Middle East

The war drums in Washington are beating their macabre tune out loud, announcing an imminent US attack on Syria. In the UK, the faithful squire, Cameron, is willingly echoing the call. Parliament is expected to back the military option in an emergency meeting convened for Thursday, August 29th. Direct imperialist intervention marks a fundamental change in the situation in Syria after the spiralling sectarian civil war had wiped away the revolutionary potential of the anti-regime protests sparked in January 2011 by the events of the Arab spring.

The Egyptian security forces have bloodily crushed and dismantled the protest camps of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) supporters, set up in Al-Nahda Square and Raba'a al-Adawiyya in Cairo as focal points to regroup and mobilise their forces after the overthrow of Morsi. This marks yet another dramatic change in the situation facing the Egyptian revolution.

The overthrow of Muhammad Morsi has opened up a new and turbulent period in the Egyptian Revolution. The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) still has a base in Egyptian society, among the petty bourgeoisie, the most backward and ignorant layers of the peasantry and the lumpenproletariat. It is determined to cling to power, but the multimillion masses that took to the streets to overthrow them are equally determined that they shall not return. The future of the Egyptian Revolution will be determined by the outcome of this struggle.

Morsi has fallen. The magnificent movement of the masses has once more shown to the entire world the authentic face of the Egyptian people. It shows that the Revolution, which many even on the Left believed to have stalled, still possesses immense social reserves.

After four days of mass revolutionary mobilisations by the Egyptian people and the beginning of a nationwide general strike, finally president Morsi was removed from power. What we witnessed yesterday is yet another example of the power of the masses of workers and youth, peasants and the poor when they start to move.

As we write these lines hundreds of thousands of protesters are already on the move in Egypt with one clear goal in their minds: to remove Morsi from office. The Tamarod movement which organised the huge rallies on Sunday June 30 has called for the Ittihadiya and Qubba presidential palaces and the regional governorates to be surrounded by the people by 5 pm and announced that they will issue a statement from the Qubba palace at 7.30 pm. This is the language of insurrection.

Yet again the people of Egypt have risen against dictatorship, poverty and corruption. Yesterday, June 30, millions of people flooded the streets in all sizeable towns and cities stretching from the rural areas of Upper Egypt through the industrial heartland of the Nile Delta and all the way to the areas in the north. Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, once praised by the West as saviours of Egyptian capitalism, have been completely disarmed by the revolution. His destiny is now in the hands of the movement which has every opportunity to sweep him aside.

Two days of clashes and street barricades followed the brutal police effort to clear Taksim Square and Gezi park of protesters, ahead of Erdogan's show of strength with mass rallies in Ankara and Istanbul. Five different trade union and professional bodies called a one day protest strike today, June 17.

As these lines are being written hundreds of thousands of Iranians have poured onto the streets to celebrate the victory of Hassan Rouhani, in the presidential elections. Pictures of mass celebrations all over Iran are circulating the internet. This is an open defiance of Khamenei and the whole security apparatus of the regime which was dealt a humiliating defeat in the elections.

Yet again the Iranian presidential elections have taken an unforeseen turn. After excluding all his critics and most obvious competitors from the race, Khamenei had thought that he could secure a peaceful campaign period concluding with his handpicked candidate on top. But contrary to his calculations his recent actions have opened up even deeper rifts in the ruling clique. His feeble attempt at forcing unity within the regime has resulted in his faction coming out as the weakest one in the race. At the same time the campaign of Hassan Rouhani has seen a sudden surge in popularity with hundreds of thousands of discontented youth at its mass meetings and rallies.

The declaration of Obama that the USA will step up its support for the rebels in Syria represents a change in the situation. The White House announcement means that the US is to supply direct military aid to the Syrian opposition for the first time. Spokesman Ben Rhodes did not give details about the military aid other than to say it would be “different in scope and scale to what we have provided before”.

After the Istanbul regional governor announced that there would be no attack on the protestors at Gezi Park and Taksim Square, the police marched into Taksim under the pretext of “cleaning” the square. Allegedly, they wanted to “clear” the square of barricades and forbidden flags and symbols like the PKK or Kurdistan flag and banners with Abdullah Ocalan on them.

Early this morning, when most of the protestors were asleep in their tents, riot police armed with rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas stormed Taksim Square in Istanbul. This attack is part of a co-ordinated string of measures being pursued by the Erdogan government in an attempt to crush the mass movement of Turkish people that has been developing over the past two weeks.

“Papa Tayyip”, as Erdogan’s supporters call him, returned in the early hours of Friday from his visit to the Maghreb. His hiding in Morocco had to end. His party, the AKP, had declared several times that it would not organize a welcome rally for its president, although up 10,000 supporters (according to some estimates) did gather on Thursday evening. “Chemical Tayyip”, as he is referred to by the tear gassed demonstrators, however, met not only his supporters, but also even bigger protests in the country than when he left, despite his claims that everything would end quickly, as the protestors were only “marginal elements” and “marauders”. Wrong he was indeed!