Middle East and Caucasus

"Make America Great Again" means further war and instability

In the week just after mid-May, there were three particular events in the Middle East: the first was an incident involving an attack by US fighter jets on an Iranian-backed militia in south-eastern Syria fighting for Assad; a general election in Iran; and President Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia. The context for these events, which mean a deepening of tensions and greater military dangers for the world, is the tendency for centrifugal forces to increasingly dominate over relatively stable blocs and alliances, and how this takes place in a world where American power is increasingly resented and weakening.

British bombs will increase the chaos in the Middle East

The brutal slaying of 130 people in Paris on 13 November 2015 was used to justify the stepping up of British imperialism’s involvement in the living hell that is Syria. Even as the massacre was taking place the faction of the ruling class in Britain that for some years has wanted to escalate military action against Islamic State was calling for the overturning of the 2013 parliamentary vote against the extension of British involvement in this campaign from Iraq to Syria. This cold-blooded manipulation of the revulsion at the Paris slaughter was whipped up into an almost hysterical campaign which culminated in Labour’s Hilary Benn’s speech comparing the fight against the “fascists” of IS to the Second World War. The subsequent vote to bomb IS in Syria was presented as Britain once again taking up its rightful place in the world as a moral force.

Syria: Russian intervention escalates the chaos

Why are millions fleeing Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and other countries in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa? Because the population there is desperate to escape a permanent state of war, an infernal spiral of two, three, even five way conflicts between equally murderous antagonists, whether official government armies or terrorist gangs. Syria is the most ‘advanced’ expression of this descent into chaos.

A new front opened by Turkey and NATO will deepen imperialist chaos in the Middle East

After four years of the war in Syria and around a year since the establishment of the “Caliphate” of the Islamic State, a new turn by Turkey, fully backed by the forces of NAT0, sees it enter the war, dumping its previous jihadi allies and turning its fire on its Kurdish “partners in peace”. A number of questions are raised by Turkey’s new front: why this turn now by Turkey? What does this mean for the Turkish/Kurdish “peace process” and its two-year old “cease-fire”? Are there any elements within the forces of Kurdish nationalism that represent the interests of the working class in any way? Will this move lead to any sort of halt or alleviation in the descent of the whole region into instability and war?

Militarism and decomposition in the Middle East

“In Syria, every day brings new massacres. The country has joined the other theatres of imperialist war in the Middle East. After Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, now it’s Syria’s turn. Unfortunately this situation immediately poses a very disquieting question: what’s going to happen in the period ahead? The Middle East seems to be on the verge of a conflagration whose limits are difficult to foresee. Behind the war in Syria, it’s Iran which is the focus of imperialist fears and appetites, but all the main imperialist brigands are ready to defend their interests in the region. This is a part of the world that is on a war footing - a war that could have irrational and destructive consequences for the whole capitalist system”. Thus began the article “The threat of an imperialist cataclysm in the Middle East” in International Review number 149, written nearly three years ago to the day.  The situation, the militarisation and decomposition of the Middle East, has since worsened and the threat of a generalised conflagration has become even greater.

Iraq: The "Islamic State" is a product of the decomposing world order

At the beginning of 2014, the ICC wrote: “Today, the phased withdrawal of American and NATO troops from Iraq and Afghanistan is leaving those countries in an unprecedented state of instability, threatening to aggravate the instability of the whole region” (ICC 20th Congress International Situation Resolution, point 5). That is clearly the present situation and the present situation itself presages a further downward spiral of war and instability throughout the region and beyond. Our leaders have promised us years, a generation of war.

There will be no peace

The confrontation between Ukraine and Russia has grabbed the headlines recently but it can only be understood in a more global context in which we are seeing a constant sharpening of military tensions and open conflicts across a very considerable portion of the planet.

Syria: behind the diplomatic game, the impasse of a murderous system

The hideous spectacle of the children’s bodies exhibited after the chemical attacks of 21 August on the outskirts of Damascus didn’t truly move the world leaders, whose hypocritical reactions were dictated solely by their imperialist interests. The use of gas by both sides during the First World War, the unleashing of chemical agents in Vietnam and of the atomic bomb against Japan are all proof that our wonderful democracies have never hesitated to resort to the most murderous weapons. The declarations coming from the government offices are all the more hypocritical because the bombing and massacre of the Syrian population, the over 100,000 deaths since the war began, the flight of millions of refugees fleeing the carnage have, up till now, not been a ‘red line’ as far as the bourgeoisie is concerned. 

Syria: imperialist war or class solidarity!

Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Syria, the massacres keep spreading. The horror of capitalism accelerates, deaths pile up. A continuous carnage that no one seems able to stop. Capitalism in utter decomposition is dragging the world into generalised barbarism. The use of chemical weapons as in Syria today is unfortunately only one of the instruments of death among many others. But there is nothing inevitable about this perspective, which left to itself will result in the destruction of humanity. The world proletariat cannot remain indifferent in the face of all these wars and massacres. Only the proletariat, the revolutionary class of our epoch, can put an end to this nightmare. More than ever humanity is faced with one choice: communism or barbarism.

The war in Syria expresses the slow disintegration of capitalism

The war in Syria is an example of the decomposition and growing irrationality of capitalism as expressed through its capitalist war machines. We can trace this descent if we go back a couple of decades to the ‘Cold War’ period from 1945 to 1989. The two-bloc system, while threatening incidental nuclear annihilation, was, in a perverse way, the height of geo-military organisation and cooperation of capitalism. All the national states involved were subservient, willingly or unwillingly, to the aforementioned bloc leaders and to the interests of the bloc. This was the apogee of imperialist 'stability' even with the brutal carnage that it involved and the risks that it carried.

Chemical weapons in Syria: winding up the war rhetoric

The verbals around the question of the use of chemical weapons in Syria by the Assad regime and its possible consequences have been wound up by the western wing of the 'international community', i.e., Britain, America, France, followed by some of the Gulf States, Israel and the wings of the Syrian opposition. Last week, US Secretary for Defence, Chuck Hagel, said that Sarin had been used in some attacks in Syria by the regime.

Syria descends into imperialist hell

Just how quickly a modern capitalist state can descend into a devastating imperialist hell-hole is demonstrated by the war in Syria. We horror we view the growing death and mutilation of men, women, children, endless atrocities and the destruction of whole areas on televised reports; these are followed by the thoughts of 'experts', the think-tanks that inform the governments, then the nauseating speeches and policy decisions of politicians; and not only is there no end to all this carnage and the hypocrisy surrounding it, but it threatens to get worse.

Tunisia, Egypt: the dead end of the ‘Arab revolution’

With the so-called ‘Arab revolutions’ celebrating their second anniversary, the riots and mass demonstrations of the last few months and weeks in Egypt and Tunisia are a reminder that despite the departure of the dictators Ben Ali and Mubarak, nothing has been resolved. On the contrary, the economic situation has got worse, bringing growing unemployment, poverty and attacks on the working class. Meanwhile the reigning authoritarianism, the violence and repression being handed out to the demonstrators, is no different from what went on before.

Inter-imperialist war ravages Syria

It’s always difficult - and unwise - to make precise predictions about the international situation, particularly as imperialist tensions and conflicts take on a more irrational and chaotic character. However, we can say with some certainty that, whatever the specifics of events in Syria, whether the regime falls or not, there will be more fighting, more bloodshed and the greater likelihood of the war worsening in Syria itself and extending beyond its borders.

Imperialist bloodletting worsens in Middle East

If there were suspicions over the ‘al-Qaida’ bomb in Damascus there was little doubt about who was responsible for the bomb that killed an Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran on 11 January. While the Iranian state inevitably blamed the CIA, experienced observers and those with sources in the Israeli state identified Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, as being behind the attack. It is the fourth murder of an Iranian nuclear scientist in the last two years.

Western intervention in Libya: a new militaristic hell

Since March 19th, there has been no let- up in the military intervention in Libya under the dual banner of the UN and NATO. But we needn’t worry: the last G8 summit has reaffirmed that the members of the coalition, putting their differences to one side, are 'determined to finish the job', having called on the Libyan leader to relinquish power because he has 'lost all legitimacy'.

Understanding the period - class analysis and events in the Arab world

We are publishing here an analytical text from the ICC’s section in Turkey on the current wave of revolts and protests in North Africa and the Middle East. The text aims to provide a general overview of these movements, as did the text ‘What is happening in the Middle East?’. The text by the Turkish comrades offers a somewhat different analysis on certain points, particularly regarding the level attained by the class struggle in Egypt, and whether or not the current inter-bourgeois ‘civil war’ in Libya was preceded by a form of social revolt from below.  Since the situation is still very fluid and is still raising a lot of questions, it is all the more important to develop the discussion about the significance and perspectives contained in these events.

Egypt: The class struggle takes centre stage

The tide of rebellion in North Africa and the Middle East shows no sign of abating. The latest developments: demonstrations and clashes with the police in the Libyan city of Benghazi following the arrest of a lawyer involved in a campaign demanding an investigation into the brutal massacre of hundreds of prisoners after a protest in 1996. Qaddafi’s regime again displays its ruthless brutality – there are reports of snipers and helicopters firing into crowds, killing many; in Bahrain, thousands of demonstrators occupy the Pearl Roundabout in Manama, hoping to emulate the occupation of Tahrir Square. They raise slogans against sectarian divisions (“No Shia, no Sunni, only Bahraini”) and against self-appointed leaders (“We have no leaders”). At the time of writing, riot police have now cleared the area with considerable violence – many demonstrators have been injured and some killed. In Iraq, there have been new demonstrations against the price of necessities and the lack of electricity. 

Revolts in Egypt and the Arab states: The spectre of the development of the class struggle

At the time of writing, the social situation in Egypt remains explosive. Millions of people have been on the streets, braving the curfew, the state regime and its bloody repression. At the same time the social movement in Tunisia has not gone away: the flight of Ben Ali, the government reshuffle and the promise of elections has not succeeded in damping down the deep anger of the population. In Jordan thousands of demonstrators have expressed their discontent with growing poverty. In Algeria the protests seems to have been stifled but there is a powerful international black-out and it seems that there are still struggles going on in Kabylia.

Antisemitism, Islamophobia: products of a rotting society

The rise of Judaeophobia and Islamophobia are both expressions of the extreme putrefaction of capitalist society and its real ‘values'. But they cannot be opposed by the liberal wing of capitalism, which aligns itself with the democratic state and its cynical use of anti-Islamic prejudices, nor by the pseudo-revolutionary left which has chosen sides in the imperialist conflicts in the Middle East.

Gaza – the carnage continues

Gaza is still being bombed and the Hamas rockets are still being fired, showing that nothing has been solved by this brutal, one-sided war: over 1300 dead, mostly civilians and foot-soldiers, thousands more wounded and traumatised; over 20,000 houses partly or totally destroyed.

Lebanon, Syria, Iran: New zones of imperialist conflict

With the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, an old focus of imperialist conflict has been revived in the Middle East. This new episode in the capitalist barbarism spreading across the world and particularly the Middle East, where we are seeing an endless spiral of terrorist atrocities, reminds us once again that all the bourgeoisie’s speeches about peace are just cynical lies.

The real motivations for the US offensive

The anti-terrorist crusade that the American ruling class has been carrying out for the past 6 months has been a considerable success.

The USA has installed its military headquarters at the heart of a new strategic region, Central Asia, not only by directly occupying the former military bases of the former USSR republics of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kirghizstan, but also, more recently, by sending US military advisers to Georgia. This country, still run by Gorbachev’s former minister Shevardnaze, is thus totally outside of Russia’s control at the precise moment when Russia had envisaged intervening in Georgia, which has been accused of acting as a base for ‘Chechen terrorists’. We are also beginning to see America’s attempts to take control of Yemen, which occupies a key position between the African and Asian continents via the Gulf of Aden which links the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean.


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