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[For more articles by or about Adam Hanieh, click HERE.]
By Adam Hanieh
March 1, 2015 -- Middle East Monitor, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over four years since mass uprisings ousted sclerotic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt it can seem that the initial hopes represented by these movements lie in tatters. Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iraq remain mired in bloody armed conflicts that have led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands and displaced millions more within and across borders.
In the pivotal case of Egypt, military rule has returned through the violent crushing of protests, the arrests of an estimated 40,000 people and the rebuilding of the repressive structures of the Hosni Mubarak era. Elsewhere, autocratic governments look more secure in their rule today than they have for many years.
An anti-militia protester gunned down on November 15, 2013.By Chris Slee
January 9, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In recent months there has been a wave of protests against militias in Libya’s cities. The militias are armed groups originally formed during the 2011 civil war. Most are based in particular towns or regions, but they sometimes try to exercise power over a wider area. There is widespread resentment at their arbitrary exercise of power. One protester told the Libya Herald that the militias “terrorise, steal and kidnap people”.
On November 15, 2013, protesters marched on a militia base in Gharghour, a suburb of Tripoli, Libya’s capital. The base was occupied by a militia from the city of Misrata. The protesters were demanding that the militia leave Tripoli. But the militia opened fire, killing 47 people and injuring 500.
This led to more protests. The Tripoli local council called a general strike, initially intended to last three days.
[Adam Hanieh is a lecturer in development studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is author of Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States (Palgrave-Macmillan 2011) and a member of the editorial board of the journal Historical Materialism. For more by Adam Hanieh, click HERE.]
Tariq Ali on Russia Today, July 13, 2012: "We have a very grim, polarised situation in which the choices are limited: either a Western-imposed regime composed of sundry Syrians who work for the Western intelligence agencies ... or the Assad regime. It's clear the people of Syria want neither ..."
By Phyllis Bennis
June 28, 2012 -- Znet -- Fifteen months on, the short Syrian spring of 2011 has long since morphed into a harsh winter of discontent. Syria is close to full-scale civil war. If the conflict escalates further, it will have ramifications far outside the country itself. As former UN Secretary-General and current envoy of both the UN and the Arab League Kofi Annan put it, “'Syria is not Libya, it will not implode, it will explode beyond its borders.”
Some of the victims of the Idi Amin regime recovered by local farmers in the fertile fields of the Luwero Triangle region north of the Ugandan capital of Kampala in 1987.
Introduction by Tony Iltis
March 22, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The reception in Uganda to the KONY 2012 viral video has been unanimously negative. From journalists, academics and bloggers to local NGO workers and local people at a public screening in the northern town of Lira, Ugandans have reacted angrily to their country’s politics and problems being simplified into a childish narrative to serve foreign propaganda needs.
Many Ugandan commentators noted that this is not the first time Uganda has suffered this treatment from Western filmmakers, citing the highly successful, award-winning 2007 British film, The Last King of Scotland, as another example. This film is centres on Idi Amin Dada, who ruled Uganda from 1971 to 1979 in a violent reign of terror that cost 100,000 lives.
By Rupen Savoulian
March 9, 2012 -- Antipodean Athiest, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, speaking to the US Senate Appropriations Committee in February 2012, stated that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad meets the criteria of a war criminal. The Telegraph newspaper in Britain reported as follows:
Based on definitions of war criminal and crimes against humanity, there would be an argument to be made that he would fit into that category,” she said in Washington.
But I also think that from long experience that can complicate a resolution of a difficult, complex situation because it limits options to persuade leaders perhaps to step down from power.
This raises a number of interesting questions regarding the application of international law to heads of state and corresponding government officials. What constitutes war crimes, and how can we evaluate whether or not a state leader is a war criminal?
Nuremberg and war crimes
Statement by the Socialist Alliance (Australia)
February 9, 2012 -- Socialist Alliance supports, and expresses its full solidarity with, the Syrian people’s democratic uprising against the tyrant Bashar al-Assad.
We also condemn the interference by Western imperialist powers and the threats of military intervention. Further, we call on the Australian government to extract itself from the US alliance and its involvement in aggressive multinational military operations.
The death toll in Syria is now more than 6000. We condemn the Syrian government’s military repression of protests and Assad’s refusal to yield to the wishes of the Syrian people to step down. We also condemn the four decades of repressive rule by Assad and his father Hefaz al-Assad.
Western policy in the resource-rich and strategically important Middle East remains devoted to maintaining Western global dominance. The West’s very selective opposition to tyranny in the Middle East — opposing some, while propping up the most tyrannical regimes in region — is transparently motivated by how compliant a tyranny is to imperialism’s interests.
Adam Hanieh addresses a meeting in London.
Adam Hanieh interviewed by Farooq Sulehria
February 3, 2012 -- Viewpoint -- Saudi Arabia, along with other Gulf states, have been key protagonists in the counter-revolutionary wave unleashed against the Arab uprisings. Indeed, 2011 has clearly demonstrated that imperialism in the region is articulated with – and largely works through – the Gulf Arab states. "Overall, it is important for the left to support the ongoing struggles in the revolutions as the contradictions of the new regimes continue to sharpen", says Adam Hanieh.
Adam Hanieh is a lecturer in development studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is author of Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States (Palgrave-Macmillan 2011) and a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Historical Materialism.
Farooq Sulehria: The outcome of elections in Tunisia and Egypt went in favour of Islamist parties, even though the revolutions in these countries had a secular character. Islamists are also an integral part, if not the dominant force, in the revolutions in Syria, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain. Is the Arab Spring in fact a victory for the Islamist movements?
By Khalil Habash
January 12, 2012 -- Counterfire via International Socialist Group (Scotland) -- The Syrian popular movement has witnessed an increasing mobilisation in recent weeks – the most important since last summer – despite the continuous violent repression. Defections within the army are still happening on a growing scale. Ten months after the beginning of the revolution – and despite the 6000 martyrs – the popular movement is continuing, though there are profound political divisions among the opposition.
The divisions among the opposition
The two most well-known political opposition groups are Syrian National Council (SNC) and National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCCDC), in addition to the Local Coordinating Committees and other groups on the ground. Many political groups are not yet represented by the two main opposition groups.
December 5, 2011 -- New Left Project's Ed Lewis interviewed Adam Hanieh about the international political economy of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Hanieh is a lecturer in development studies at SOAS, and is an editorial board member of Historical Materialism. He is the author, most recently, of Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.
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Ed Lewis: You see the six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman – as being at the centre of the Middle East economically and politically, but not simply because of their vast reserves of oil. What, then, is your account of how the Gulf states have come to be in this position of centrality?
By Boris Kagarlitsky, translated from Russian by Renfrey Clarke
November 28, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- “Turning-points in the history of humanity,” a contributor to the left-wing Algerian newspaper Le Matin observed in the summer of 2001, “are never simple for contemporaries to understand. Rarely are people able fully to assess the significance of these episodes, or their consequences. The developments concerned do not proceed in the manner, or at the time and place, that people expect. The early years of the twenty-first century have seen this rule reaffirmed. During this time, new and increasingly powerful trends have been mingled with the heritage of the past, dragging us back. History, however, operates through these new forces, which gradually but inevitably will succeed in overcoming the inertia of the past.” (1)
Indian communists on challenges for the Arab Spring and the American Autumn; Revolt of the 99 per cent
Placard at a Occupy Washington DC protest.
By the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Liberation
November 7, 2011 -- ML Update -- It was Iraq in 2006. It is Libya today in 2011. In 2006, the administration of US President George Bush had celebrated the conquest of Iraq by exhibiting the mutilated body of Saddam Hussein as a prized trophy. The spectacle of celebration of Libya’s "liberation" is turning out to be remarkably similar. On October 20, 2011, the world came to know about the ruthless elimination of Libya’s deposed ruler Muammar Gaddafi. He was captured alive – and unlike in the Saddam case there was no pretence of a trial – only to be murdered brutally and his blood-streaked body was put on display in a commercial freezer at a shopping centre in Misrata. Around the same tIme his son, Mutassim, was also captured and killed in Sirte, reportedly the last stronghold of the Gaddafi regime. While Barack Obama's administration and NATO immediately hailed the "liberation" of Libya, US and French flags could be seen being waved on Libya’s streets alongside Libyan flags.
Amnesty estimated up to half those detained were migrant workers from Sub-Saharan Africa, who have been persecuted since the beginning of the conflict over spurious allegations that they served Gaddafi as mercenaries.
By Tony Iltis
October 31, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- The October 23 declaration of Libya’s “liberation” by the National Transitional Council (NTC), the de-facto government since taking Tripoli from former dictator Muammar Gaddafi on August 21, was a showcase victory for the West’s vision of how the Arab democratic awakening should progress.
An uprising began in Libya on February 17 — part of the popular rebellion that has broken out against dictatorial regimes across the Arab world. The Gaddafi regime's brutal repression — carried out with Western-supplied weapons — meant the rising turned into a civil war.
By March 17, with the regime's forces preparing to attack the rebel-held eastern city of Benghazi, a NATO intervention was sanctioned by a UN Security Council resolution in the name of protecting civilian lives.
"The lesson of Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, Ben Ali and now al-Gaddafi is that friends can be quickly forsaken by their Western patrons when the writing is on the wall."
By Reza Pankhurst
October 21, 2011 -- New Civilisation, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- British Prime Minister David Cameron’s statement regarding the killing of Muammar al-Gaddafi will go down as another piece of brash hypocrisy, which would be breathtaking if it was not so expected from the British premier. He mentioned that he was “proud of the role that Britain has played” in the uprising – intending of course the support given by NATO once it was clear that the Libyan people had risen up against the man en masse.
However he neglected to mention some of the other roles that Britain previously played with the Gaddafi regime which have undoubtedly had an effect on the events:
South Sudan celebrates independence. Photo by babasteve.
By Explo Nani-Kofi
September 6, 2011 -- Pambazuka News, posted at Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- I have decided not to separate Sudan and South Sudan in my articles because developments in both places, even after the secession of South Sudan as an independent country, are linked to how Sudan, Africa’s biggest country, was shaped historically and how it functioned as a country. The crisis in Sudan is a crisis of capitalism in post-colonial Africa but manifests itself through the way capitalism specifically functions in Sudan.
Celebrations in Tripoli following Gaddafi's retreat.
By Richard Seymour
August 31, 2011 -- ABC's The Drum -- Libya, the source of so many American nightmares, is fast becoming an American dream.
Reagan was tortured by Tripoli, and its big boss man, sassing the US. He imposed sanctions, and bombed the country, but had no peace. Bush the Younger was reconciled with the prodigal Colonel Gaddafi, but somehow this alliance seemed, well, un-American.
Obama, though, will have the privilege of being an ally of an ostensibly free Libya that he helped birth into existence. At minimal outlay (a mere $1 billion, which is peanuts in Pentagon terms), and with relatively few lives lost from bombing, a US-led operation has deposed a Middle East regime and empowered a transitional regime that is committed to human rights and free elections.
After the carnage of Iraq, such a simple, swift and (apparently) morally uncomplicated victory seemed impossible.
Lest we swoon too quickly, however, it is worth remembering that there are other ways to look at this.
Saudi Arabian troops enter Bahrain to crush the democratic uprising.
By Samer Araabi
August 23, 2011 -- RightWeb -- At the end of February 2011, it looked as though the old order was crumbling across the Arab world. Inspired by the self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor, massive popular demonstrations ousted Tunisia's president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak was not long to follow. Similar uprisings began to swell in Algeria, Jordan, Bahrain and Yemen, and the anciens regimes appeared helpless against the rising tide of popular anger and nonviolent resistance.
Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, actively worked to encourage the forces of counter-revolution throughout the region. From Morocco to Bahrain, Saudi finance, support and intelligence has sought to prevent political turmoil, reinforce existing dynasties and crush nascent democratic movements before they could reach critical mass. This reactionary tide has been supported by some ideologues in Washington, which worries that Arab democratisation would be detrimental to US policy objectives.
By Ali Abunimah
August 26, 2011 -- Electronic Intifada -- The US administrations of presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were set on developing deep “military to military” ties with the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi, classified US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks on August 24 reveal. The United States was keen to integrate Libya as much as possible into “AFRICOM”, the US military command for Africa which seeks to establish bases and station military forces permanently on the continent.
“We never would have guessed ten years ago that we would be sitting in Tripoli, being welcomed by a son of Muammar al-Qadhafi”, US Senator Joseph Lieberman said during an August 2009 meeting, which also included senators John McCain and Susan Collins.
Gilbert Achcar interviewed on August 24, 2011 by Democracy Now!. Transcript below.
The following article, reposted from Jadiliyya, was written before the entry of rebels into Tripoli on August 20-21, signalling the looming collapse of the Gaddafi regime. It offers valuable analysis of the dynamics between imperialism and the rebel movement and the Libyan masses. It contends that the Western powers, in an attempt to control the uprising, rationed their military support to ensure that significant sections of the Gaddafi state would be retained in any post-Gaddafi regime.
* * *
By Gilbert Achcar