UK Labour suspends ex-leader Corbyn after anti-Semitism failings exposed

UK Labour suspends ex-leader Corbyn after anti-Semitism failings exposed
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during a general election campaign visit at Whitby Leisure Center in Whitby, northern England, December 01, 2019. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 29 October 2020

UK Labour suspends ex-leader Corbyn after anti-Semitism failings exposed

UK Labour suspends ex-leader Corbyn after anti-Semitism failings exposed
  • Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure was marred by persistent complaints of anti-Semitism in the party and criticism of the leader’s response
  • Labour whip removed from Corbyn, meaning that the former leader will no longer be able to take part in House of Commons votes as a Labour lawmaker

LONDON: Britain’s opposition Labour party suspended its former leader Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday for seeking to deflect blame away from himself after a report found that under his leadership the party was responsible for unlawful harassment and discrimination.
Corbyn’s successor, Keir Starmer, apologized and said Labour was facing a “day of shame” after the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found serious failings in how the party had dealt with allegations of anti-Semitism within its ranks.
Corbyn’s tenure was marred by persistent complaints of anti-Semitism in the party and criticism of the leader’s response.
He was suspended after saying he did not accept all the report’s findings, that his attempts at reforming complaints processes had been stalled by “obstructive party bureaucracy” and that the scale of the problem had been overstated for political reasons.
“In light of his comments made today and his failure to retract them subsequently, the Labour Party has suspended Jeremy Corbyn pending investigation,” Labour said in a statement.
The party added it had removed the Labour whip from Corbyn, meaning that the former leader will no longer be able to take part in House of Commons votes as a Labour lawmaker.
Starmer said he accepted the EHRC’s report “in full” and would implement all its recommendations.
“It is a day of shame for the Labour Party. We have failed Jewish people... I am truly sorry for all the pain and grief that has been caused,” said Starmer, who held a senior role under Corbyn’s leadership but has tried to stamp out the problem since taking over.
“Never again will we fail to tackle anti-Semitism and never again will we lose your trust.”


Kabul hails Biden plan to review Taliban deal

Kabul hails Biden plan to review Taliban deal
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (C) arrives with the government delegation during a visit in Herat province on January 21, 2021. (AFP)
Updated 23 January 2021

Kabul hails Biden plan to review Taliban deal

Kabul hails Biden plan to review Taliban deal
  • Violence has worsened since signing of peace accord, critics claim

KABUL: Officials in Kabul have welcomed the new US administration’s plan to review a peace deal between Washington and the Taliban that paved the way for a complete withdrawal of US-led troops from Afghanistan by May.

President Joe Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Saturday told his Afghan counterpart, Hamdullah Mohib, that Washington will review last year’s agreement — an issue long demanded by Kabul — in a sign of a possible policy shift in the White House under its new leadership.

The accord, signed in Doha in February 2020, followed secret talks between the previous US government of Donald Trump and Taliban leaders. It committed the militants to reducing conflict in Afghanistan and engaging in negotiations with the Afghan government.

However, violence has intensified since the signing of the deal that also forced Kabul to release thousands of Taliban prisoners, souring President Ashraf Ghani’s ties with Washington. 
“We welcome the US intention to review the February 2020 US-Taliban agreement,” Sediq Sediqqi, Afghan deputy interior minister, said in a tweet following Sullivan’s conversation with Mohib.

“The agreement has not delivered the desired goal of ending the Taliban’s violence and bringing a cease-fire desired by Afghans. The Taliban did not live up to its commitments.”

Mohib’s spokesman, Rahmatullah Andar, told Arab News that Afghan security leaders had emphasized “a cease-fire, just peace, democratic Afghanistan and protecting the past 20 years of gain.”

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until the arrival of US-led forces in 2001. 
Andar said that Afghanistan remained committed to its “foundational partnership with the US,” and will work closely with Washington on security, peace, counterterrorism and regional engagement.

Meanwhile, the Taliban say that they expect the new US administration to stick to the February deal.

“The demand of the Islamic Emirate from the new administration in America is full implementation of the Doha accord,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Arab News. 
“The Doha agreement is the best prescription and only roadmap for ending the war in Afghanistan and for the withdrawal of US forces. The Islamic Emirate is committed to the agreement,” he said.

Under the deal, the Taliban agreed to cut ties with “terrorist groups” and halt attacks on US-led troops.

Trump administration officials claimed that there have been no strikes by the Taliban against US troops since the signing of the deal. 
Thousands of US soldiers have left since February, and only 2,500 remain in the country along with 30,000 foreign contractors. 
Afghan analysts are divided on the implications of the US administration’s announcement.

Tamim Asey, a former deputy defense minister, said the reassessment of the deal may lead to a slowing of the US withdrawal.

“I am now confident that the US will slow its troop drawdown until a policy review is complete,” he said.

Toreq Farhadi, a former government adviser, told Arab News there are likely to be only “minor changes in the reassessment” since the US wants to end the war.

However, Taj Mohammad, said that a review of the deal may lead to a “new wave of fighting.”

“The Taliban and some in the region oppose this because it could be seen as furthering the presence of US forces,” he said.