In Socialist Worker (18 October) Charlie Kimber says Mosul will be “the next city to be razed by imperialism”. He does not, however, make a direct call on the US or UK to end their bombing in support of Iraqi government forces.
In the past, the SWP would have said “stop the bombing”, while (mildly) criticising Daesh’s rule. Kimber says “Isis’s rule has been appalling”. He adds that fighting “civilians are now terrified of the air and artillery assaults and the gun battles in the streets” — but plainly shies away from any “Hands off Daesh” line. He does not call for an end to the assaults. He merely says (reasonably) that there will be little freedom when the sectarian militias arrive.
The SWP had little problem with the Shia sectarian militias involved in the assault on Mosul when they made up large sections of the Iraqi resistance and were tearing Iraq apart on sectarian lines. The SWP conclude by saying, “Neither the US nor Russia has anything to offer the suffering people of the Middle East. Only a renewal of the revolutionary wave of 2011 can provide a way out.”
The recognition that to shout “stop the bombing” is not an automatic “anti-imperialist” duty, when the alternative is like Daesh, marks a real shift. But where is the accounting?