Iraq and Syria: A war without end

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The Western coalition attacks on Iraq and Syria will only build support for the Islamic State, argues Simon Assaf, as the movement has grown out of the persecution of Sunni Muslims in both countries.

The Coalition-led bombing campaign on Iraq and Syria is being sold as a desperate intervention to push back the Islamic State (IS also known as ISIS and ISIL. In Arabic it is known by its acronym Daesh). The battle for control over the Kurdish-majority Syrian city of Kobane (Ayn al-Arab) is portrayed as a possible turning point in this war.

Letter from Turkey

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It has been a hot summer in Turkey. For two months it hasn't dipped below 30°C even in the cooler parts of the country, but the political temperature has been even higher.

Two issues have dominated: the government's attempt to amend 26 articles of the constitution, and the hotting up of the Kurdish national struggle.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), conservative, neoliberal, and from an Islamic tradition, has continued its attempt to break the stranglehold of the rabidly nationalist, aggressively secularist bureaucracy on the country's political life. The military, the judiciary, much of the media, and parts of academia have been resisting.

Kurdistan: What Now for National Liberation?


The Kurds are distinguished from their neighbours by their language, culture, and a homeland where they represent about 90 percent of the population. They speak an Indo-European language different from both Turkish and Arabic.

The Kurdish population is about 36 million, of whom 55 percent live within the borders of Turkey, where they represent 30 percent of the population. The rest live mainly in Iran, Iraq and Syria. The Kurds are by far the largest stateless nation on earth.

A Deadly Action Replay

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Events in Iraq today are familiar, argues Michael Paris, if we look at the country's past.

At dawn the bombers came. As the first RAF machines came in low over the hills surrounding the village of Rowanduz, the people left their homes and ran for the nearby hills, hoping to escape the "birds of death" by hiding among the gullies and caves. The village was partially destroyed in the raid, but two hours later, just as the villagers had returned to what was left of their homes, a second wave of bombers arrived and completed the destruction. Many of the houses had been completely destroyed, but all had suffered major damage, and several villagers had been killed or wounded.

Turkey: A Case of Trial and Error

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Radical academic Noam Chomsky threw the spotlight on Turkey's repressive laws last month when he challenged the Turkish state security court to prosecute him for sedition.

A Turkish publisher had been hauled before the court for printing a translation of Chomsky's writings discussing the repression faced by Kurds in Turkey. In front of the world's press Chomsky argued that if stating this fact was a crime, he and not his publisher should be in the dock.

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