Donate to Links


Click on Links masthead to clear previous query from search box

GLW Radio on 3CR



Recent comments



Syndicate

Syndicate content

Middle East

Libya's continuing struggle for democracy

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”.[1]

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.[2]

This led to more protests. The Tripoli local council called a general strike, initially intended to last three days.[3]

Adam Hanieh on his new book: 'Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East'

Adam Hanieh interviewed by Jadaliyya

January 8, 2014

Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East
By Adam Hanieh
Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2013

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

Jadaliyya: What made you write this book and what are its key themes?

Adam Hanieh: The book was written over the course of 2011 and 2012 and was intended as a contribution to some of the debates that emerged in these first years of the Arab uprisings.

I did not want to write another narrative account of the uprisings themselves. This was partly because these were events still unfolding and shifting rapidly from day to day; it was also because there had already been several very useful books published along these lines, including, of course, Jadaliyya’s The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings.

Mike Marqusee: 'If not now, when?' On BDS and 'singling out' Israel's apartheid

By Mike Marqusee

January 4, 2014 -- http://www.mikemarqusee.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- This is an edited version of a letter I've just sent to a relative in the United States who's been trying to figure out the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) issue in the wake of the recent onslaught against the American Studies Association's decision to support the academic boycott of apartheid Israel.

* * *

The “singling out” objection seems to me quite perverse. It's not possible to campaign against any injustice anywhere without “singling it out”. When people campaigned and boycotted South Africa, they were “singling it out” -- and that accusation was in fact frequently made by apologists for South Africa. “What about the black dictatorships in Africa?”, they would say. This was always an evasive manoeuvre, a poor excuse for allowing gross racial oppression to continue unhindered. Many of those who raise this objection now in relation to Israel would have or indeed did dismiss it when it was raised in relation to South Africa.

Egyptian revolutionary socialist: ‘We are facing a counterrevolution’

Rana Nessim and Rosemary Bechler interviewed Sameh Naguib (pictured above), a leading member of the Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt, on October 24, 2013. The interview was published on the openDemocracy website on November 8. Nessim is associate editor for openDemocracy's Arab Awakening page. Bechler is editor of openDemocracy. Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has added subheads and abridged the interview for reasons of space. The full text is available at HERE.

More on Egypt HERE.

* * *

Rosemary Bechler: Well a lot has happened since the last time we met, Sameh. How have you been and what is life like for the Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt?

United States, Iran, Russia, Syria and the geopolitical shift: Anything for the region’s oppressed?

Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov (right) and US Secretary of State John Kerry during a May 2013 joint press conference in Moscow on "finding ... common ground" on the conflict in Syria.

Click HERE for more on Syria.

By Michael Karadjis

December 19, 2013 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- In recent weeks and months, a pronounced geopolitical shift in US policy related to the Middle East has been widely discussed. This shift consists mainly of the US-Russia deal with Syria’s Assad regime to get rid of its chemical arsenal, in exchange for the US dropping its brief threat of air strikes over Assad’s chemical attack on August 21; and the high-level US-Iran negotiations over its nuclear arsenal, which led to a new agreement, involving a slight reduction on imperialist sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iranian concessions on its civilian nuclear program.

Egypt's revolution deepens in the face of state repression

Haitham Mohamedain (pictured above) is a prominent member of the Egyptian organisation the Revolutionary Socialists and a leading activist.

More on Egypt HERE.

* * *

By Haitham Mohamedain

December 6, 2013 -- Socialist Worker (UK) -- The revolutionary groups that called for, organised and participated in the Revolution of 25 January with the Egyptian masses are still mobilised. They are keeping alive the slogans of the revolution and calling for the realisation of its goals of bread, freedom and social justice.

They have fought against Hosni Mubarak’s regime, and the Military Council, so that every month of the year now brings with it the memories of revolutionary battles and mass uprisings.

The latest of these uprisings came on June 30 this year. The uprising would have happened whether the revolutionary forces took part or not, as the presidency of the dictator Mohamed Mursi had witnessed the greatest mass protests in the world.

Egypt’s military rulers help imprison Palestinians of Gaza

A Palestinian (right) in Rafah on the Gaza-Egypt border talks to an Egyptian soldier.

By Rupen Savoulian

October 3, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Antipodean Athiest -- The online magazine Common Dreams carried the following incisive article about the situation on Egypt’s contribution to the ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip: "Egypt joins Israel as Gaza’s jailer".

The article, co-authored by Medea Benjamin and Pam Bailey, focuses on how, in the past, Israel was the specific target of condemnation by human rights and activist groups for its blockade of Gaza. While the Israeli state still receives its fair share of criticism for its role in economically strangling Gaza and inflicting suffering on the Palestinians, the Egyptian militarist dictatorship should also by the target of stinging criticism. The Egyptian generals have not only continued to block off Gaza, the critical lifeline for the Palestinians through Rafah, previously open to humanitarian aid for the Palestinians, will also be restricted by the Egyptian military.

The article quotes from the Washington Post:

Syria: War threat, the US-Russia deal and some left delusions

Click HERE for more on Syria.

By Michael Karadjis

September 25, 2013 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- For two and a half years, the Bashar Assad regime has waged a barbaric war against the Syrian populace, using long-range missiles, fighter aircraft, helicopter gunships, tanks, artillery, cluster bombs and almost certainly chemical weapons, not to forget everyday machine gunning and torture, in a bid to crush the heroic uprising of Syria’s “wretched of the earth”, the peasants and urban poor, against his gangster-capitalist regime.

(Updated Sept. 24) Syria: West's hypocritical war drive slowed

By Barry Sheppard

September 15, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- The proposal by Russia, accepted by the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, for Syria’s chemical weapons to be turned over to an international authority (presumably the United Nations) for destruction, has temporarily put off Washington’s plans for war against Syria.

US President Barack Obama has postponed asking US Congress to approve of his plans to attack Syria. This represents a political defeat for the war drive.

Even if Washington scuttles the proposed agreement and goes ahead with war, it will do so with even less support at home and abroad than it had before the Russian proposal.

The main force blocking the proposed attack has been the opposition of the world's people especially in the United States.

In spite of huge pressure, in the face of mass opposition of their own citizens, few countries have backed bombing Syria. Only one country has fully said it would take part militarily ― Saudi Arabia, a well-known bastion of liberal democracy and human rights.

Syria: Pakistan socialists condemn the impending US-led bombing

[For more left statements on the crisis in Syria, and more coverage, click HERE.]

September 6, 2013 -- Statement by the Awami Workers Party, Pakistan

We condemn the impending us bombing of Syria and the hypocrisy of the Pakistani government -- including the armed forces -- which claim to be against such aggression but themselves pander to the dictates of imperialist powers. We similarly reject the claims of right-wing parties that are parading themselves as committed anti-imperialists, both in Pakistan and around the Muslim world. In fact such parties have enjoyed a consensual relationship with imperialist powers and ruling classes in Muslim countries to the detriment of the left.

It is now a well-established fact that the Americans and NATO have been patronising the worst jihadi elements in Syria to destabilise the Assad regime, and have now resolved to follow this up with air strikes across that country. Such antics prove that imperialist powers, no matter what rhetoric they employ, are committed only to their narrow geostrategic interests and will ally with whomever will serve these interests. Only in a world free from imperialism in all its forms can there be substantive democracy and freedom from oppression and want.

Stop the US-led war on Syria! (Updated Sept. 1)

[Below are statements from the left in Asia, from Australia, Malaysia and the Philippines.]

Statement by the Socialist Alliance (Australia)

August 28, 2013 -- Socialist Alliance -- The Socialist Alliance condemns the threatened US-led Western military assault on Syria. We call on the Australian government to reject this latest imperial aggression, to extract itself from its military alliance with the US and end its involvement in all aggressive multinational military operations.

The Socialist Alliance supports the Syrian people’s democratic uprising against the tyranny of the Bashar al-Assad regime but we reject the interventions of the US and its allies in Syria. The Syrian people should have the right to decide their own future.

The horrendous chemical weapons attack on civilians is being used as the justification for this latest intervention. The use of chemical weapons is a heinous war crime and whoever uses it should be brought to account.

Middle Eastern left: 'We stand behind the Syrian people’s revolution! No to foreign intervention!'

Statement by the Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt), Revolutionary Left Current (Syria), Union of Communists (Iraq), Al-Mounadil-a (Morocco), Socialist Forum (Lebanon)

August 31, 2013 -- Syria Freedom Forever -- Over 150,000 were killed, hundreds of thousands injured and disabled, millions of people displaced inside and outside Syria. Cities, villages, and neighborhoods were destroyed fully or partially, using all sorts of weapons, including warplanes, scud missiles, bombs, and tanks, all paid for by the sweat and blood of the Syrian people. This was under the pretext of defending the homeland and achieving military balance with Israel (whose occupation of Syrian land is, in fact, being protected by the Syrian regime, which failed to reply to any of its continuing aggressions).

Yet, despite the enormous losses mentioned above, befalling all Syrians, and the calamity inflicted on them, no international organization or major country – or a lesser one – felt the need to provide practical solidarity or support the Syrians in their struggle for their most basic rights, human dignity, and social justice.

Estamos con la revolución popular Siria, no a la intervención extranjera

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3498]

Declaración de: Socialistas Revolucionarios (Egipto) - Corriente de Izquierda Revolucionaria (Siria) - Unión de Comunistas (Iraq) -  Al-Mounadil-a (Marruecos) - Foro Socialista (Líbano)

Britain: Solidarity with the people of Syria

Joint statement supported by British socialist organisations, the International Socialist Network, Socialist Resistance, Workers Power and the Anticapitalist Initiative

August 30, 2013 -- The defeat of the government pro-war resolution in parliament [the British House of Commons] is important. Even though the Labour Party opposition voted against the Tory motion, it too had submitted a pro-war resolution, albeit calling for a pause until after the report from the UN weapons inspectors. That resolution was also defeated. These votes reflect the anti-war mood in Britain. But as far as the USA is concerned, the threat of war is still on the agenda possibly using bases in Britain.

The regime of Bashar al-Assad is every day carrying out more massacres of increasing cruelty against the people of Syria, whether it be the bombing of civilian areas or the use of chemical weapons. Two years into the uprising against the dictatorship, over 100,000 have died, 2 million are refugees and many more are “displaced” out of a population of just 20 million. This tragedy fills us with horror and rage.

We continue to extend our solidarity to the movement for democracy in Syria. We pay tribute to all those who have lost their lives in the fight against the brutal dictatorship and to all those who are continuing to resist.

Roundtable on Syria; Michael Karadjis on arming the anti-Assad rebels

Victims of the alleged August 21 chemical weapons attack.

August 29, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Below is a statement introducing an online symposium on Syria organised by the US Campaign for Peace and Democracy (CPD). Participants expressed a variety of views regarding what is going on in Syria, but four of the seven – Michael Karadjis, Assaf Kfoury, Salameh Kaileh and Joseph Dahler – were in agreement that the situation in Syria remains fundamentally a people’s revolution against a repressive capitalist dictatorship.

These contributions were written before the dramatic events over the last week, notably the chemical weapon attacks on the Syrian-rebel controlled, working-class East Ghouta suburbs of Damascus, and the ensuing threat of US and NATO bombardment of Syria. Nevertheless, even at that time, all participants were opposed to all forms of direct imperialist intervention in Syria, while different views were expressed about the issue of the anti-Assad forces being able to receive arms from outside Syria.

Latin America, Cuba: Against the attack on the Syrian people, no more deaths and lies

Cuba: Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Syria

Havana, August 28, 2013 -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba issued the following statement regarding the growing threats against Syria. The recent pronouncements of the US government and several NATO allies urging military action in Syria, ignoring the efforts of some states to reach a political solution to the conflict that is bleeding that Arab nation are alarming.

It is necessary to remember that those who today advocate military action against Syria are the same that launched bloody wars without a mandate from the Security Council of the United Nations, under the deliberate lie about the existence of weapons of mass destruction or the pretext of civil protection, which caused substantial deaths of innocent people including children, who they qualify as "collateral damage".

There is a call to attack Syria, just as his government has authorised the UN Research Mission into the alleged use of chemical weapons in the country and this has begun work on the ground.

Cuba condemns any use of chemical and other weapons of mass destruction and is firmly committed to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction and with the strict compliance of its provisions.

The available information on the crisis in Syria is fragmented, imprecise and subject to frequent manipulation.

European left statements against the threat of US-led war on Syria (updated Sept. 3)

Below are a number of statements (or news reports of statements) by European left parties on the crisis in Syria. More will be posted (or expanded) as they come to hand.They include Die Linke (Germany), Syriza (Greece), the Party of the European Left and the New Anti-Capitalist Party (France).

Die Linke: German government's support for war coalition is insanity

August 27, 2013 -- Die Linke -- "A military strike of the US threatens to escalate the conflict in Syria to become an international war“, warns Christine Buchholz, member of the executive board of the party Die Linke.

The attack of the US army using cruise missiles threatens to cause a wildfire, further aggravating the suffering of the Syrian population. With the assault the US government does not help the people in Syria but will solely demonstrate its military supremacy in the region.

Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle said yesterday that Germany "in close coordination with its allies" will be among those „that consider consequences to be appropriate. "This boils down to nothing else but support of impending military assaults. The support of an evolving US-led war coalition is insanity".

Egypt: Workers' hopes dashed after military coup

"The Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions supports the demands of the people's revolution and calls for a general strike of Egyptian workers", reads a banner at an anti-Mubarak demonstration in Tahrir Square. Photo by Hossam el-Hamalawy.

By Joel Beinin

August 23, 2013 -- Middle East Research and Information Project -- The independent labour movement that has flourished in Egypt since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak enthusiastically supported the Tamarrud (Rebel) campaign for the huge June 30 demonstrations asserting a popular vote of no confidence in President Mohammad Morsi.

The Center for Trade Union and Workers Services (CTUWS), Egypt’s most experienced (and during the 1990s only) labour-oriented NGO, claims to have gathered 200,000 signatures for the Tamarrud petition through its six regional offices. Three independent trade union organisations -- the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU), the Egyptian Democratic Labor Congress (EDLC) and the Permanent Congress of Alexandria Workers (PCAW) -- also collected signatures and monitored workers’ participation in the demonstrations.

John Riddell on Egypt: Socialists need to rethink the military takeover

By John Riddell

August 20, 2013 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com -- The military massacres in Egypt are “part of a plan to liquidate the Egyptian Revolution and restore the military-police state of the Mubarak regime”, say the Revolutionary Socialists (RS) of Egypt in an August 15 statement. Their present analysis contrasts sharply with their previous positive appraisal the July 3 military coup that ousted Egypt’s elected government.

The RS, who enjoy a wide reputation as a revolutionary voice in the Egyptian struggle, are reconsidering the meaning of this experience. Socialists abroad should be rethinking it as well.

In the rich and varied world discussion of these events, contributions in the Green Left Weekly newsgroup (Australia) provide useful starting points for reflection, as do the reactions of several ALBA governments.

The army/police massacre is “a bloody dress rehearsal for the liquidation of the Egyptian Revolution”, the RS now states. “It aims to break the revolutionary will of all Egyptians who are claiming their rights, whether workers, poor, or revolutionary youth, by creating a state of terror.”

Revolutionary Socialists: Letter to Egyptian revolutionaries

Supporters of toppled President Mohamed Morsi rally in Cairo (Gregg Carlstrom)

Supporters of toppled President Mohamed Morsi rally in Cairo (Gregg Carlstrom).

Statement by the Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt)

August 19, 2013 -- Socialist Worker -- Terrible massacres and violent repression, a huge escalation in attacks on Egyptian Christians and churches, and the consolidation of the repressive military state continue apace. These are the momentous political developments we have experienced during the last few weeks.

They pose enormous challenges to the revolution, but they also contain opportunities to prepare for the coming waves of the revolution, which the Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt can use effectively to build the movement, provided that we develop tactics capable of dealing with changing circumstances.

Revolution or military coup?

Syndicate content

Powered by Drupal - Design by Artinet