The 129 people killed in the attacks in Paris last night were murdered by Daesh, the self proclaimed ‘Islamic State’. On June 25th this year a much larger ISIS suicide force of about 80 attacked the city of Kobane using a similar mix of suicide bombs, guns and the taking and murdering of hostages. Some 223 civilians were murdered, many when ISIS broke into homes killing everyone inside. Around 40 Kurdish militia were killed in the process of stopping the slaughter. (1 - Read more)
On October 16th ISIS suicide bombers attacked a pro-Kurdish peace rally in Ankara, killing 102 people. Although the bombers were from ISIS many understood that this bombing and the earlier Suruc bombing which killed 33 was accomplished with the aid of the Turkish state. ( 2 - Read more ) The October bombing was seen as part of the process of deliberate polarisation of the AKP government enabling them to once more win a majority in the parliament. Between the Suruc and Ankar bombings the US military had done a deal with Turkey where in return for the use of a major airbase they would turn a blind eye to Turkish airforce attacks on Kurdish forces fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. (3- Read More)
There are two points being made in responding to the Paris bombings with a reminder of these earlier attacks. The first is that this sort of slaughter has become routine where ISIS operates, indeed Thursday they also bombed Beirut killing up to 50 people. In these other attacks almost all their victims would have been people from Muslim backgrounds. Indeed overwhelmingly their victims are Muslim’s and some from other minority religions in the region including Yazidi and Christian communities.
The second is that while ISIS are certainly the enemy of freedom this does not mean the western rulers are our friends. ISIS were born out of the vast prison camps the US set up after its invasion and brutal occupation of Iraq. They became militarily significant because they captured vast quantities of US supplied heavy weapons and armoured vehicles, allowing them to overwhelm the poorly armed Kurdish forces north of them and almost capture Kobane this time last year.
Turkey is not only a NATO member but has the 2nd largest army in NATO, an army which quite literally has sat in tanks watching ISIS murdering Kurds right across the border. And which, at least until recently, supplied ISIS with weapons, treated wounded ISIS fighters and allowed new recruits from ISIS to flow across the Turkish border. In the June attack on Kobane it was believed that many of the ISIS fighters had somehow managed to come across the militarised border with Turkey.
The dead of Paris like the dead of Ankara, Kobane and Suruc are victims of the power game being played between the NATO powers, Russia and the Assad regime in Syria and Iraq. As well of hundreds of thousands of people dying in this game millions have become refugees.
Many of those arriving in Europe this summer were fleeing the sort of violence, and worse, that hit Paris last night. That is why the risky sea crossing that has drowned so many seem's like a reasonable risk.
The question for us is how to bring their power game to an end. Many will advocate pouring yet more petrol on the fire that is burning, putting forward demands to beef up security, drop more bombs and control the movement of people. This is the route to eternal war and the police state where everyone learns to permanently fear the next attack. That has been the reality of daily life for the population of Iraq stretching back to the 1991 war and beyond. A situation that in most years simply became more bloody and more brutal until the monster that is ISIS was born out of that decades long bloodbath.
We say you can’t out macho a suicide bomber. The route to freedom lies through love and solidarity between working people and not through their wars and ‘clash of civilisations’. There is a choice to be made in the days and years ahead, Paris will not be the last atrocity and such attacks are designed to provoke militarism and hate. Our allies are not the forces of imperialist slaughter that created these conditions but rather those in the region fighting for a genuinely free society.(4 - Read More about Rojava)
Read more about the other events referred to in the text at the linked articles below
1 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobanî_massacre
2 - http://www.wsm.ie/c/bombing-ankara-turkish-state-oct2015
3 - http://www.wsm.ie/c/turkish-state-launches-massive-assault-kurds-isis
4 - http://www.wsm.ie/c/rojava-revolution-between-rock-and-hard-place