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Cuba to stand by its communist principles, Castro says; ‘US got isolated trying to isolate Cuba’ -- Rene Gonzalez
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.
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.
For more on Syria, click HERE.
By Michael Karadjis
For more on Burkina Faso, click HERE.
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.
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.
"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.
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, translated by Gaither Stewart, notes by Renfrey Clarke
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.
The mass protests demanding democratic election of Hong Kong's chief executive are not the creation of US agencies.
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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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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.
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.
By Tony Iltis
September 7, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, a shorter version of this article first appeared at Green Left Weekly -- In a speech at the Council of Clermont on November 27, 1095, Pope Urban II used allegations of the persecution of Christians in the Holy Land to launch a series of military adventures by the warrior aristocracies of feudal Christian western Europe against the Muslim civilisations of the Middle East.
The ensuing two centuries of religious wars, or Crusades, were characterised by land-grabbing, plunder and the massacre of Muslims, Jews and non-Catholic Christians.
Listening to the Australian parliament on September 1 debating a motion on human rights in Iraq, it was difficult not to be reminded of Pope Urban’s speech. Starting with opposition Australian Labor Party shadow treasurer Chris Bowen, who moved the motion, six politicians got up and gave passionate accounts of the persecution Christians were suffering at the hands of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.
They called for "Australia" to join with the “international community” in taking action to rescue them.
Kurdish fighters after liberating Maxmur.
[See Dave Holme’s earlier report, “Kurds mobilise to fight ‘Islamic State’ over vast front”. For more on the struggle of the Kurdish people, click HERE.]
By Dave Holmes
September 2, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Across northern Syria and Iraq, Kurdish forces are locked in fierce battles with the murderous “Islamic State” (IS) armed force. Whether directly or indirectly, the whole Kurdish people is being drawn into this struggle.
In late August the Syrian Kurdish resistance forces announced they had defeated an IS push around the town of Jazaa in north-eastern Syria, close to the Iraq border. Hundreds of IS fighters were killed in the August 19-31 battles.
The IS attempted to cut off the YPG-YPJ (People’s Defence Units-Women’s Defence Units — the military arm of Rojava, the Kurdish liberated area in northern Syria) from their forces over the border in Shengal (Arabic name: Sinjar). The IS wants to establish a corridor linking Mosul and its possessions in Iraq with Al-Raqqa, its main stronghold in Syria.
Market in Luhansk hit by Ukraine government shelling, August 2014.
The following is an edited version of a talk by Roger Annis on August 22, 2014, that was delivered to a session of the Peoples Social Forum that took place in Ottawa from August 21 to 25. Also on the panel was David Mandel, a professor of political science in Montreal and expert in the history of the working class movements in Russia and Ukraine. You can read Mandel's talk, titled "Understanding the civil war in Ukraine", HERE.
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has published various left viewpoints on the political situation in Ukraine. These do not necessarily represent the views of the publishers.
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Kurdish fighters resist ISIS.
By Tony Iltis
August 24, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, a shorter version of this article first appeared in Green Left Weekly -- Since August 8, for the first time since officially ending its occupation at the end of 2011, the United States has been carrying out air strikes in Iraq.
The strikes were aimed at the extremely violent multinational terrorist group that was until recently known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but which renamed itself simply the "Islamic State" on June 29, to reflect that its ambitions are global. The group originally emerged in the aftermath of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
International gangs of Salafi Sunni Muslim fundamentalists have been a feature of world politics since the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1989. To fight the Soviet occupation, the CIA, working with Saudi Arabia, had recruited a Salafi force from all over the world but having achieved this cut them loose. International groups of Salafi fighters began appearing wherever there was large-scale armed conflict in the Islamic world, while the mainly Saudi leadership of the network (prosaically named “the Base”, or Al Qaeda) engaged in escalating attacks against their former sponsor, the US, culminating in the 9/11 attacks.
Massive destruction of Gaza by Israel has left Palestinians devastated.
By Santiago Alba Rico, translated for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Art Young
August 14, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, from Spanish at Cuartopoder.es -- Let’s imagine a Syrian who was dreaming of enjoying a little bit of democracy, a little bit of freedom, a little bit of social justice: in short, of enjoying a little human dignity. Which forces, and how many of them, would he or she have to struggle against?
First, against a dynastic dictatorship that, for more than 40 years, has repressed, impoverished and murdered its own people and that, for the last three years, has not hesitated to resort to torture, extrajudicial executions, aerial bombardment and even chemical weapons, not to mention spreading sectarian poison and the most abject propaganda.