so they take advantage of it. Meanwhile, those who are poorer aren’t even considering leaving. Everyone is losing out. Those who are most able are leaving and they are the only ones who could rebuild all that has been destroyed in recent years.

Writing in the Spectator, Paul Collier pointed out the moral ambivalence of ushering into our countries to the “richer and more resourceful” refugees, rather than encouraging them to stay and rebuild their own countries.

If you resist the easy option taken by the chattering classes who claim the moral high ground by insisting on open borders, you can see that European policy is the result of moral confusion.

Let’s take the ‘duty of rescue’, which is official Europe’s rationale for fishing people out of the sea. People have a right to dream of a life in Europe, but Europe has a moral obligation to rescue, not to make dreams come true.

What does rescue imply and to whom does it apply? Just being poor does not make someone eligible for being ‘rescued’ by a life in Europe. Mass poverty has to be tackled, but the only way it can be done is for poor countries to catch up with the rich ones. There are ways in which we can help that process, but encouraging the mass emigration of their most enterprising young people is not one of them.

Canon Andrew White at St John’s Stoke

August 16, 2015
Andrew White at St John's Stoke

Andrew White at St John’s Stoke

When religion goes wrong, it goes very wrong. But if religion is part of the problem, it must form part of the solution. — Canon Andrew White

St John’s Stoke is about 20 minutes walk from Guildford town centre. An old church with a rather ugly extension.

Canon Andrew White, until recently the Vicar of Baghdad, was introduced by the Rector of St John’s.

Andrew White commenced with a blessing in Aramaic, the language used by Jesus. If it was good enough for Jesus, it was good enough for him.

Andrew White then asked how many were Anglicans? Most hands shot up. How many Baptist? A few hands shot up. How many Pentecostal? Very few hands shot up. He then explained, in his church in Jordan, there were no denominations, they were all Followers of the Messiah, for which there was a single Arabic word. But today, he was an Anglican, as the Bishop was present.

Over 1700 of his congregation in Baghdad have been killed. Beyond that he does not know. When Baghdad became unsafe, Christians fled to Minerva from whence they came. When Minerva became unsafe, they fled to Turkey, Syria and Jordan.

In Jordan, he has established a church in an old Catholic Church, a school, a clinic and a hospital.

The church in Baghdad, St George’s, still has a clinic, which treats people of all faiths.

The children are very devout, as are their parents. Having lost everything their faith is all they have left.

Everyone has suffered.

One family, the father was told, convert to Islam, or we kill your children. He sought forgiveness for his conversion.

Another family, it was the five children who were threatened. The children refused. Each was shot in the head and their heads hacked off.

Andrew was in tears when he learnt. The children walked into his office, asked him not to cry, said they had had a dream, they had seen the children in Heaven.

ISIS destroy the Bibles they find. Small electronic Bibles, powered by solar power have been distributed, talking Bibles in English and Arabic.

There is no electricity. Pens have been distributed that also function as a torch.

ISIS has grown out of the failed policies in Iraq. Sunnis have lost position, power and money, they have become marginalised. Bombing is only making a bad situation worse. The only way to defeat ISIS is by military means, boots on the ground.

Ten years ago, Andrew White would have said he had hope for Iraq. Now he has no hope.

Their current work is engaging in the Sex Slave Market. They are buying back the girls being traded as sex slaves. $5000 a girl or more. Not ideal, but the only way to get the girls back.

It is not unusual for Andrew to have dinner with terrorists. You get nowhere without talking. ISIS they are unable to talk to.

Gordon Brown and others attack Jeremy Corbyn for talking to Hamas. Andrew White talks to the founder of Hamas and counts him as a friend. Not only talks to, but has got him to talk to a chief Rabbi and engage in peace talks. He has also got chief rabbis in Israel to talk to Ayatollahs in Iraq.

Without talking, we make no progress.

Present the Bishop of Guildford who closed the meeting with a prayer.

The Bishop was a fellow student with Andrew. One lecturer, ripped up an essay in front of Andrew, telling him he could not write.

After the meeting, there were books by Andrew, which he happily signed.

Andrew White with Bishop of Guildford and Archdeacon

Andrew White with Bishop of Guildford and Archdeacon

Canon Andrew White is founder and president of Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME).

FRRME is pro-Arab, pro-Jew, brings relief and reconciliation to the broken parts of the Middle East.

He is also chairs Iraq’s High Council of Religious Leaders.

Launched in September, the Jerusalem International School of Reconciliation, or JISR (meaning “Bridge” in Arabic). JISR is the first project of its kind and will provide a platform for key religious leaders of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths to come together and introduce the power of reconciliation to an international audience.

Denial of bank accounts to Muslims

July 28, 2015

Banks are a necessary evil.

Imagine then one day, you or the organisation you work for or belong to gets a letter saying your bank account will be closed forthwith. You are given no explanation, no right of appeal. This is what has happened to many Muslims and Muslim organisations, including the Finsbury Park Mosque, who have received identical letters from HSBC.

HSBC, the bank that money launders for Mexican drug cartels and terrorists, that aids tax evasion, where as yet not a single banker has been handed a prison sentence, has been sending identical letters to Muslims saying their bank accounts will be closed.

Peter Oborne was Chief Political commentator of the Daily Telegraph. When the paper refused to publish an article he had written which was critical of HSBC, when he noticed they were not covering the money laundering and other scandals relating to HSBC, he resigned.

Daily Telegraph takes advertising from HSBC. Barclay Brothers, who own the Daily Telegraph, borrow huge sums from HSBC.

Now working as a frelance jouranalits, Peter Oborne decided to dig a little deeper. What he found is shocking.

World-Check a shadowy organisation, something out of a James Bond movie, compiles data on people. If they mark you down as a terrorist, you are likely to be denied a bank account.

Note: Without seeking you permission, World-Check will put a cookie on your computer to monitor you. Access their website they arrogantly deems granting permission to spy on you.

And how does this shadowy organisation decide you are a terrorist? Er blogs, Wikipedia, UAE says so. This is what World-Check regard as high grade intelligence. Oh, and media articles.

It is well documented Wikipedia an unreliable source of information, as accurate as the last troll to have edited an entry.

UAE, like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, is ruled by a corrupt elite, where human rights abuses are the norm. Oppose any of these terrorist states, and you will be listed as a terrorist.

Turkey is using ISIS as a cover to bomb Kurds in Iraq. Turkey calls them terrorists.

Israel bombs Palestine, calls Palestinians terrorists.

This means, UAE a Pariah State, or other Pariah States such as Israel, can list you as a terrorist, in turn be listed by a shadowy unaccountable organisation befitting a Bond movie, and you are denied a British bank account.

Who next to be targeted, bank accounts to be closed, activists? We have already seen terrorism legislation used against activists.

Caroline Lucas and Jeremy Corbyn need to be tabling questions in the House of Commons.

We need to be making better use of cryptocurrencies such as FairCoin, P2P money transfers, and crowd sourcing to make ourselves independent of banks. And to return to using cash.

Were only Brits massacred in Tunisia?

July 7, 2015

I ask the question, because from the media coverage, or at least the BBC (gutter press probably even worse), as that is the impression given.

If other nationalities were killed, then the focus should be on people killed.

Maybe it was a tour resort dominated by British package holiday makers. I do not know, as I have never been there.

We heard of the bravery of those who tried to save friends and relatives. We did not hear of locals who tried to intervene, locals risking their lives to help strangers.

The gunmen, I say gunmen, as although the initial reporting said a single gunman who was killed, eye witnesses say three, the gunmen targeted Westerners, not locals.


They target Westerners because of our policies in the Middle East, our support of repressive regimes like Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Israel.

The target us because war criminal Tony Blair destroyed Iraq.

It was Tony Blair who created ISIS.

Our corrupt politicians sidle up to the corrupt House of Saud, sell them weapons. Saudi Arabia carries out public beheadings, no different to ISIS.

I see where Russell Brand is coming from, when he criticised the minute’s silence. I feel he was wrong. It was to show respect for those innocent people killed. Where though I agree, is the hypocrisy of those who created the conditions for them to be killed.

The gutter press of course took it entirely out of context, another opportunity to smear Russell Brand stir up hatred.

A moving encounter between Russell Brand and a friend of some of the victims. The man was big enough to hold an intelligent dialogue with Russell Brand.

Canon Andrew White, for sometime based in Iraq, now Jordan and Israel, has been prepared to talk to all sides, anyone who will talk to him. In Iraq he had the respect of Sunnis and Shias. As he has said, it is easy to talk to your friends, we have to learn to talk to our enemies.

I suggest Canon Andrew White is invited onto an extended edition of the Trews. It will be an interesting conversation.

UK taxpayers pay costs of war criminal Tony Blair as he sniffs for work with despots

June 13, 2015
Blair lines his pocket

Blair lines his pocket

It was “pretty distasteful”, says ambassador, how Blair “used the ticket of Middle East Envoy” to make commercial deals with governments.

THE SCALE of Tony Blair’s globe-trotting is exposed for the first time in secret documents that suggest the taxpayer is paying up to £16,000 a week to help the former prime minister build his business empire.

Documents seen by The Telegraph contain details of Mr Blair’s travels around the world, accompanied by a squad of police bodyguards, flying on private jets and staying in five-star hotels.

The files suggest Mr Blair has used identical trips to carry out both private business meetings and talks in his capacity as Quartet Representative to the Middle East – leaving him open to accusations of a potential conflict of interest.

The documents show how Mr Blair has been visiting up to five countries a week – at a potential cost of between £14,000 and £16,000 to the public purse.

One British ambassador described how a number of companies linked to Mr Blair, including his wife’s law firm, were “sniffing for work” in one European country.

During the trips Mr Blair must be accompanied by a team of Metropolitan Police officers, whose salary, overtime, expenses, travel and meals are picked up by the taxpayer. The most complex trips involve eight officers of varying ranks, while at least four remain at his homes in Britain. Each of the 12 officers is likely to be earning at least £56,000, but can earn upwards of £70,000 due to the overtime they accumulate on foreign trips.

Documents seen by The Telegraph as part of an investigation into Mr Blair’s business interests show how he has nurtured a network of some of the world’s most influential leaders and businessmen to build up a roster of clients paying tens of millions of pounds for his advice.

However, the disclosures prompted suggestions that his paid work had created what appears to be a series of conflicts of interest with his unpaid envoy role, from which he will step down at the end of this month after eight years.

One ambassador who attended meetings with Mr Blair on his Quartet work said the apparent conflict was “pretty distasteful”, adding that Mr Blair “used the ticket of the Middle East Envoy and Quartet” to deal with governments on a commercial basis.

The Telegraph investigation revealed how:

  • Mr Blair stays with his entourage in five-star hotels around the world, with each room for his police bodyguards costing the taxpayer an estimated £1,000 on multi-leg trips;
  • The former prime minister travels on a series of private jets, in some cases lent by clients and governments;
  • Mr Blair secured a £1 million private contract with the World Bank, while simultaneously working with the Bank in his role at Middle East envoy;
  • He struck lucrative commercial deals with Abu Dhabi while he was also in negotiations with the emirate as Middle East envoy over $45 million (£29 million) funding for the Palestinian Authority;
  • Mr Blair’s team has sought assistance from British officials in order to further his private business interests, including briefings on countries including Canada, Albania and Macedonia;
  • In several cases the influential figures Mr Blair meets on private business trips are the same people who are his contacts in his official role as Quartet envoy;

Andrew Bridgen, a Conservative MP who has previously criticised Mr Blair’s wide-ranging business interests, called for Mr Blair to declare fully all his dealings. He said: “Mr Blair has consistently blurred the line between his official and commercial activities, while his security entourage has incurred huge expenses for the British taxpayer.

“It is not appropriate for a man who has held the highest office in the land and has been privy to every one of our nation’s secrets to undertake work for a foreign power.”

Chris Doyle, the director of The Council for Arab-British Understanding, said: “Mr Blair needs to be transparent about his business activities, otherwise he faces the risk of being accused of having conflicts of interest.”

The investigation gives the most detailed picture yet of Mr Blair’s crowded international itinerary. The files show how he is shepherded around America on a speaking tour, and crams meetings with ministers and business leaders into 24-hour visits to Abu Dhabi – one of his biggest clients.

The total cost of wages and expenses for the 12-strong team guarding him would amount to between £14,000 and £16,000 for each week he is travelling, based on a conservative estimate of the number of officers remaining in Britain, and a reported figure of £5,000 expenses per week.

It is likely that Mr Blair picks up the cost of his bodyguards’ travel when they fly on private jets. In one week in February 2012 Mr Blair travelled to Israel in his role as Middle East envoy and then flew on to UAE, Qatar, China and Kazakhstan where he conducted a mixture of charity work and private business.

He stayed with his entourage at hotels including the five-star Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi and the Four Seasons in Doha.

Mr Blair has also been nurturing a relationship with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia.

At one meeting in January 2011, apparently attended by Mr Blair at least partly in his capacity as Quartet envoy, he was accompanied by Stephan Kriesel, the then head of his government advisory practice.

A spokesman for Mr Blair said that Mr Kriesel “happened to be travelling with him”.

The Telegraph’s investigation also reveals how Mr Blair’s firm, Tony Blair Associates, now has a £1.1 million contract with the World Bank to carry out consultancy work, after he enjoyed a close relationship with the Bank as Quartet envoy. A member of the World Bank staff was seconded to work in his Quartet office.

As part of its contract with the Bank, Tony Blair Associates has provided a team of consultants to advise the Romanian government on setting up a “delivery unit”.

The Bank said Mr Blair’s firm offered “the most competitive price” of five competing bids. A spokesman for Mr Blair said the work was “not for profit”.

In October 2013 Nicholas Cannon, the British ambassador to Albania, told Whitehall mandarins that several “Blair-related outfits” were “sniffing for work in Albania”, including Cherie Blair’s law firm Omnia Strategy.

A spokesman for Mr Blair said: “There are no conflicts of interests with any of Mr Blair’s work, including his role as Quartet representative.”

“Clear policies and procedures” were in place to prevent conflicts, including a clause in his commercial contracts stating he will not undertake work that conflicts with his Quartet responsibilities.”

The spokesman added that Abu Dhabi’s funding for the Palestinian Authority came from a “separate organisation” to Mubadala, the sovereign wealth fund that Mr Blair advises.

She added that Mr Blair had “absolutely never used his position as a Quartet representative to further business interests” and suggested that it was in “the country’s interests” for Foreign Office officials to support Mr Blair’s work abroad.

Spokesmen for Mr Blair and Scotland Yard declined to comment on his security arrangements.

Reposted from Stop the War UK, originally posted The Telegraph.

There seems to be no despot Tony Blair will not deal with in his insatiable lust for money. He backed the ousted Hosni Mubarak, he backs Al-Sisi, he hobnobs with the the corrupt House of Saud.

He recently tried to blag some extortionate fee from a conference on world hunger.  They told him to sling his hook.

What does Tony Blair know of hunger?  Other than the destitute and starving people he has created in the Middle East. He is not an expert on either food or agriculture.

Last year Save the Children gave Blair a humanitarian award at a  glitzy celebrity infested award ceremony in New York.

A few years ago he tried to blag a fee from Rio as an advisor on the Olympic Games. They showed him the door.

Rojava: The Revolution we do not hear about

February 9, 2015

During the Spanish Civil War, Anarchists took control of towns, organised, until they were crushed by the Fascists.

Syriza has brought hope to Greece, inspired the Spanish to elect Podemos, it may spread further.

Rojava is a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria. A revolution we hear little about. Self-organising autonomous networks.

They face attacks from ISIS, but also until recently, Turkey was preventing any support from across the border, except they allow jihadist to cross the border. Crossing the border is not permissible for journalists.

Across the border, supported by PKK in Turkish occupied Kurdistan. PKK for demanding autonomy for Kurds, are branded terrorists by Turkey.

The Kurds have carved out an autonomous region in northern Iraq. The same has happened in northern Syria, except it goes much further and deeper.

All are equal, Kurds, Arabs, Christians, Muslims. Women and men are equal. The women are fighters.

Contrast the Kurds with brutality of ISIS.

It was Kurdish YPG that rescued Yazidis when trapped on a mountainside, surrounded by ISIS.

Gareth Watkins:

The Middle East today is the last place anyone in mainstream western thought would think to look for progressive political thought, and even less to see those thoughts translated into action. Our image of the region is one of dictatorships, military juntas and theocracies built on the ruins of the former Ottoman Empire, or hollow states like Afghanistan, and increasingly Pakistan, where anything outside the capitol is like Mad Max. The idea of part of the region being not just free, but well on its way to utopian, isn’t one that you’re going to find on mainstream media.

But you’re not on the mainstream media right now, are you?

Along Syria’s borders with Turkey and Northern Iraq, lies a mainly Kurdish area with a population of 4.6 million where a huge social experiment is taking place at the centre of a crossfire between Syria’s dictatorship, ISIS’s collective insanity and Turkey’s ongoing hostility towards the idea of Kurdish autonomy, with the US and NATO looming large in the background. The Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Kurdish National Council (KNC) established in the region of Rojava a society that mixes fierce libertarianism (guns are everywhere and there are no taxes – none) and Occupy-friendly anarchist thought with a healthy dose of feminism. While most Kurdish groups, especially those the US is friendly with, would some day like to establish a Kurdish state, in Rojava they have leap-frogged over the idea of the nation state into a more advanced system that they call Democratic Confederalism.

In the cantons of Rojava, there is a small central government with an absolute minimum of 40% female delegates, but most of the day-to-day work of running society happens at a local level, street by street and village by village. Democratic Confederalism’s chief architect, Abdullah Ocalan, says that “Ecology and feminism are central pillars” of the system he has spearheaded, something that you would have to go very far to the margins to hear from Western politicians. In Rojava, men who beat their wives face total ostracism from the community, making their lives in a highly social, connected society virtually impossible. Instead of a police force and jails, ‘peace committees’ in each municipality work to defuse the cycles of inter-family revenge killings by consensual agreements between both sides – and it works.

The only part of Rojava’s experiment that has received any international attention has been the YPJ, the female-only paramilitary forces that have been fighting, and winning, against ISIS and the Syrian Army. NBC, the Guardian and even Marie Claire have all covered the YPJ’s bravery without even paying lip service to the ideology that makes it possible.

It was the YPJ, along with their male counterparts the YPG, that rescued the thousands of Yazidis stranded and encircled by ISIS on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq. The Yazidi community had the misfortune to be based almost entirely inside the area that ISIS has claimed – and they have been a hated minority in the Islamic world for a thousand years, accused of ‘devil worship’. While the US dropped supplies from above, the Syrian fighting groups broke ISIS’s lines and saved tens of thousands of lives. They also successfully defended the city of Kobani when ISIS launched an all-out assault on the city of forty-five thousand with tanks, missiles and even drones. Despite heavy losses, the city remains ISIS-free, though its surrounding villages are still contested.

Crisis forces innovation.




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