I was recently able to meet with some government officials and put my questions to them.
First of all I’d like to express my appreciation for living in a country where I can get involved in political protest, without being arrested and where the authorities are prepared to put time and effort into hearing me and my concerns. My sincere thanks go to the British government for giving me the meeting, for not being patronising and for treating me with respect. Also for answering my questions with due care and attention particularly those questions regarding the progress of ISIS, the role of the UK in Syria and, in particular, why the UK will not engage with the Rojavan Syrian Kurds and consistently denies them any support.The primary reasons for the UK’s reluctance to help the Rojavan Kurds in their struggle against ISIS, as expressed to me by government officials, seem to be these:
- There have been human rights abuses in Northern Syria- carried out by the Kurds
- The YPG/J recruits 17 year olds
- The YPG/J is linked to the listed terror organisation the PKK.
Let’s look at their first argument.
First of all let me make clear that my views are that any kind of abuse, torture or deaths in custody are inexcusable. So by all means let’s refuse to talk to any country that has such human rights abuses.
Going by what I was told therefore, the logical assumption is, (since we don’t talk to, or negotiate with, organisations and governments that commit human rights abuses) none of our allies will be guilty of this.
Check out Saudi Arabia:
Check out our NATO ally Turkey:
Check out China where many of our goods come from
Check out Israel
Check out the amount of people who have died at the hands of police in the USA- many unarmed
For the sake of interest here is the official letter from the YPG refuting the claims (It’s slightly ungrammatical but you get the gist):
Sadly all these links are simply the tip of the iceberg. Go look for yourself. See what our UK ally Turkey is doing to its own citizens right now, at the time of writing, in Cizre, for example.
I feel quite confident at this point in time that any illegal actions carried out by Rojavan Kurds are not state sanctioned (unlike what appears to be happening in Turkey) and if people are accused of committing heinous acts then they will investigated by the Kurdish government, just as British citizens would, presumably, in similar situations.
I am not claiming that the links or my research are exhaustive and I’m not intending to point a finger at countries or to argue one way or another about whether or not the YPG/J are guilty of the allegations.
All I’m saying is that there’s en element of hypocrisy in the excuses made by the UK government and it should not hide behind such a paltry excuse when we can see that it has long and, dare I say it, seemingly comfortable liaisons with many countries with deeply concerning human rights records.
This is not a reason not to talk to the YPG/J UK so please- pull the other one!
Regarding the second point: The YPG/J, as far as I am aware, does not have a conscious, active recruitment process focussed on youngsters. Where the authorities are made aware, youngsters are sent home. However, given the upheaval, does everyone have documentation that can clarify age? And what would you do if you were sixteen and nine months and your whole family had been beheaded while you were visiting a relative in a different village? Would you not be inclined to say, ‘I’m going to go after the people who did this so that I can stop it happening to someone else?’ Maybe you’d be inclined to say, ‘No-one is helping us defeat ISIS. No other countries are helping. I guess I just have to help myself!’ What else is left?
The bottom line is that if the UK had offered help earlier, maybe seventeen year old kids wouldn’t need to pick up weapons to defend themselves.
The final point I want to make is about the allegation that the YPG/J is linked to the PKK. Maybe it is but that doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t the PKK. It isn’t a listed organisation.
It is a legal organisation.
Either list it or get off your butts and help. Hey, who knows, if they had help from elsewhere perhaps they wouldn’t need to be ‘linked’ to the PKK!
My final point is that Britain is talking to countries like Iran, maybe in the future even to Assad and has helped facilitate dialogue with ‘terrorist’ organisations in Northern Ireland. Surely talking to the YPG/J and their political arm the PYD should be easy in comparison since they are NOT LISTED.
UK- please! Stop with the lame excuses and help Rojava, the YPG and YPJ.