Wednesday 17 August 2016

Imagine if Corbyn had suggested we negotiate with ISIS

During a televised Labour leadership debate the challenger Owen Smith made a catastrophic blunder in answering a question about ISIS by saying that he thinks that they should be invited to the negotiating table. Jeremy Corbyn (so often portrayed as a terrorist sympathiser by an incredibly hostile corporate media) was unequivocal in saying that "no" they shouldn't be invited to peace negotiations.

Just imagine the howls of outraged condemnation from the Blairites and coup-supporting Labour MPs if Jeremy Corbyn had've been the one to say that the journalist beheading, ancient monument destroying, homosexual murdering, terrorist atrocity committing ISIS savages should be invited to the negotiating table. But because it was their own puppet Anyone But Corbyn candidate Owen Smith, they're either staying silent about his appalling gaffe or pitifully trying to create revisionist stories about how he didn't actually mean it, and that he actually meant something else entirely.

Corbyn's ISIS policy

A lot of the mainstream press have been far too busy demonising Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters as terrorist sympathising Trotskyist Nazi stormtroopers to actually bother explaining what his actual policies are, so it's worth briefly detailing them here.

Corbyn's policy on ISIS has two main strands. The first is that the west should try to get the opposing forces in the region (the Assad regime, the anti-Assad insurgents who aren't ISIS sympathising Islamist fanatics, the Kurds, Iran ...) together to negotiate a truce between themselves so they can focus their attentions on defeating ISIS, which is actually a much greater threat to all of them than they are to each other. 

The second strand is that the west needs to do a lot more to prevent people/organisations/nations from buying oil from ISIS, funding them or selling them weapons. As long as weapons, cash and fighters are flowing into ISIS from our so-called allies like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Egypt, the situation is not going to get better because fighting them is like trying bail out a boat without trying to repair the holes in the sides.

It's absolutely clear that fighters and weapons are flowing one way and oil is flowing the other way across the incredibly porous border with Turkey. It's also absolutely clear that ISIS has been massively bankrolled by private backers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The problem for Corbyn isn't that his plan of cutting off ISIS supplies isn't a sensible one, it's that the countries trading with and funding ISIS are powerful allies of the UK political establishment, and he's pissing a lot of powerful people off by highlighting their complicity.

Cutting off ISIS supply routes and finances and encouraging all the opposing forces to co-ordinate their efforts against ISIS are sensible policies, but the majority of the mainstream press prefer to keep Corbyn's policies well away from their political coverage because it's much easier to programme people to hate a person if you stick to character attacks and studiously avoid mentioning any of the sensible stuff he's actually talking about.

Owen Smith's backtracking

As soon as Owen Smith's team realised that he'd made yet another appalling gaffe, this time very much worse than accidentally claiming to be pro-austerity on live TV, threatening to "smash Theresa may back on her heels" or using the plight of desperately exploited Sports Direct workers to score cheap political points against Jeremy Corbyn they set about trying to "clarify" the comments with the ludicrous stipulation that ISIS would have to "renounce violence" before Owen Smith would invite them to come to the negotiation table.

Of course they had to try to do something to mitigate the damage, but the addition of a "renounce violence" stipulation is ludicrous stuff that betrays a complete lack of understanding of the sheer ideological fanaticism they're dealing with.

Expecting ISIS fighters to simply "renounce violence" is like expecting fish to stop swimming around in the water. The whole bloody point of ISIS is that it's a clash of civilisations insurgency against everyone and everything that doesn't comply with their warped fanatical interpretation of Islam. If these fanatics are so full of hate that they'd gladly kill themselves for their beliefs and take a load of innocent civilians with them, offering them a sit down and a chat if they just promise to take off their suicide belts is an absolutely ludicrous strategy.

Owen Smith isn't the only out-of-touch politician

It doesn't matter how much Owen Smith's supporters try to retroactively spin what he said, the damage has been done. Owen Smith has demonstrated a catastrophic misunderstanding of the threat posed by ISIS. Alarmingly he's far from the only politician to desperately underestimate the threat either. It was less than three years ago that David Cameron became the first Prime Minister since 1782 to lose a war vote when his insane rush to war in Syria was defeated in parliament.

Even though it was absolutely clear by that point that ISIS had been born in the power vacuum created by the invasion and occupation of Iraq, David Cameron actually wanted to massively increase the size of the power vacuum for ISIS to operate by toppling the Assad government.

The plan was so hopelessly idiotic that thankfully sufficient Labour, Lib-Dem and rebellious Tory MPs saw enough sense to vote against Cameron's efforts to hand control of Damascus to ISIS.

Theresa May was one of the Cameron loyalists who endorsed his failed effort to help ISIS take over the rest of Syria. Jeremy Corbyn was one of the majority of MPs with the sense to vote against the bloody ridiculous folly of actively siding with ISIS and inviting them to take over Damascus.

It is absolutely amazing how many people have chosen to forget that it's just a few years since David Cameron and Theresa May tried to convince parliament that creating a power vacuum so that ISIS could take control of the rest of Syria would be a super-great idea.


If it had've been Jeremy Corbyn calling for ISIS to be invited to the negotiating table we all know what a hate-fest it would have triggered, but because it was the establishment approved candidate to become Labour leader the condemnation has muted to say the least.

In 2003 Tony Blair helped to create the appalling power vacuum in Iraq that ISIS thrived in. Just three years ago David Cameron and Theresa May were intent on handing ISIS the huge strategic advantage of a power vacuum in Syria. Now the establishment approved candidate to usurp Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader has said that we should actually negotiate with these barbaric fanatics rather than cutting off their supplies and trying to unify regional forces against them.

In reality Jeremy Corbyn is one of the few politicians who actually talks some sense about ISIS, but it's as clear as day that the right-wing press will continue to portray Corbyn as a "terrorist sympathiser" whilst letting Westminster establishment politicians like Blair, Cameron, May and Smith off the hook for their idiocy.

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