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Turkey has no right to invade Syria under the pretext of fighting ‘terrorists’

TURKEY has no right to invade Syria in pursuit of “terrorists” or to threaten Damascus if it fails to clear Afrin province of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime has been up to its neck in dirty deals with terrorists ever since, alongside Saudi Arabia and Qatar, assisting jihadist fighters to invade Syria with the goal of overthrowing President Bashar al-Assad.

Erdogan allowed Islamic State (Isis) to use Turkish territory for recruitment and training camps, hospitals and other facilities, allowing Isis fighters to cross freely into Syria.

If it were not for Russia’s intervention to assist Damascus — setting up S-400 and S-300 air defence systems and updating the Syrian air force to provide cover for government ground troops and its Lebanese, Palestinian, Afghan and Iranian allies — Syria’s secular state could already have been history.

Isis and other jihadists, while no longer a threat to the state’s existence, still pose a military danger, but the competing national interests of the Assad government, Syria’s Kurds, Turkey and the US are the biggest complicating factor.

Turkey and the US are Nato partners, but they are at daggers drawn over US backing for the YPG in northern and eastern Syria. Russia and Syria are historic allies, but Moscow is cosying up to Turkey, selling it similar S-400 air defences to wean it away from Washington.

Russia’s air force has, on occasion, provided weaponry and air cover to YPG anti-Isis operations but has urged the Kurds against erecting a US-backed statelet in Syria, pointing out this would concentrate hostility from both Ankara and Damascus.

Syrian government co-operation in allowing YPG fighters through its lines to fight Turkish forces in Afrin may be followed by Damascus asserting its sovereignty over the enclave and resisting Ankara’s invasion.

That will require a united Kurdish position rather than the disparate voices heard so far. Kurdish autonomy within a unified Syrian state is the optimum basis on which to resist a territorial carve-up by either Turkey or the US.

Greenstein’s real crime is anti-zionism

THERE was a certain inevitability that the first Labour Party member to be expelled on charges of anti-semitism would be a Jewish anti-zionist.

The party’s national constitutional committee (NCC) insists that Tony Greenstein has been expelled for being abusive to pro-zionist Labour Party members and it is incontestable that he is unlikely to have a future in Britain’s diplomatic service.

Greenstein’s real crime, however, is anti-zionism, which is unpardonable for those in Labour and further afield who defend Israel’s half-century brutal occupation of the West Bank and its illegal colonisation policies.

There has been a concerted effort in recent years, stoked largely from outside the party but encouraged by some within it, to smear Labour — and particularly leader Jeremy Corbyn — as soft on anti-semitism.

It is an unjust charge, but right-wing opponents of Corbyn have run with it as means of undermining him.

Divisions within the Jewish community about attitudes to zionism are nothing new and are often expressed in very harsh terms.

Is Greenstein’s use of the word “zio” towards those he opposes more objectionable than describing a Jewish anti-zionist as “anti-semitic?”

His expulsion, after a two-year suspension, does not augur well for the fate of other anti-zionist Labour Party members facing similar charges.

It will delight Israeli politicians pursuing colonialist expansion against Palestinians but will dismay those who, in common with Corbyn, have backed the peaceful boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Tel Aviv in support of Palestinian national rights.

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