Letters: West must take action to defeat ISIS

Fighters from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), now also known as Isis, marching in Raqqa, Syria. Picture: AP
Fighters from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), now also known as Isis, marching in Raqqa, Syria. Picture: AP
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UNTIL we recognise that the humanitarian situation in Europe is a symptom of the crisis in the Middle East, which the West helped to create, we will not make progress in resolving it.

At the heart of this crisis is the millenarian movement Isis, and the sectarian war in Iraq and Syria between Shia and Sunni muslims, which it is greatly aggravating.

We must start by grasping that among all the actors in that conflict, Isis with its mixture of genocide, slavery, sadism and cultural erasure is uniquely evil.

Thus, just as we made common cause with the Soviet Union against National Socialism, we will have to do so with President Assad’s regime in Syria and his Russian and Iranian allies.

We must also look with a critical eye at our supposed allies in the region. Saudi and other Gulf Arab money was one of the essential ingredients in the creation of Isis. This is unsurprising given that it is carrying out a Wahabi vision of Islam.

Equally worrying is that our Nato ally Turkey has shown a great deal more enthusiasm for fighting against the Kurds than against Isis. Also, the Turkish government has made next to no effort to stop the flow of refugees and migrants through Turkey to the European Union.

Nor should we forget that the massive flow of people through Libya came about because David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy turned that country in to a failed state by overthrowing 

Isis is today’s equivalent of the Nazis or the Khymer Rouge. Both practically and morally it must be eliminated, and only force of arms will do that.

Otto Inglis, Inveralmond Grove, Edinburgh

Corbyn continues Keir Hardie’s legacy

September 26 will be the centenary of Keir Hardie’s death. More than any other, his unifying and moderating role launched a socialist Labour party which 30 years later beat Churchill with a 200-seat majority and gave us the 
welfare state.

Hardie’s ability to rally liberals, the trade unions, the Fabians, the Suffragettes and the miners was crucial to the socialist cause, and without him there would have been no NHS, no welfare, no social security.

The best way socialists could mark his centenary is to get behind a Corbyn Labour leadership to defend him against the Blairites and Brownites, and the Tories who already fear him enough to engage in stunts like the Faslane pay-off.

Instead, independence-obsessed left groups signing up to RISE last Saturday denounced him as doomed.

While workers, the disabled and the unemployed suffer yet more cuts and thousands more face the dole, the left does not have the right to engage in squabbling over nationalist dreams.

We need a strong Labour opposition and it is the duty of all socialists to help Corbyn build it: that’s what Keir Hardie would have wanted.

Bruce Whitehead, Left Unity candidate, Edinburgh Leith Walk council by-election, September 10

After eight years of rule, SNP has failed

After eight years of an SNP government with full powers over health, education and police, all three of these vital services are in chaos.

Local government has been emasculated with more and more powers being centralised on Holyrood, while in other European countries more and more power is being passed down to local communities.

Every week there are revelations of disaster after disaster, blunder after blunder. The stock response from ministers or “a spokeswoman” is that they remain committed to delivering excellence in whatever area has been the latest to report a mess.

The ministers responsible are clearly in over their heads and have been promoted to the level at which they are incompetent. How long would a football manager last if he turned in a string of losing results? How long would a managing director stay in his post after a couple of years bad figures? The shareholders would show them the door and no amount of bleating that they remain committed to delivering would cut any ice whatsoever.

Scotland plc has been mismanaged for eight years under the SNP’s watch and I hope the shareholders, who are the voters, do the sensible thing and show them the door at the Holyrood elections next year.

Donald Lewis, Gifford, East Lothian

Alex’s religious views best left out of politics

Backtracking from his strange and divisive statement that he “prefers people of faith to people of no faith or people who have lost their faith”, Alex Salmond has now said that he “prefers people who are able to believe in something rather than believe in nothing” and, “what exactly is it that they fear about religious faith which makes them so sensitive?”

Mr Salmond can be assured that moral integrity, community spirit and faith in humanity are entirely possible without any sort of religious belief.

Secularists, whether religious or not have no “fear” of religious belief. We have the greatest of respect for private viewpoints but we oppose the privileges enjoyed by Christianity in Scotland: unelected seats on education committees; access to the developing minds of children in state schools and claims to exemption from equality and employment laws which apply to everyone else.

Mr Salmond is free to break bread with any sub-group he chooses but he should expect criticism when someone of his public profile uses his platform further to promote his personal religious preferences.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive