Nafeez Ahmed exposes British ties with ISIS oils sales

This article originally appeared in Insurge Intelligence.

Britain’s secret ties to governments, firms behind ISIS oil sales

31 July 2015 

Key allies in the US and UK led war on Islamic State (ISIS) are covertly financing the terrorist movement according to senior political sources in the region. US and British oil companies are heavily invested in the murky geopolitical triangle sustaining ISIS’ black market oil sales.

The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq and Turkish military intelligence have both supported secret ISIS oil smuggling operations and even supplied arms to the terror group, according to Kurdish, Iraqi and Turkish officials.

One British oil company in particular, Genel Energy, is contracted by the KRG to supply oil for a major Kurdish firm accused of facilitating ISIS oil sales to Turkey. The Kurdish firm has close ties to the Iraqi Kurdish government.

Genel operates in the KRG with the backing of the British government, and is also linked to a British parliamentary group with longstanding connections to both the British and KRG oil industries.

The relationship between British and Kurdish energy companies, and senior British politicians, raises questions about conflicts of interest — especially in the context of a ‘war on terror’ that is supposed to be targeting, not financing, the ‘Islamic State.’ […]

Read the article in full.

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Turkey: Erdogan responds to election with war

This artice was written by Trevor Rayne, for the Revolutionary Communist Group:

31 July 2015

President Erdogan and the Turkish state have responded to the electoral success of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) on 7 June 2015 with war and repression. By achieving 13.1% of the vote and 80 MPs in Turkey’s general election, President Erdogan’s plan to change Turkey’s constitution from a parliamentary into a presidential system was thwarted by the HDP. The HDP combines socialist and democratic forces and is primarily Kurdish-led. Immediately after the election increased Turkish military activity was accompanied by murder and arrests of Kurdish activists and their supporters. The peace process, underway since March 2013, was effectively over and unilaterally ended by the Turkish state with the all-out bombardment of Kurdish areas beginning on 24 July. Trevor Rayne reports.

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EVENT – Witnessing HDP victory in Turkey: Election monitors report back

 Article and photos by Yasemin Kazan.

The event was organised by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign and chaired by Melanie Sirinathsingh. The meeting was held to provide insight into the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, the HDP’s democratic project and to evaluate the progress of the party, in addition to the implications of the HDP’s electoral success for the Turkish-Kurdish peace process.

'Witnessing HDP success' meeting, hosted by Kate Osamor MPOn 7th June, the HDP won a victory in Turkey’s general elections and gained 13.1% of the national vote, surpassing the 10% threshold for the first time with 80 seats a pro-Kurdish party will be represented in the parliament.

The success of the HDP has shifted the balance of power and ended 13 years of AKP (Justice and Development Party) rule and the dominance of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of which the HDP has been a stern critic.

The HDP was formed by a coalition of socialists, left-wing democrats, LGTB activists, greens and individuals from different ethnic groups and embraced the principles of democracy and human rights. Continue reading

Member of House of Lords urges UK government to visit Rojava

Lord-Hylton

Member of the House of Lords, Lord Hylton, has urged the British government to visit Rojava, the Kurdish regions of northern Syria, to witness the self-administration for itself during a debate in the house after last week’s Queen’s speech.

Having recently returned from his own visit to the region Lord Hylton expressed admiration for the authorities in Cizire, the eastern-most canton of three that make up the autonomous region of Rojava, saying that the Kurds, as the largest ethnic group, ‘might have seized power’ in 2011 when Assad’s forces fled but instead formed ‘common citizenship with the Assyrians, the Arabs, and other minorities’ to create a system of self-administration. A social contract has been adopted by the administration that ‘strongly proclaims equality for women’, he continued. Continue reading

PYD responds to government criticisms of the party in recent report

The Democratic Union Party (PYD), one of the leading parties in Rojava, has responded to criticisms about the party that were laid out in a recent Government report. The report was written as a response to a Foreign Affairs Select Committee document, entitled UK Government Policy on the Kurdistan Region of Iraqwhich was the result of an inquiry into theUK’s relationship with the KRG, including investment, foreign policy implications, and diplomatic relations.

The government’s response to that enquiry included a section on Syrian Kurdistan and the PYD, which it accused of maintaining links with the Assad government and refusing to work with the official Syrian opposition. It also suggested the party should make a greater commitment to pluralism and human rights, in total ignorance of the pluralism being engendered in Rojava’s political sphere which is no small part due to the PYD’s policies. It is worth giving the report a read.

The PYD’s co-chair Salih Muslim, recently submitted a response to the UK government’s accusations, which we reproduce below. Continue reading

EDM tabled in UK parliament expresses ‘concern’ about state censorship and arrests in Turkey

An early day motion (EDM) has been tabled in the UK parliament calling for the release of Turkish journalists arrested in the latest police crackdown on the press. You can encourage your MP to sign the EDM by writing to them with your own message, or you can use our model letter which you can download here.

Early Day Motion 719: Restrictions On Press Freedom In Turkey

That this House is concerned about widespread reports of state censorship, and the firing, imprisonment and wiretapping of journalists in Turkey; notes that about 20 journalists were arrested in a series of dawn raids in Turkey in mid-December 2014; further notes that one of the journalists arrested in December, television presenter Sedef Kabas, is facing a prison sentence of up to five years for a tweet about a corruption probe involving high profile names; welcomes the statement by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and the EU Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations that the latest crackdown is against the European values and standards Turkey aspires to be part of; calls on Turkish authorities to remove the travel bans imposed on the journalists, drop all criminal charges against them and release all other journalists behind bars in the country; and further calls on Ministers in the UK Government to raise these concerns with their counterparts in Turkey.

Sponsors: Clwyd, Ann/ Osborne, Sandra / Corbyn, Jeremy / Farrelly, Paul / Durkan, Mark / Russell, Bob    /   House of Commons: 21.01.2015

The Battle for Kobani is a Historic Struggle between the Past and the Future



David Morgan, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, 7 October 2014

President Erdogan of Turkey has said “For us the PKK is the same as Isis. It is wrong to consider them in different ways.” What a clear admission of cynical collaboration with what President Obama, David Cameron, President Hollande and others, have all described as the greatest threat to the world – namely ISIS.

Turkey’s conduct during the current crisis in Kobani is further proof of Ankara’s cooperation with ISIS to advance its own political aims – to defeat the Kurds.

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“The Mirage of ISIS: The Threat from Islamic State, the US and the Reshaping of the Middle East”

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign’s David Morgan has written an excellent article for Live Encounters, a monthly online magazine, on ISIS, western military aggression and the Kurdish struggle against both. We reproduce it below; the original source can be found here.

David Morgan explains why the US-led campaign against ISIS ultimately lacks integrity and its aims lack credibility. Kurds are on the front- line against ISIS but not all Kurds are equally favoured by the West. 

Undeniably the Islamic State or ISIS presents a great danger, especially to non-Sunni minorities and women in the Middle East, and the group has demonstrated that it is capable of committing the most heinous and ruthless crimes that sicken all normal feeling people. Nevertheless, the rhetoric raising the alarm of its “imminent threat” to the world issued from the mouths of Western politicians seems much exaggerated and overblown. Interestingly, when addressing the UN General Assembly, US President Obama claimed that Russian aggression in Europe posed an even greater threat to world peace than ISIS. He cannot have it both ways; either ISIS is an existential and unique threat sufficiently menacing to warrant waging war or it isn’t. Continue reading

Gunter: The Stupidity of American Foreign Policy

Professor Michael Gunter, secretary general of the EUTCC, has written a new opinion piece on US foreign policy towards the Kurdish issue, which we reproduce below:

 

THE STUPIDITY OF AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY

Although there can be no doubt that compared to most other countries in the world today and in the past, American foreign policy has been motivated by relative honesty and intelligence, currently there are several specifics in that policy that can only be characterized as sheer stupidity. The first point has to do with American foreign policy towards the horrific civil war in Syria. Although President Obama’s basic instinct not to enter another disastrous Middle Eastern war is sound, his administration’s continuing attempt to support increasingly non-existent moderate oppositionists against the Assad regime is at the best based on wishful thinking because with one exception (the Kurds) such moderates in Syria no longer exist.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—now styling itself the Islamic State (IS)—has largely supplanted the moderates with the exception of the Kurds who have been battling the Islamists for more than two years. However, the United States opposes the Kurds because of a misguided belief that they are dividing the moderate opposition by insisting on Kurdish autonomy and probably even more are connected to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) that is largely in control of the Kurdish areas but is an off-shoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which the United States considers to be a terrorist movement. While the PKK link is real and largely explains the PYD’s success in fending off ISIS so far, the PYD is also a moderate secular movement and thus is everything the United States should want to support. This is even more so because for more than a year now, Turkey has been pursuing a serious peace process with the PKK. Thus, if the U.S. NATO ally Turkey is now dealing with the PKK/PYD, there is no further reason for the United States to shun it. American foreign policy has simply failed to catch up with the times and is thus shooting itself in the foot.

Continue reading