Archive for the ‘‘Counter-insurgency’’ Category

Public beheadings take place each year by the score, frequently for taking part in political protests

by Lutte Ouvriere

For more than two and a half years, Saudi Arabia has been waging a war on Yemen that has already caused 10,000 deaths. Bombing has hit hospitals, schools and military positions indiscriminately. On January 1, 2018, a gas station in the marketplace of Al Hudayadh in West Yemen was hit, killing at least 20 people. According to the Red Cross, the cholera epidemic that is a direct result of the war has affected a million people since March 2017. Due to the embargo imposed by the Saudi regime, famine now threatens 70% of the Yemeni population of 27.5 million.

NZ prime minister John Key visiting Saudi Arabia 2015; what’s a few score of public beheadings a year between friends? Photo: Radio NZ/Kim Baker Wilson

Led by the US, imperialist powers gave their go-ahead, and the Saudis launched Operation Decisive Storm on March 25, 2015. The UN Security Council immediately approved. Great Britain, France and the U.S. supplied arms and military intelligence and continue to do so, ignoring the catastrophic effect on the Yemeni people. Saudi Arabia is now bogged down in this endless conflict.

The Saudi ambassador to the US, Adel al-Jubeir, declared, “We’re doing this to protect Yemen.” Saudi Arabia has interfered in the region for decades, but its aim has never been to protect the population – it has always been to protect its own interests and prove itself a faithful ally of U.S. imperialism. Its role of “gendarme” for imperialism, together with its regional ambitions and the instability of its regime, are the ingredients of (more…)

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by Daphna Whitmore

Several hundred people turned out yesterday in Auckland to rally in solidarity with the people of Gaza. The vicious response of the Israeli army to the mass demonstrations at the Gaza prison fence has created a sense of urgency  that the situation demands action. The rally turned into a spontaneous march to the US Consulate.

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Auckland solidarity march with Gaza

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by Daphna Whitmore

What other western country shoots demonstrators with snipers? Like a scene from Game of Thrones Israel continued its bloody killing spree on the Gaza border while celebrating the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

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Men, women and children protesting in Gaza against the siege, their loss of land and nationhood

As Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were opening the embassy the death toll rose to more than 60 Palestinians with an estimated 2000 maimed this week. Meanwhile fascistic religious Jewish mobs in Jerusalem went on a rampage against Palestinians, all the while protected by the Israeli state. (more…)

May 5 marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx.  Below we’re running a review of Francis Wheen’s biography of Marx.  The review was written when the bio first came out and is by a prominent British Marxist.  Its author probably did more than anyone else to re-establish Marx’s crisis theory in the English-speaking world, back in the early 1970s, and also both to re-establish the Marxist tradition in Britain on ‘the Irish Question’ and the imnpact of imperialism on the political outlook of the British working class and the Marxist approach to Labourism and the British Labour Party.  We’ve added a few more subheads and paragraph divides to break up the text.

by David Yaffe

The first short biography of Karl Marx could be said to have been produced by his great friend and collaborator Frederick Engels on 17 March 1883 in a speech heard by the ten other people gathered together in Highgate Cemetery for Marx’s funeral. It offers very clear guidelines to those who would take it upon themselves to write future biographies. Marx, said Engels, was before all else a revolutionary:

‘His real mission in life was to contribute, in one way or another, to the overthrow of capitalist society and of the state institutions which it had brought into being, to contribute to the liberation of the modern proletariat, which he was the first to make conscious of its own position and its needs, conscious of the conditions of its emancipation. Fighting was his element. And he fought with a passion, a tenacity and a success such as few could rival.’

So the appearance of yet another biography of Karl Marx, this time by the former Guardian columnist Francis Wheen,1 claiming that ‘it is time to strip away the mythology and rediscover Karl Marx the man’ (p1), should put us on our guard. For Marx the man cannot be separated from his real mission in life and the dedication and commitment that invariably accompanied it.

Faint praise

A biography like any other ‘commodity’ has to have a market niche. Another tabloid-style denunciation of the man and his works would have little mileage. Neither would a revolutionary vindication of Marx. Wheen knows his punters – he wrote weekly for them in The Guardian. They rejected Thatcherism and a Labour Party gone Thatcherite. They are disturbed by untrammelled market forces, corporate domination, financial speculation and increasing stress and insecurity at work. They are alarmed by environmental destruction and Third World poverty but want well-stocked supermarkets supplied by global markets. They want to see change but not (more…)

The following was written in January 2018 and sent to us in late April by the author, a veteran of the revolutionary movement in Iran.  Apologies to the author that it got caught up in our email; it should have gone up straight away.  

by Torab Saleth

Background

The recent uprisings against the Iranian regime were, on the face of it, protests by the urban poor and the unemployed in more than 80 cities against endemic poverty and against the corrupt clerical regime responsible for it. In the internet age, when extensive social networks are available, such events cannot be suppressed or kept hidden. What started in Meshed soon spread everywhere, and hundreds of videos of these protests were distributed and watched on social networks as they were happening. The spin given to these events by various political interests has, however, created total confusion about the real nature of these protests and their significance for future survival of the “Islamic” regime.

Iran’s “supreme leader” Ali Khamenehi called the movement a “sedition” organised by the USA (mentioned together with the names of the other usual suspects: Israeli, Saudi or Mujahedin), while the US President Donald Trump congratulated the Iranian people for “finally” following his advice and rising up against their corrupt government. The “National Liberation Army of Iran”, one of the many fronts of the Mujahedin’s “opposition for hire”, exaggerated the extent of the uprising to precisely 132 cities (they are everywhere and they know everything!). So then they could claim credit for it on behalf of the ghost of their long deceased/disappeared leader, Masoud Rajavi, who can of course even inspire from the grave. One of the two dozen groups claiming the Fedayii name (The People’s Devotees) saw from London the signs of an “armed insurrection”, while the BBC Persian Service was warning against the “detrimental impact” they would have on President Hassan Rouhani’s government. Rouhani himself announced that the hardliners started it, while the hardliners blamed the whole “mess” on the incompetence of Rouhani’s government. The monarchists were over the moon, claiming that slogans in support of Cyrus the Great were proof of a new dawn of the monarchy in Iran. One interesting fact was the conspicuous absence of any declaration of opinion, either of support or condemnation, from the former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or his supporters, whom many political pundits considered to be in fact the main culprit. The various circles of “legal” (or tolerated) semi-liberal or opportunist/reformist opposition, while keeping their distance from the protests, nevertheless used them to push for more reforms. Our syndicalists bemoaned the absence of trade unions, while revolutionaries pointed out the absence of a revolutionary party. In the meantime, in social networks, radicals were promising a thousand “Paris Communes” to come.

Even if we concede an element of truth in all the above proclamations, any serious observer of the political situation in Iran knows full well that it is much (more…)

by Yassamine Mather

Irrespective of what the experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons say, there is no doubt that the Syrian dictator is capable of using weapons of mass destruction against his own population and it is possible that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the attack in Douma.

However, the point remains that the tripartite alliance of the US, UK and France has failed to prove that the Syrian government was responsible for this terrible act before launching a military attack. In addition, after all the fake documents produced prior to the Iraq war, can anyone trust the advice of international ‘experts’? There is a level of justified scepticism amongst ordinary people about British government claims of being certain who was behind the ‘chemical attack’ used to justify the military operations of April 14.

Chemical weapons

In the current situation, when Assad is clearly winning the eight-year civil war, why would he use chemical weapons on a small group of fundamentalist Islamists, Jaysh al-Islam (an offshoot of Al Qa’eda)? After all, his government, aided by Russia and Iran, has managed to defeat the other offshoots operating in Syria and, what is more, in Douma a deal had been reached that paved the way for the departure of the insurgents.

As late as April 12, US defence secretary James Mattis was telling reporters that the United States and its allies were “still assessing” reports of a chemical weapons attack on April 7 – days after his boss, Donald Trump, and British prime minister Theresa May had declared they knew what had happened and firmly blamed Assad.

Unlike Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and elements in the Stop the War Coalition, I have no illusions in the United Nations and the sanctity of ‘international law’. However, it is interesting to read the case made by US law professors Jack Goldsmith and Oona Hathaway against (more…)

This article is written in the British context, thus the references to Jeremy Corbyn at the end.

A Palestinian protester carries an injured friend during clashes with Israeli forces following a protest along the border with Israel, east of Gaza City on April 1, 2018. (AFP Photo)

by Tony Greenstein

March 30 was Day of the Land in Palestine and in the build-up thousands of people had been demonstrating near Gaza’s border fence with Israel. They were demanding the right to return to the land of their parents or grandparents, who were driven out by Zionists in the 1948-49 naqba.

But, on March 27, 16 people were murdered and over 750 injured by the Israel Defence Forces in a wanton massacre of unarmed protestors.  Israeli troops first used tear gas and rubber bullets before opening fire with live ammunition, even though it appears none of the demonstrators were carrying firearms. Since then at least one of the injured has died and the death toll could well rise higher.

Gaza has been under siege by Israel for more than a decade and it is becoming unliveable. Ninety percent of water is undrinkable, the devastation of Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014 has still not been repaired and electricity is available for no more than two-three hours per day. It is a siege by air, land and sea, yet Israel claims it is not an occupying power!

The Israeli state has what it calls an (more…)