Our Kurdish friends and allies have no certainty either, but they also have no choice

Military Intervention in Syria – Our Kurdish friends and allies have no certainty either, but they also have no choice.

Just over a year ago over Labour Solidarity with Kurds asked the leaders of the Labour movement in Britain to support giving more military help to the Kurds fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Since then the world has watched the barbarity of ISIS with horror. Beheadings, enslavement, mass rape, mass graves and more. By now the whole world is aware of their crimes. We continue to see an exodus from Syria, overflowing, ill equipped refugee camps in the Kurdish region, in Lebanon, in Turkey, and even in Europe. This year we have seen images so harrowing that they have rocked the collective consciousness of the world and now our political leaders are trying to work out how best to respond.

The question of further military intervention by Britain is before the House of Commons and MPs are being asked to decide whether Britain should extend the existing military involvement from Iraq to Syria. We are urging MPs to listen to the views of the Kurds who are out there right now, battling every day and fighting ISIS on behalf of the world. They are unequivocal. In their view airstrikes have helped them to liberate their towns, drive ISIS back and save countless people from the barbarism of an ISIS capture.  

Last week Karwan Jamal Tahir, the Kurdish High Representative to the UK wrote,

“Last June, Daesh captured one third of Iraq overnight and a few months later attacked the Kurdistan Region. Swift airstrikes by Britain, America and France and the actions of our own Peshmerga saved us again. We could have been overrun by Daesh without these airstrikes. We thanks British service personnel who put their lives on the line and who are training our Peshmerga. We now have a border of 650 miles with Daesh. We have pushed them back and recently captured Sinjar – the scene a year ago of medieval rape, sexual enslavement and genocide against the Yezedis. Again Western airstrikes were vital. But the old border between Iraq and Syria does not exist. Daesh fighters come and go across this fictional boundary.

We have seen lots of Labour MPs seeking assurances and certainty from the Prime Minister but the reality is, certainty is not possible in this situation. We don’t know how this will end, how many mistakes will be made, how many unintended consequences will occur. We do know that our intervention so far has helped save lives and caused significant defeats against ISIS. We also know – and we ask Labour MPs to reflect on this – that our Kurdish friends have no certainty either, but they also have no choice. ISIS in in their towns, their villages, their homes, they have to fight, and in our view as Labour members, trade unionists and internationalists, we must help them. We therefore urge you to vote in support of the government motion.

Yours in solidarity,

Labour Solidarity with Kurds

Nora Mulready, Tottenham CLP, Unite

Gary Kent, Director, of Labour Friends of Iraq, Unite/NUJ/Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (honorary)

Councillor Adam Langleben, West Hendon ward, Hendon CLP, GMB Union

Meg Munn, Skipton & Ripon CLP, USDAW

Andrew Copson, Tottenham CLP, Unite

Mark Wardrop Tottenham CLP

John David Blake, Tottenham CLP, NAHT Edge

Kate Godfrey, South Derbyshire CLP, Community Union

Steve Race, Hackney South & Shoreditch CLP,  Community the Union

Atma Singh BA Hons FRSA Writer Former Adviser to the Mayor of London.

Luke Akehurst, Oxford East CLP, Unite

Craig Mitchell-Powell, Leicester West CLP, Unite Community

Fabian Breckels, Bristol East CLP, Prospect

Henri Murison, Keighley CLP, GMB

Cllr Jonathan McShane, Hackney South CLP

Alasdair Ross, Ipswich CLP

Robert Lodge, Worcester CLP

Jeremy Newmark – Hertsmere CLP. Vice-Chair Borehamwood & Elstree Branch

Jillian Baker, Elmet & Rothwell CLP, Unison

Will Lord, Islington South and Finsbury CLP, Community

Kiratraj Singh, Perry Barr CLP

Barbara Spiegelhalter, Portsmouth South CLP, NUT, Greenwich and Woolwich, Community

David Savage, South West Surrey CLP

Naoimi Phillips, Hendon CLP, GMB

Richard Toomer, GMB

Ros McMullen, York Outer CLP, NAHT

George Morris, Tatton CLP, Unite

Miriam Rice, Ealing North CLP, GMB

Cllr Adam Harrison, Holborn and St Pancras, GMB

Mike Harris, Islington South CLP (former Vice-Chair of Lewisham Council), CWU, Unite

Cllr Phil Glanville, Hackney South CLP

Rob Shorrock, Grantham and Stamford CLP, NASUWT

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