Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

A guard sits on the rubble of the house of Brigadier Fouad al-Emad, an army commander loyal to the Houthis, after air strikes destroyed it in Sanaa, Yemen June 15, 2015. Warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition bombarded Yemen’s Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa overnight as the country’s warring factions prepared for talks expected to start in Geneva on Monday. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTX1GJK0

by The Spark

Upon taking office, President Trump has intensified U.S. military attacks on Yemen. He gave the okay for the very early morning raid of January 29 by U.S. special forces, supported by helicopter gunships and armed Reaper drones, on the rural village of Yakla. And in early March, Trump demonstrably stepped up U.S. bombing of Yemen, with 40 bombing raids in less than a week.

According to the Trump administration, both the raid and the bombings targeted fighters belonging to the Yemeni branch of al Qaeda. But in reality, it was the civilian population that suffered the brunt of the casualties. In Yakla alone, at least 25 civilians, including 10 children under the age of 13, were killed, with dozens more people wounded.

Just like in Syria, Iraq and Libya, the population in Yemen has been caught in the crossfire between imperialist bombs and Islamic militias – with the difference being that the news media has paid much less attention to events in Yemen.

Yemen, the small and very impoverished country at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula, is located at a crossroads for the entire region. Every day, (more…)

The piece below is taken from the site of Samidoun, the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, here, March 20.  Please support their work. 

Two Palestinian prisoners are currently on hunger strike to demand their release from indefinite imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention. Mohammed Alaqimah of Jenin has been on hunger strike for 24 days, even after his health has deteriorated. He was joined by Raafat Shalash, 34, of al-Khalil, currently on his fifth day of hunger strike against administrative detention without charge or trial.

Alaqimah, 27, from the vilage of Barta’a, has been imprisoned without charge or trial since 16 August 2016. He launched a hunger strike for eight days in late December after his four-month administrative detention order was renewed. He launched his current hunger strike against the renewal once again of his imprisonment without charge or trial. Alaqimah is married and a father of two.

Shalash, from Beit Awwa village, held in the Negev desert prison, announced that he launched his hunger strike against the renewal of his administrative detention. He was seized by occupation forces on 17 January 2016 and has been subject to three consecutive administrative detention orders; his current order expires on 14 April 2017 and he is demanding that it not be renewed. He is married with three children and has spent seven years in Israeli prisons.

Alaqimah and Shalash are among over 530 Palestinians held without charge or trial under (more…)

The following is based on a presentation at the International Communist Forum in London last month (February 2017).  ICF is organised by the British Marxist workers’ group Workers Fight, which is aligned with the French revolutionary movement Lutte Ouvriere.  This is part of our efforts to make available to readers several different viewpoints on the conflict in Syria.

Introduction

It is almost exactly 6 years since the wave of protests of the Arab Spring spread to Syria, in February 2011. Within only a few months of these protests, the confrontation between the protesters and the Syrian dictatorship turned into a bloody civil war, which remains as rife and brutal as ever today.

These six years of bloodshed have already claimed nearly half a million casualties and forced an estimated 4.5 million Syrians to seek shelter outside the country around 20% of the population. As to the state of the country, most of us have seen TV footage of Aleppo when it was recently retaken by government forces: it is a ghost town, covered in rubble. Some buildings still appear to be standing upright, but, on a closer look, most have been hollowed out by the blasts of many explosions. In fact many of Syria’s small and bigger towns have suffered the same treatment. As to the country’s infrastructure it has either been destroyed or else, it is falling apart for lack of maintenance.

In other words, the same tragedy which took place in Iraq as a result of the country’s invasion by the imperialist powers is being played out again in Syria, but this time, without (more…)

from mondoweiss
Jonathan Ofir on March 5, 2017

From the Israeli leadership perspective, a Palestinian state in any true capacity has always been a ‘Never-Never Land’ that should remain in the realms of fiction. When Israel and the Palestinians embarked upon the famous ‘peace process’ in Madrid in 1991, Prime Minister Itzhak Shamir coined the ‘teaspoon policy’: endless negotiating sessions at which countless teaspoons amounting to mountains of sugar would be stirred into oceans of tea and coffee, but no agreement would ever be reached. For Israel, with or without a ‘peace process’, this continues to be policy: the more it draws out the time, the more opportunity it gets to annex, the more it shrinks Palestinian enclaves into Bantustans and open air prisons.Israel has no intention of realizing a real Palestinian state, and it never had.

Let me review the history. Israel took over (more…)

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Netanyahu and Trump finally bury the two-state ‘solution’

by Moshe Machover

On February 15 the desiccated corpse of the two-state ‘solution’ (2SS) to the conflict between the Israeli Zionist settler state and the colonised Palestinian Arab people was finally laid to rest. One is tempted to say ‘RIP’, but it is far more likely to rest in war than peace. The interment took place at a White House press conference, during which the new leader of the ‘international community’ absolved his smiling protégé, Binyamin (‘Bibi’) Netanyahu from even pretending to pursue the phantom of the 2SS.1 This ended a long-standing official commitment of the US, formalised by GW Bush in his ‘road map’ speech (June 24 2002),2 but informally dates back to the Bill Clinton presidency.

As I have explained in previous articles,3 no major Zionist party is genuinely prepared to accept a sovereign Palestinian state ‘alongside Israel’ west of the river Jordan. But, whereas Labour Zionists (now part of the Zionist Camp led by Yitzhak Herzog) were ready to play along with the endless ‘peace process’, Netanyahu and most of his Likud party, egged on by their ultra-fanatic partners, had lost patience with this pretence, and were eager to edge towards annexing the West Bank (the tiny, densely populated Gaza Strip is not on the menu just yet). So in April 2014 Barack Obama’s secretary of state, John Kerry, concluded that due to Israel’s obstructiveness the ‘peace process’ had gone “poof”.4

Secret summit in Aqaba

In order to understand the full significance of Trump’s declaration, which effectively allows Netanyahu a free hand in dealing with the Palestinian issue, we must note two previous landmark events. The first of these was a (more…)

by Daphna Whitmore

If you support US wars and strong-arm tactics around the world vote for Labour in 2017. That’s the party that is most gung-ho about US world domination right now. Just this week Labour leader Andrew Little criticised President Trump for indicating he wants to pull back on US interventions. Here’s what Little said following the presidential inauguration:

He [Trump] talked about America First and not entering into fights that aren’t America’s fights. But the US plays an absolutely crucial role in world peace and world order and if he is going to fundamentally change that, then who knows what is going to happen and which tyrants in other parts of the world are going to consider that they have a licence to do even worse.(NZ Herald  23 January 2017)

Just how low can Labour go you may wonder? Think bottomless pit and avoid disappointment. Having shown themselves to be more racist than National with their campaign against people with Chinese sounding names, the Labour Party now wants to show they are even better imperialists too.

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Andrew Little visiting troops in Iraq 2016 with National’s Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee

(more…)

web-david-friedman_art_fullby Tony Greenstein

If you listen to the pro-Israel lobby group J-Street, which was formed in 2007 as a more ‘liberal’ alternative to the pro-Likud American Israel Public Affairs Committee and other liberal mainstream Zionists, then the nomination of bankruptcy lawyer, David Friedman, as the new US ambassador to Israel marks the beginning of the end of the world as we know it.

Friedman is on record as calling J-Street ‘worse than kapos’. In an article for the settler news agency Arutz Sheva,1 he responded to criticism by a liberal Zionist, Peter Beinart, by asking rhetorically: ‘are J-Street supporters really as bad as kapos?’ The answer, actually, is no. They are far worse than kapos – Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps.’

In the same op-ed, Friedman spoke of “how dangerous the Jewish left is to the State of Israel”, describing them as “the lost souls who blame Israel for not making a suicidal ‘peace’ with hateful radical Islamists hell bent on Israel’s destruction.” Bear in mind that what Friedman terms “the Jewish left” is not what most people would consider as being on the left.

The term ‘kapos’ is a favourite insult of Zionists. It used to be reserved for Jewish anti-Zionists but is now increasingly used against liberal Zionists. Anyone who is not an out-and-out racist or Jewish supremacist is in danger of being accused of being a ‘kapos’. The kapos, for those unfamiliar with the term, were prisoners in the Nazi extermination or concentration camps who were made trustees or foremen. In return for a little more food or favourable treatment, they were expected to supervise other inmates, and some of them, not all, developed a reputation for cruelty. If they didn’t beat others, they were beaten instead.

The Zionist use of the term ‘kapos’ is somewhat ironic since Zionism was a movement that voluntarily co-operated and collaborated with the Nazis. The kapos (more…)