Middle East

Fierce clashes are taking place between activists and police on the 11th day of siege in the Sur district of Diyarbakir. Furthermore, the governor's office in the province of Sirnak has announced new curfews in the districts of Cizre and Silopi. Having regained a parliamentary majority in the recent elections, it is clear that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AK Party have no intention of bringing to an end their unilateral war on the Kurdish population in Turkey.

As we have stated previously, the downing of a Russian jet in Syria by the Turkish military was clearly a provocation on the part of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. His aim was to stop an alliance being formed between Russia and the West in Syria. He has achieved the opposite with Turkey now more isolated and the major world powers coming closer to each other while Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been elbowed to one side.

This morning the Turkish military shot down a Russian military aircraft on the border with Syria. It is unclear so far whether it was ground fire or Turkish jets that brought down the Russian plane. But that is a mere detail. What is quite clear is that this was a blatant provocation by the Turkish ruling clique.

On Sunday, the party of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the AK Party, won a comfortable majority in Turkey’s parliament. To many of the thousands of radicalised youth and workers this came as a huge shock. How could this blatant murderer and aspiring despot get the support of large sections of the population?

Following Saturday's heinous terrorist attack, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in the biggest mass movement since the Gezi Park movement of 2013. But quite contrary to the intentions of the attack, it seems to have isolated the crisis-ridden Erdogan regime even more.

At least 98 people have been killed by two explosions in the largest terror attack in Turkish history, hundreds more have been wounded. This is a clear continuation of the campaign of terror against leftist forces in Turkey, but it has triggered a backlash as tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest against the government and their thugs.

Since last week when Russia began bombing targets inside Syria, Western media has been overflowing with articles about the crimes of Russian imperialism in Syria. But the idea put forward that “moderate” rebels are being bombed by ruthless Russians raises more questions than it answers.

On Monday, for the first time in ten years, Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the UN general assembly, after which he had a closed door meeting with US president Barack Obama. Only one month ago such a meeting would have seemed highly unlikely. Since the Ukrainian crisis relations between western governments and Russia have rapidly deteriorated as severe sanctions have been put on the country and Putin has become the most vilified man in Western media.

Turkey is sliding towards civil war. For the past month tensions in Turkey have been rising to new highs. In order to cut through the class struggle rising against him, Erdoğan has launched a push to provoke a full blown civil war along national lines.

On Friday up to 500,000 protesters took to the streets of Baghdad after a full week of escalating protests all across the southern and central areas of Iraq.

Since last week’s barbaric terrorist attack in the Turkish town of Suruc, the situation in Turkey has dramatically escalated. Under the guise of joining the war on ISIS, Erdogan has launched a major military operation against the the PKK as well as arresting hundreds of Kurdish and Turkish leftist activists.

Yesterday a massacre took place in the district of Suruç in southern Turkey. A massive blast ripped through a meeting of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF) gathered at the Amara Culture Centre. It is reported that at least 300 of the federation's members were gathered at the time of the explosion, and initial numbers indicate a death toll of at least 30 people, in addition to around a hundred wounded. These numbers could rise in the coming days.

Yesterday, the long-awaited nuclear deal between Iran and six major world powers was signed. After 18 days of straight negotiations the parties announced a 100-page agreement which is to set in motion the scaling back of the Iranian nuclear agreement and the lifting of harsh sanctions on Iran. This brings to an end more than three decades of harsh economic sanctions imposed on Iran by US imperialism and marks a complete defeat of the US strategy of intimidation, blackmail and coercion of Iran.

The result of Sunday’s Turkish general elections and the clear defeat of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AK Party mark a qualitative change in the situation in the country and bear important consequences for the whole of the Middle East.

The Turkish general elections on Sunday will be a decisive event for Turkey and the Middle East. The economic boom that the AKP government based itself on for more than a decade is coming to an end and a never-ending series of internal conflicts and corruption scandals have eroded the popularity of Erdogan.

Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of people attended the funeral of 4 victims of a terrorist attack by the Islamic State (IS) which took place last week in the north eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia. This was the second mass funeral in two weeks. The events have brought to the fore the deep contradictions which exist in Saudi Arabia, but which for decades have been more or less hidden by the totalitarian nature of the reactionary regime.

After the initial misadventure of attacking the Houthis in Yemen, arrogantly promoted by King Salman’s youngest, the more serious strategists within the despotic regime are trying to calm down and bring Prince Mohammad bin Salman to some degree of sanity. The despotic regime is wavering in the face of the failure of its acts of aggression.

On Thursday, April 2, Iran and the world’s most powerful nations signed a preliminary outline agreement about Iran's nuclear programme. It also dealt with the various sanctions imposed on Iran by the US, UN and the European Union. This marks the beginning of the end of a 12 year standoff between the US and Iran. But what lies behind the negotiations and what does the deal mean?

Hossein Shariatmadari, the powerful editor of the Iranian right-wing daily Keyhan, was disrupted time and time again as he tried to speak at Tehran University on 13 December. The hundreds of students gathered in the call would interrupt him with slogans such as "Leave, interrogator!", "Keyhan, Israel congratulations on your unity", "Death to reaction" "Shame on you, liar, leave the university". This open defiance of the students clearly shook Shariatmadari, who as a close confidant of Ayatollah Khamenei is one of the most reactionary voices of the regime.

We publish the latest edition of the Farsi journal of the IMT - Mobareze Tabaghati. In this edition you will find articles about the underlying tensions which are accumulating in Iran. We also take a look at the situation of the working class and its latest movments. There are also articles on Kobane as well as the 150th anniversary of the First International.

As we get closer to the deadline for a deal on the nuclear negotiations, the question of “what now” is being asked by more and more people in Iran. The Rouhani government has bought itself time by turning the focus of the masses outwards to the nuclear negotiations, but sooner or later he will have to face the internal situation.

The forces of ISIS are closing in on the besieged town of Kobane on the Turkish-Syrian border. Thousands of terrified Kurds have fled to Turkey in a desperate attempt to bring supplies and reinforcements, but find themselves blocked by the Turkish army, which is preventing reinforcements, arms and supplies from crossing the frontier. While the rest of the world looks on, the people of Kobane are threatened with an unspeakable bloodbath.

The struggle of the Kurdish forces of the YPG and YPJ that have been defending the town of Kobane against the onslaught of ISIS forces that outnumber and outgun them, has been nothing short of heroic. The fight for Kobane has been raging for more than three weeks and has intensified in the last few days as the Kurdish forces had to withdraw back into the centre of Kobane from their defensive positions outside the town. Reports are now coming in of intense urban fighting as the YPG and YPJ are resisting the advances of ISIS street by street.

In a press conference on 28th August, US president Barack Obama openly admitted that he did not have a strategy yet to combat the jihadist ISIS group in Iraq and Syria. Obama’s confession reveals the impasse the US are facing with the new, explosive crisis provoked in the Middle East by the advance of ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

In clinical Psychology, déjà vu is defined as “the experience of perceiving a new situation as if it had occurred before. It is sometimes associated with exhaustion or certain types of mental disorder”.

In the Presidential elections held at the beginning of June, Assad was declared the winner with 88.7% of the vote. That is not surprising considering the nature of the regime. However, in spite of the fact that these were in no way “free” elections, and that many people could not vote as they were in refugee camps beyond the borders of the country, what emerged was that a significant section of the population is backing Assad. Why is this?

The speed with which large swathes of Iraqi territory have fallen to a relatively small force of armed militias begs the question as to how this was possible. The Iraqi armed forces were numerically much superior to the groups who took over towns such as Mosul in the north. The army actually melted away. This cannot be explained simply by referring to armed Islamic groups. Something deeper is going on.

On Tuesday, the Islamisc fundamentalist group ISIS captured Mosul, one of the key cities in Northern Iraq and then proceeded South towards Baghdad, capturing several important cities on the way. Hundreds of thousands have already fled fearing their lives under the rule of this reactionary group. This spectre of barbarism rising on the horizon, is the direct result of the cynical adventures of American imperialism.

The whole of the Egyptian establishment, from statesmen, to businessmen and TV presenters, are falling over each other as they praise the ‘landslide victory’ of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in the Egyptian presidential elections. However the stability that the bourgeois are craving for is further away than they think.

The class struggle is once more heating up in Egypt. Al-Sisi’s “popular” image is starting to fade as five union leaders are arrested after 50,000 post office workers came out on strike.

The die is cast. Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the commander-in-chief of the army and Egypt's Minister of Defence, has resigned from his ministerial post and announced yesterday that he will be standing as a candidate in the presidential elections which he is likely to win.

The Egyptian Revolution has captured the attention of the masses all over the world. In Indonesia, activists are energetically discussing the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in the revolution, the intervention of the military, the nature of the revolution, and the future prospect of the revolution. Below, in a reply to Muhammad Ridha, an activist from the Working People’s Party (Partai Rakyat Pekerja, PRP) in Indonesia, Ted Sprague outlines the dialectical process of the Egyptian revolution.

The spontaneous uprising of the Syrian masses, inspired by events in Tunisia and Egypt, has degenerated into a sectarian bloodbath. Deprived of a revolutionary leadership, the hopeful beginnings have been transformed into a tragedy. On the other hand, US imperialism's hypocritical and bellicose zig-zags are a complete and utter farce, and graphically illustrate the limits of US power.

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.

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