Syria

Dissident voices of the international left

In Dissidents of the International Left, Andy Heintz’s first book, he interviews 77 figures from across the international left - many of them, especially those from the global South, notable “dissidents” from what is taken in the USA and Europe to be left “orthodoxy”.

Many of them have not had much hearing in English language publications, though several have been interviewed by or spoken to Solidarity and Workers’ Liberty: Yanar Mohammed, Maryam Namazie, Houzan Mahmoud, Pragna Patel, Marieme Helie Lucas...

The record of Chris Williamson

Author

Keith Road

The issue with the suspended Labour MP Chris Williamson is not, as some in the Labour Party think, one off-beam remark in a Sheffield Momentum meeting, or a few incautious tweets.

Detailed web postings by RS21 member Dave Renton and socialist blogger “Bob from Brockley” have shown that Williamson has used his position as a prominent Corbyn-supporting MP to give the ideas of a segment of the far right a channel into the labour movement.

Pitfalls of knee-jerk “blame Israel”

Morad Shirin (Solidarity 511) has casually speculated that Israel (or, perhaps, another regional power allied to the USA, but no other state is thought worthy of mention) is probably responsible for the attacks on the Norwegian and Japanese oil tankers.

No evidence is offered, but rather a Galloway-style deduction based on which state would benefit from the most obvious suspect being punished. It isn’t often, thankfully, that this type of argument is promoted in the pages of Solidarity.

Israelophobia is Stalinist regression

Author

Barry Finger

Barry Finger reviews Paul Kelemen’s book The British Left and Zionism: History of a Divorce (Manchester University Press, 2012)

This volume, which joins the herd of independent minds in churning the same old depleted groupthink, purports to challenge the claim that changes over the decades in the left’s appraisal of Zionism and the Palestinian cause stem from antisemitism.

From St George to Xi Jinping

Author

Rhodri Evans

The Times (18 May) has splashed our denunciation of the wearing of the old Russian imperial emblem, the St George Ribbon, by some members of Lewisham Momentum. The incident is only a specially gaudy display of the general political trend of the section of the Labour supposed-left which gravitates around the Morning Star.

Letters

The response of the US left to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s recent comments about the influence in American politics of pro-Israel lobby groups have been debated by US leftists Barry Finger and David Finkel in these pages in recent weeks. I write this letter not to respond directly to either of their comments, but to bring to Solidarity readers’ notice two subsequent statements of Omar’s.

Those statements deserve attention and, I believe, praise from socialists concerned to articulate a broadly “third camp” perspective.

Telling the truth about wars

Author

Simon Nelson

The career of the journalist Marie Colvin was fairly unique. She covered most of the major conflicts of the 1990s and 2000s up until her death in Homs, Syria, in 2012.

Her articles in the Sunday Times brought across some of the horrors of war, not just the conflicts between political factions and leaders but the stories of mass graves in Fallujah, and the near starvation of internally displaced Tamils. Until her death she may be remembered as one of the last journalists to interview Colonel Gadaffi before he was killed in the Libyan conflict of 2011.

Cool on Trump, hot against liberals

Author

Colin Foster

On 4 January, US president Donald Trump, in a rambling speech at a meeting of his cabinet, praised the USSR invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. “The reason Russia was in, in Afghanistan, was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there”.

Trump’s bluster, Assad’s strength

Author

Simon Nelson

On 19 December, US president Donald Trump announced a snap decision to withdraw US troops from Syria. At first he said the troops would be out within 30 days, but now it looks like several months at least. The plan is now conditional on assurances from Turkey regarding the safety of the Kurds in Northern Syria.

Idlib, the next humanitarian disaster

Author

Simon Nelson

With Russian support the proposed assault on the Syrian province of Idlib could be one of the bloodiest of the war.

Idlib is the last outpost of significant rebel control. It’s 2.5 million civilians, many who are internally displaced, may face a determined regime campaign to conquer the territory no matter the outcome.

Idlib does not resemble an ordinary province, it has hundreds of thousands of people living in camps or out in the open, people who are already the victims of the regime, Iranian troops and Russian bombs.

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