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Middle East

Libya: Gaddafi kills his own people, but Western military intervention is no solution

[See also "Libya: How Gaddafi became a Western-backed dictator". For more coverage of Libya, click HERE.]

By Peter Boyle

March 7, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- The dictatorial regime of Muammar Gaddafi has escalated its violence against rebel forces seeking to bring it down. On March 6, opponents of the regime were reported to be in control of a number of cities, especially in Libya’s east. Al Jazeera said on March 4 that anti-government protests in the capital Tripoli had been met with tear gas by security forces. Opponents said Az Zawiyah, a town just 40 kilometres from Tripoli that is home to an oil refinery, was mostly under rebel control.

Sudan: Urgent call for action on behalf of detained and tortured protesters

The following is a letter template that human rights and democracy activists in Sudan are asking people around the world to use as a basis of a protest letter to be send to the government of Sudan and to Sudanese embassies in their countries. Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to do so. For more information, see also "Sudan: Northern regime tightens grip as protests flare".

* * * 

Dear honourable sir/madam

Re: Sudanese students, youths and journalists beaten, abducted, imprisoned and tortured in Sudan for participating in political activities and responding to a call for demonstrations across Sudan on January 30, 2011.

Canada: How can we aid Libya’s freedom movement?

Libyan Canadian shouts down with Gaddafi slogans outside Calgary City Hall, February 22, 2011. Photo by Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald.

By John Riddell

February 28, 2011 -- Socialist Voice -- The brutal massacres of civilians in Libya at the order of the country’s dictator, Muammar Qaddafi, have shocked the world. His air force has carried out air strikes against unarmed civilians. On February 25, Qaddafi followers aimed murderous fire on anti-government protests in his last stronghold, Tripoli. The government declares its intention of reconquering the country in civil war.

What can those in Canada do to end the killings?

On February 26, the United Nations Security Council voted for sanctions against the Libyan regime, including an arms embargo and  the freezing of assets of Qaddafi and his family. These measures are hardly more than cosmetic, serving to polish up great-power credentials.

Tunisia: ‘It is a real revolutionary process’ -- interview with 14th January Front militant

Alhem Belhadj (right) speaking at a session of the French New Anti-Capitalist Party congress, February 11.

February 27, 2011 -- Alhem Belhadj is a Tunisian revolutionary socialist and member of the Ligue de la Gauche Ouvriers (Left Workers’ League). It is a part of the 14th January Front, which unites left-wing groups seeking to push Tunisia’s revolution forward by creating a new government free from members of the former ruling party, and supporters policies reversing neoliberalism.

Belhadj spoke with Green Left Weeklys Tony Iltis on February 12, at the congress of the New Anti-Capitalist Party in France, about the Tunisian revolution.

* * *

I think there is a real revolutionary process. Things are going very quickly.

There is a lot of change. Every day, there is some change and there is a big popular resistance.

Tunisia: `Revolution until victory!' Mass protests force prime minister to resign

By Andy Worthington

February 27, 2011 -- http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/ -- Six weeks after Tunisia’s long-serving dictator, Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, was forced to flee the country after the popular uprising that has inspired similar movements throughout the Middle East, Mohamed Ghannouchi, who was the head of the transitional government that took over from Ben Ali, has responded to the largest protests since the dictator’s fall — a weekend of violent protests that left five people dead — by tendering his resignation.

Ghannouchi, who was the prime minister under Ben Ali for 10 years, had struggled to convince a significant number of the Tunisian people that he represented a break with the old regime — hence the protests at the weekend.

First Egypt, next Venezuela? The real threat to democracy in Venezuela comes from Washington

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is a hero in the Arab world. Lebanese and Palestinian students carry a picture of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez as they protest Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip, in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, January 12, 2009.

"The Arab revolt represents both an 'economic revolt' and a 'democratic, nationalist and anti-colonial revolution', Santiago Alba Rico and Alma Allende said, that 'provides the socialist left and pan-Arabists in the region with an unexpected opportunity'. They said: 'the Arab people, who have returned to the world stage, need the support of their Latin American brothers'."

By Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes

Interview with protest organiser: 'Days of rage' spread to Iraq, shake US puppet regime

Protesters chant anti-Iraqi government slogans during a protest at Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq, on February 25, 2011. Thousands of demonstrators converged on central Baghdad as part of an anti-government rally inspired by uprisings across the Middle East and dubbed the "Day of Rage". Photo: Karim Kadim / AP.

By Tony Iltis

Australian socialists: `Stop the massacre in Libya! Power to the people!'

February 22, 2011 -- Solidarity rally in Sydney with the Libyan people in their struggle for democracy. Photo by Pip Hinman. See an article about this action here: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46782.

Statement by the Socialist Alliance (Australia) in solidarity with the people's uprisings in Libya and the Arab world

February 26, 2011 -- The Socialist Alliance extends its full solidarity to the people of Libya now being brutally repressed for demanding an end to the corrupt and unjust regime of dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

The Flame, February 2011 -- Green Left Weekly's Arabic-language supplement

February 19, 2011 -- With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly -- Australia's leading socialist newspaper -- publishes a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame covers news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. Editor-in-chief is Soubhi Iskander is a comrade who has endured years of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the repressive government in Sudan.

Libya: How Gaddafi became a Western-backed dictator

Italy' President Silvio Berlusconi and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

By Peter Boyle

Updated February 25, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- On February 22, Muammar Gaddafi was boasting on state TV that the Libyan people were with him and that he was the Libyan revolution, even while his dwindling army of special guards and hired mercenaries attempted to drown a popular revolution in blood.

Civilians were strafed and bombed from helicopters and planes. Snipers with high-powered rifles fired into unarmed crowds. Two pilots flew their fighter jets to Malta rather than bomb their own people and another two are reported to have crashed their jets rather than attack civilians. Sections of the armed forces, several diplomats and a couple of ministers have abandoned the regime and, at the time of the writing, the east of Libya was in the hands of popular revolutionary committees.

Malaysian socialists: `Stop brutal massacre in Libya NOW! Power to the people of the Arab world!


February 22, 2011 -- Solidarity rally in Sydney, Australia, with the Libyan people in their struggle for freedom and democracy. See article about this action here: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46782. Made with Slideshow Embed Tool.

Solidarity statement by the Socialist Party of Malaysia with the people's uprising in Libya and the rest of Arab world against authoritarian regimes

February 22, 2011 -- The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) condemns the brutal repression committed by Muammar al-Gaddafi’s regime against its people who revolt against injustices and corruptions.

Tunisia: 14th January Front proposes a National Congress for the Defence of the Revolution

By the 14th January Front*

February 14, 2011 -- The Tunisian revolution is the first of the 21st century. Its shock waves have shaken dictators and Western governments. But it has yet to overturn the ancien regime, and the neocolonial state apparatus that supports it. As an expression of popular unrest it has been fed by the anger of a diverse classes, at least until January 14, 2011. Since that date there has been increasing polarisation between the forces who back the revolution and those of the counterrevolution.

Those on the latter side are attempting to safeguard their constitution and its institutions. With the collaboration with liberal fringes of the democratic movement, Western agents, Islamists and the leftovers of the ancien regime, they are trying to stem the social movement. The provisional government of "national unity" is peopled by former members of Ben Ali’s power structure. This includes a prime minister (from 1999), Mohamed Ghannouchi, who was the architect of neoliberal policies dictated by imperialist financial bodies.

Bahrain and the Anglo-American oil frontier

US President George W. Bush greets vice-admiral Kevin Cosgriff, commander of US Naval Forces Central Command and the US 5th Fleet, at Naval Support Activity Bahrain in 2008. If the Bahrain monarchy falls, the country may cease to host the US Navy.

By Richard Seymour

February 19, 2011 -- Lenin's Tomb -- When, in 1968, the British government announced that Britain's formal protectorate in the Gulf would end in 1971, US planners were anxious and distraught. After Suez, the US had taken the lead in defending Anglo-American interests in the Middle East, but the structure of power in the "east of Suez" was still conserved by the old colonial power. The Persian Gulf states at that time supplied 30% of total oil resources. The reconstruction of Europe, and especially Japan, after WWII was driven by Gulf oil. And the US had no alternative structure of security elaborated for when Britain let go.

Bahrain: Appeals for protest and solidarity

Bahrain authorities open fire on protesters on February 18, 2011. The protesters are chanting "peacefully, peacefully".

The food price crisis and the Egyptian revolution

Since 2008, rising food prices have resulted in 40 mass riots throughout the globe and the United Nations reports that 37 countries currently face a food crisis.

By Billy Wharton

February 14, 2011 -- Socialist Webzine -- Hidden beneath the spectacular street battles that forced the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak out of office was a trigger that exists in dozens of countries throughout the world – food. Or, more specifically, the lack of it. While commentators focus on the corruption of the dictatorship, or the viral effects of the Tunisian moment or the something akin to an Arab political awakening, the inability of the Egyptian regime to ensure a steady flow of food staples should be viewed as a critical factor driving this seemingly spontaneous movement for freedom.

Egypt: Much more than a `Facebook revolution'

February 18, 2011 -- There has been much written in the mainstream and even the alternative media -- much of it superficial -- about the uprising in Egypt, and previously in Tunisia, being a "Facebook revolution" and/or a "Twitter revolution". Rare have been analyses that try explain the deeper dynamics at play beneath the surface, which put the effectiveness of cyberspace organising tools into a political and class context. Exceptions to this are two very useful articles that appeared in the February 12, 2011, edition of the India-based left-wing journal, Economic & Political Weekly, which map the interaction between the build-up to the uprising in Egypt and developments in the labour and working-class movements, and how they influenced the technology-savvy young men and women of Egypt.

* * *

Why Egypt's progressives win

By Paul Amar

Fidel Castro: The revolutionary rebellion in Egypt

By Fidel Castro Ruz

February 13, 2011 -- Several days ago I said that Hosni Mubarak’s fate was sealed and that not even Obama was able to save him.

The world knows about what is happening in the Middle East. News spreads at mind-boggling speed. Politicians barely have enough time to read the dispatches arriving hour after hour. Everyone is aware of the importance of what is happening over there.

After 18 days of tough struggle, the Egyptian people achieved an important objective: overthrowing the main United States ally in the heart of the Arab nations. Mubarak was oppressing and pillaging his own people, he was an enemy to the Palestinians and an accomplice of Israel, the sixth nuclear power on the planet, associated with the war-mongering NATO group.

Egypt’s uprising: Not just a question of ‘transition’

Anti-Mubarak graffitti on a tank.Tahrir Square. Photo by Hossam el-Hamalawy.

By Adam Hanieh

February 14, 2011 -- The Bullet -- The events of the last few weeks are one of those historical moments where the lessons of many decades can be telescoped into a few brief moments and seemingly minor occurrences can take on immense significance. The entry of millions of Egyptians onto the political stage has graphically illuminated the real processes that underlie the politics of the Middle East.

It has laid bare the longstanding complicity of the US and other world powers with the worst possible regimes, revealed the empty and hypocritical rhetoric of US President Barack Obama and other leaders, exposed the craven capitulation of all the Arab regimes, and demonstrated the real alliances between these regimes, Israel and the USA. These are political lessons that will long be remembered.

Lessons from Asia: The real 'Egyptian Revolution' is yet to come

Army soldiers remove makeshift shelters and clear Tahrir Square in Cairo February 13, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Yannis Behrakis.

By George Katsiaficas

February 14, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Around the world, people are enthusiastically greeting the “Egyptian Revolution” — the astonishing victory won by the historic 18-day people’s power uprising. As events move more rapidly than anyone can anticipate, not only has Hosni Mubarak been deposed, his corrupt parliament has been dismissed and new elections are promised within six months. People’s ecstasy in the aftermath of these great victories belies the fact that Mubarak’s authoritarian system remains intact — nay, strengthened — by the ascension of Omar Suleiman and the military to supreme power in Cairo. While the world hails the Egyptian “revolution”, a more sober assessment of recent events would question the accuracy of that label, at least for now.

South Korea’s June Uprising

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