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Ukraine: Kyiv, Russia sign shakey ceasefire

 Most civilian casualties have been caused by the land and air bombardment of populated areas in the east by Kyiv government forces.

More on the political situation in Ukraine.

By Tony Iltis

February 14, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France emerged from negotiations in Minsk, Belarus on the morning of February 12, after 16 hours of talks, and announced that agreement had been reached for a ceasefire in Ukraine's civil war.

The conflict has divided Ukraine since the overthrow of the unpopular, but democratically elected, president Viktor Yanukovich in February last year.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin told journalists that “despite all the difficulties of the negotiation process, we have managed to agree on the main issues”, the February 12 Moscow Times reported.

Venezuela: US-backed coup plot thwarted

President Maduro during the televised press conference February 14, 2015.

February 12, 2015 -- TeleSur English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A coup plot against Venezuela's government has been foiled, with both civilians and members of the military detained, President Nicolas Maduro revealed on February 12 in a televised address.

Those involved were being paid in US dollars, and one of the suspects had been granted a visa to enter the United States should the plot fail, Maduro said.

Venezuela’s president stated that the coup plotters already had a “transitional” government and program lined up once the plan, which included bombings on the Miraflores [presidential] Palace and the teleSUR offices in Caracas, as well as assassinations of members of the opposition, Maduro and others, was carried out.

Maduro explained that a video of masked military officials speaking out against the government had been recorded, which was set to be released after the planned assassination was carried out.

Ukraine: US/NATO pushes to arm Kyiv's bloody war in the east

February 3 interview on Democracy Now! with Professor Stephen Cohen of New York University and Princeton University.

More on the political situation in Ukraine.

By Roger Annis

February 6, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Kyiv and NATO-driven civil war in Ukraine is taking new and dangerous turns. The United States is threatening to significantly increase its military support to Kyiv's army and the extreme-right militias allied with it, notably in the form of advanced heavy weapons, including artillery systems and anti-tank weaponry. The NATO countries as a whole are increasing their military presence in eastern Europe, including creating rapid-deployment infantry bases.

Increased sanctions against Russia are also on the agenda, although Russia's capacity to withstand sanctions as well as the harmful consequences of sanctions on European countries are cooling the enthusiasm for more sanctions and propelling parallel, military options.

Obama’s new Cuba policy: McDonald's in Old Havana?

Cuban students march in Havana on December 17, 2014, after the US released the last of the Cuban Five political prisoners.

By Marce Cameron

February 2, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly -- “I want to see Cuba before everything changes,” is how many reacted to Barack Obama’s surprise December 17, 2014, announcement that he would restore diplomatic relations with Cuba — severed by the US in 1961 — and urge Congress to lift the US blockade.

Seeing Cuba for oneself can only be encouraged, but those who fear that it will soon be transformed by American tourists, US corporations and commercialism need not rush to book flights.

Hordes of American tourists and a hotel boom to accommodate them may well be inevitable, but a US corporate invasion is not. Fears or hopes that Obama’s new Cuba policy will unleash a US corporate take-over and cultural recolonisation are unfounded. These fears and hopes are based on the dubious assumption that what holds back the tide of capitalist restoration on the Cuban archipelago is, ironically, the US blockade.

Kurdistan: Why Kobanî did not fall

[For more on the struggle of the Kurdish people, click HERE.]

By Dilar Dirik

January 27, 2015 -- Kurdish Question, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- One year ago, today, Kobanî declared itself as an autonomous canton.

Today, after 135 days of fearless resistance, the people of Kobanî have liberated the city from the so-called Islamic State (ISIS). Since September 2014, the YPG and YPJ (People's and Women's Defence Units) have been leading – there are no other words to describe it -- an epic and unbelievable resistance against the latest wave of attacks by ISIS.

The women and men, who lead the most glorious resistance of our time, hoisted their flags on the last hills that were occupied by ISIS and immediately began their line dances, accompanied by old Kurdish revolutionary songs and slogans. Ever since, people around the world rushed to the streets to celebrate. After the countless tragedies, massacres and traumas that this region has had to suffer recently, the pains that have preceded this moment make victory even sweeter. One eye sheds tears for the dead, while the other cries out of much deserved joy.

Cuba to stand by its communist principles, Castro says; ‘US got isolated trying to isolate Cuba’ -- Rene Gonzalez

Raul Castro.

Click HERE for more on Cuba.

December 20, 2014 -- RT, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Cuba's leader Raul Castro said the country would not give up its political values for which it has fought. Calling for mutual respect in the new development of relations with the United States, Castro stated Cuba would continue its socialist route.

"In the same way that we have never demanded that the United States change its political system, we will demand respect for ours", Castro told Cuba's National Assembly in a session on December 20.

Having expressed gratitude to US President Barack Obama for his initiative to open a "new chapter" in the two countries' history by making a decision to lift the blockade, Castro stressed that the US president's move would in no way make Cuba abandon the ideas it has struggled for over half a century.

"Cuba is a sovereign country, with its people having determined its path to socialism and its political system by expression of will", Raul Castro said, adding that blood has also been shed to stand for the national ideas.

Cuban Five now all free! Will the US blockade of Cuba now end?

Click HERE for background on the Cuban Five.

By Julie Webb-Pullman

December 18, 2014 -- Scoop -- Cubans and many others around the world are jubilantly celebrating the return to Cuba on December 17 of Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero, the final three members of the Cuban Five to be released from US prisons, in a prisoner swap for US spy Alan Gross.

Cuba's President Raul Castro said in Havana that the release of the Cuban anti-terrorist fighters was the culmination of a respectful and reciprocal dialogue, without detriment to Cuba's national independence and sovereignty.

In a simultaneous address in the United States, President Barack Obama announced the release of Alan Gross, who arrived back in the United States on December 17 morning with his wife.

At the same time, both leaders announced a normalisation of relations, including re-establishment of diplomatic relations and an easing of US economic and travel restrictions on Cuba.

However, the complete lifting of the 50-year blockade requires US Congress approval.

In his announcement, Obama said that isolation has not worked, and it is time to try a new approach.

Burkina Faso's revolution: 'Blaise dégage! Sankara vit!' (Get out Blaise! Sankara lives!)

By Amber Murray

November 3, 2014 -- Ceasefire, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- An incredible political transformation has been taking shape in the "Land of the Upright or Incorruptible People", Burkina Faso. Twenty-seven years after the assassination of revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, Burkinabés turned out in their hundreds of thousands, for several days of protest, chanting “trop c’est trop” (enough is enough), echoing in the process a long history of trade union activism against political repression in the country, as well as protests staged through the Balai Citoyen collective.

After four days of the popular anger, President Blaise Compaoré vacated his post.

Critique of Patrick Cockburn’s ‘Whose side is Turkey on?’

Fighters of the Free Syrian Army

For more on Syria, click HERE.

By Michael Karadjis

October 31, 2014 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The November 6 London Review of Books has published Patrick Cockburn’s latest article (http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n21/patrick-cockburn/whose-side-is-turkey-on), ‘Whose side is Turkey On?’. Now, as I support the struggle of the Syrian Kurds, led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed militia, the YPG, against ISIS’ genocidal siege, I have no interest in defending Turkey’s shabby role in this, even if I think both the US and Turkey, in their current difference on this issue are both being totally cynical in their different ways. So this critique will not deal with these issues.

Rojava’s autonomous cantons: What a revolution looks like

"A YPJ fighter (right) next to a very similar picture of a female fighter in the Spanish revolution in the 1930s. The comparison is apt. The presence of such a high proportion of female front line fighters is evidence of a profound social transformation that has been happening in liberated Rojava and  within the Kurdish revolutionary movement."

By Tony Iltis

November 1, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On November 1, protests were held worldwide in solidarity with Kobanê. Protests took place in most countries on every continent. Even in Afghanistan, protests were organised in six cities by left-wing anti-occupation groups.

After withstanding more than six weeks of intense siege by the terrorist group that calls itself “Islamic State” (IS), Kobanê (also called Kobani), a small majority-Kurdish town on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey, has become one of the most well-known places on the planet.

The defenders of Kobanê mostly belong to the Syrian-Kurdish militias, the Peoples Defence Units (YPG) and Womens Defence Units (YPJ). The YPG has both male and female fighters. The YPJ is, as its name suggests, all female. Despite having held three cantons in Rojava as liberated zones since July 2012, until recently these militias were as obscure as Kobanê itself.

Vasily Koltashov and Boris Kagarlitsky: Will Putin abandon eastern Ukraine’s rebels?

Vladmir Putin and John Kerry: "Let's deal?"

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints from the region on the political situation in Ukraine.

By Vasily Koltashov and Boris Kagarlitsky[1], translated by Gaither Stewart, notes by Renfrey Clarke

Adam Hanieh: Gulf states, neoliberalism and liberation in the Middle East

Photograph of Dubai metropolis by Mohamed Somji, flic.kr/p/GYvne.

[For more articles by or about Adam Hanieh, click HERE.]

October 6, 2014 -- rs21 -- Adam Hanieh is a senior lecturer at and School of Oriental and African Studies in London and author of Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East. He spoke to Bill Crane about his book and on the trajectories of the Arab revolutions since 2011.

Accusing Hong Kong activists of being tools of US policy is ignorant and dangerous

The mass protests demanding democratic election of Hong Kong's chief executive are not the creation of US agencies

The mass protests demanding democratic election of Hong Kong's chief executive are not the creation of US agencies.

For more on Hong Kong, click HERE. For more on China, click HERE.

By Dave Lindorff

October 10, 2014 -- This Can't Be Happening -- A number of progressive and left-leaning writers  have jumped on a report by Wikileaks that the neocon-dominated National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and various other US-government linked organisations with a history of subversion and sowing discord abroad are operating in Hong Kong and on that basis are making the leap of “logic” that the democracy protests in Hong Kong must therefore be a creation of US policy makers.

Kurds: Statement by People's Democratic Party (Turkey) on developments in Rojava

rojava2

Kurds rally to defend Kobane from IS killers.

By the foreign affairs commission of the People’s Democracy Party (HDP),Turkey

October 3, 2014 -- HDP, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Today the peoples of the Middle East face the threat of a large-scale massacre. Peoples of the region, particularly Syrian and Iraqi peoples, are putting up an historic resistance to ISIS terror. Heavy attacks by ISIS, especially on the Kobane Canton of Rojava, are being resisted by the people of Kobane and YPG forces. The defence of Kobane, under the siege from four sides, continues.

War in eastern Ukraine and the new Cold War

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints on the political situation in Ukraine.

October 9, 2014 -- A Socialist in Canada, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- On September 29, 2014, the Institute for the Humanities at Simon Fraser University hosted a talk by Roger Annis on the war in eastern Ukraine and the accompanying political and military threats by NATO and the Kyiv government against Russia. Roger Annis is a Vancouver-based writer and antiwar activist who has written extensively on Ukraine.

The themes covered in the one-hour talk included:

Syrian rebels overwhelmingly condemn US bombing as an attack on revolution

Aftermath of the latest US airstrikes on Syria.

By Michael Karadjis

September 25, 2014 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- In extraordinary developments, the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Jordan have launched a joint air war, on Syrian territory, with the full support of the Syrian tyranny of Bashar al-Assad, on the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS, now also referred to as Islamic State, IS).

There are plenty of good reasons to oppose any US war in any circumstances; and in this case, a war that is targeting only the Sunni-sectarian ISIS, yet sparing the viciously anti-Sunni Assad regime, indeed collaborating with the regimethat is responsible for a hundred times more massacre and destruction than ISIS, with which it has long collaborated in any case, is likely to boost support for ISIS among a large section of the poverty-stricken, dispossessed Sunni majority.

NATO’s new cold war redraws left, liberal views on imperialism and war

The right-wing Canadian government endorsed a "Ukrainian Independence Day" celebration in Toronto that openly raised funds for the fascist Right Sector organisation and at which the group's red and black flags were displayed prominently.

By Roger Annis

September 18, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Just under 25 years ago, the Cold War ended with a capitalist triumph. The nationalised economies and political structures of the Soviet Union and eastern Europe collapsed and a transition to a harsh, anti-social capitalism began.

In the years that followed, an eastward expansion was undertaken by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the military alliance of the imperialist countries of Europe and North America. Many of the countries of eastern Europe joined the alliance, in explicit defiance of agreements by NATO with post-Soviet Russia not to expand in this way.

Socialist Alliance: 'No Australian military involvement in Iraq'; 'End Australian partnership with NATO'

September 4, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following statements were adopted by the Socialist Alliance national executive on September 4, 2014, in response to the Australian government's decision to join the US and other imperialist states in a new military intervention in Iraq.

* * *

1. The US wars on Iraq (1991 and 2003) killed hundreds of thousands and completely wrecked the country. The US promoted sectarian divisions in order to retain control. It created the conditions for the rise of the "Islamic State" and is thus responsible for the current crisis.

2. Australia was an enthusiastic junior partner in both US wars on Iraq and thus shares responsibility for the terrible suffering inflicted on the Iraqi people as well as the current situation.

3. There is a humanitarian crisis in Iraq and Syria due to the Islamic State’s ethnic cleansing and general terror campaign. Approximately 1.5 million refugees are living in camps in Rojava (the Kurdish liberated zone in northern Syria), Turkey and the Federal Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

a. Australia should give large-scale assistance to these refugees. This should be delivered by non-military means.

b. Australia should massively increase its refugee intake from Iraq and Syria.

c. No asylum seekers already here should be forcibly returned to Iraq or Syria.

Palestine: Hamas is leading a legitimate struggle for self-determination

Palestinians take part in a rally marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, in Gaza City on December 8, 2012. 

By Rupen Savoulian

September 4, 2014 -- Antipodean Atheist, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas is the abbreviation from the Arabic – has constituted the democratically elected government of the Palestinian territories since January 2006. It swept to power in that year, winning a majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament, amid recognition of the failure of the traditional secular nationalist Palestinian parties, in particular the Fatah party that had dominated the Palestinian leadership for decades.

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