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Middle East

The decline of US power: Can Russia, China, India or Europe fill the gap? Can people's power?

 

 

August 16, 2008, Radio New Internationalist

The new superpowers

Commentators claim that as a superpower, the US is in decline. Is this the case?

Palestine in the Middle East: Opposing neoliberalism and US power

By Adam Hanieh

July 15, 2008 -- Over the last six months, the Palestinian economy has been radically transformed under a new plan drawn up by the Palestinian Authority (PA) called the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (PRDP). Developed in close collaboration with institutions such as the World Bank and the British Department for International Development (DFID), the PRDP is currently being implemented in the West Bank where the Abu Mazen-led PA has effective control. It embraces the fundamental precepts of neoliberalism: a private sector-driven economic strategy in which the aim is to attract foreign investment and reduce public spending to a minimum.

Egypt: Workers impose a new agenda

By Asma Agbarieh-Zahalka

The road from the airport to the hotel shows the story: modern buildings partly conceal dilapidated, crowded structures that seem on the verge of collapse. Ancient jalopies chug along as if by inertia, while the latest luxury models zip past them. Huge billboards advertise multinational corporations. All this goes side by side with centuries-old mosques of breathtaking beauty, witnesses to a time when Egypt was the centre of Islamic culture — not just another third-world country offering the world cheap labour for exploitation. This was my first encounter with Cairo. Love at first sight.

I wasn't there as a tourist. What brought me to Egypt with my colleague, Samia Nassar, was the wave of strikes which, since December 2006, has been shaking the regime of Hosni Mubarak. In 2007 there were 580 strikes, demonstrations and protests, involving between 300,000 and 500,000 workers. The number for 2008 is likely to be more than twice that, reflecting enormous hikes in food prices.

ISRAEL: Washington backs Middle East's `nuclear outlaw'

Norm Dixon

 

March 24, 2004 -- “Every civilised nation has a stake in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction... We’re determined to confront those threats at the source”, US President George Bush declared in a February 11 speech.

“We will stop these weapons from being acquired or built. We’ll block them from being transferred. We’ll prevent them from ever being used. One source of these weapons is dangerous and secretive regimes that build weapons of mass destruction to intimidate their neighbours and force their influence upon the world.”

Arguing for combative new “arms control” measures that would further entrench the West’s control over nuclear weapons, Bush casually repeated the now thoroughly exposed lie that the US-led war against Iraq was launched because Baghdad “refused to disarm or account for ... illegal weapons and programs”.

Bush used the speech to signal that Iran remains in Washington’s gun-sights, alleging that Tehran “is unwilling to abandon a uranium enrichment program capable of producing material for nuclear weapons”. Bush also demanded that North Korea “completely, verifiably and irreversibly dismantle its nuclear programs”.

'Democracy promotion' and neoliberalism in the Middle East

By Adam Hanieh
All the eyes of the world are on Iraq … if there is not a successful transformation there, that will definitely bolster the arguments of all those people who are already marching on the streets against globalization, against the values of a free society, a market society and the possibility of creating capital.”—Hernando de Soto, June 2003.1
Two dramatic structural shifts have taken place across the Middle East over the past two decades. First, since the mid-1980s, most countries have made far-reaching changes in their economic policies. Under the stewardship of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (imf), governments have embraced privatisation, dismantling of state-owned industries, an end to guaranteed public employment, reductions in tariffs and taxes and an opening to foreign capital. The basic precepts of neo-liberalism are common to the economic policies of virtually all states in the area.
At the same time, the rapid succession of elections in Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt and Palestine is indicative of a political transformation occurring across the region. Alongside the growing pressures from below for democratisation, commentary from the Bush administration has praised the supposed “democratic winds” sweeping the Middle East region (with the pointed exception of Hamas’ recent victory in elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council).

Palestine and Israel after the elections

By Adam Hanieh

Introduction

To many the Israeli elections in May represented a battle between those who supported peace and those opposed to it. Election advertisements by incumbent Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu re-ran scenes of bombings in Jerusalem, to portray the message that Israelis are safe only under the leadership of the right-wing Likud party. The Labour Party, under Ehud Barak, responded with the image of Barak as ``Israel's most decorated soldier''.

In the West Bank, however, the situation continued as normal throughout the election period. The average Palestinian on the street paid little attention to what was going on just a few kilometres to the east. In contrast, the Palestinian leadership urged Palestinians inside Israel to ``vote for peace'', a thinly veiled call for a vote for Barak.

This gap between the street and the leadership is perhaps the most striking feature of life in Palestine today. The street cares little for what happens on an official level, while on a daily basis land is confiscated, houses are demolished, and Palestinians are imprisoned and tortured.

US empire after Iraq: analysis and perspectives

By Malik Miah, Barry Sheppard and Caroline Lund

The authors are longtime socialist activists in the United States and wrote "The Bush Doctrine" in issue 22. Miah is a member of the editorial board of Links; Sheppard and Lund are contributing editors.

CONTENTS

1. What US imperialism accomplished in the war

2. Obstacles for imperialism revealed by the war

3. Tasks of revolutionary socialists

"We will be called imperialists regardless, so we might as well be competent imperialists." (Stephen Peter Rosen, professor of strategic studies at Harvard University, Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2003.)

"It's time for the US to behave more like an occupying power." ("The Bremer Regency", editorial, Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2003.)

"The notion that you can't export democracy through the barrel of a gun is simply wrong. We did it in Germany, Italy, Japan and elsewhere." (Max Boot, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, as quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle, May 4, 2003.)

1. What US imperialism accomplished in the war

The most powerful military power humanity has ever seen is beating its chest and proclaiming to the world: "Do what we say or face the consequences".

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