Middle East

Dostoyevsky wrote, “That a country should be judged by its prisons”, and that unfortunately still holds today. But nowadays one should also add, “And its health service”.


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"We send our greetings to vanguard worker comrades who, with their radical intervention during the Labour House ceremony, were able to have a significant effect on the rank and file and the mass of workers." Workers' Action Committee

The enemy is cunning. A cunning enemy must not be spared. The whole people rose to its feet as soon as these ghastly crimes became known. The whole people is quivering with indignation and I, as the representative of the state prosecution, join my anger, the indignant voice of the state prosecutor, to the rumbling of the voices of millions! 
“I want to conclude by reminding you, comrades judges, of those demands which the law makes in cases of the gravest crimes against the state. I take the liberty of reminding you that it is your duty, once you find these people, all sixteen of them, guilty of crimes against the state, to apply to them in

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Dear Editor,

I read the following on the BBC’s web site: “An Israeli soldier accused of shooting a British cameraman dead has been cleared by a judge of any wrongdoing. James Miller was killed in 2003 at the age of 34, as he filmed a documentary in the Rafah refugee camp. Israel had already said the soldier – known only as Lt H – would not be prosecuted over the death.” Having read the article it made my blood boil so I had to say something.

In what was probably the largest demonstration in Iraq since the US invasion in 2003, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis marched in Baghdad this past Saturday to demonstrate against the US occupation. While most bourgeois news agencies were focused on the wedding of Prince Charles and what’s-her-name, The LA Times did report that some 300,000 people filled the streets of Baghdad (most other news agencies, if they reported the demonstration at all, claimed that there were “thousands”). The demonstration, organized by followers of Muqtada al-Sadr and held on the second anniversary of the collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime, filled the capital’s al-Fardous square with chants of “No

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As we approach the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the US and British led occupation of the country is falling apart. Some 1500 US soldiers have been killed in the conflict, and tens of thousands of Iraqis. Everything that the Bush administration said about the war has been exposed as a lie. Far from improving the lives of Iraqis, things are even worse than under the hated regime of Saddam Hussein.

On Sunday March 6, Turkish police forces commemorated International Working Women’s Day in their own way – by using truncheons and tear gas on demonstrators. Around one thousand people took part in the gathering organised by revolutionary left groups to mark the International Working Women’s Day, which took place at the Beyazit Square, Istanbul. The demonstrators were then tear-gassed, kicked and beaten by the police. Many people were left injured. There were so many cops and the attack was so sudden that the demonstrators were not able to resist the attack.


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“We can have just our usual flag with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones.” (Mark Twain). “With the ramrod as instrument, ‘Freedom’ is to be jammed down the throats of the insurgent patriots whom our expansionist capitalists insult with the name of ‘insurgents’.” (Daniel De Leon).

In his State of the Union address Mr Bush, in the presence of both houses of Congress, while setting out his government’s domestic and foreign polices accused the government of Iran of supporting terrorism and denying the people of this country their freedom.


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On the day of the elections the media led us to believe there had been a massive turnout, with pictures of Iraqis celebrating “democracy”. Now the real figures are out and the turnout was shown to be well below 50%, even 30%. As they lied about the reasons for the war, why not lie about the elections as well?

Today they are ringing their bells. Tomorrow they will be wringing their hands.” (Walpole)

The propaganda machine was well oiled and ready to roll into action. The speeches had been written weeks in advance by clever people in Washington. The Iraqi elections were an outstanding success, a victory for democracy; millions of ordinary Iraqis were queuing up to cast their vote for freedom. The rule of the gun had lost, the rule of democracy had won. The future of Iraq was bright, and so on and so forth.


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The elections have taken place in Iraq. The masse media have presented us with the myth that now “democracy” will reign in Iraq. An occupied country cannot have genuine democracy. Different sections of the population reacted in different ways. Some boycotted, others took part with the illusion that this is the road to peace. The illusion will soon be shattered. Not until the heavy yoke of imperialism and its monstrous twin, capitalism, are removed will the people of Iraq begin to breathe freely.

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Recent revelations about British troops using torture on Iraqi prisoners have finally put an end to the myth that the British army is somehow better than the American. All occupying armies are using these methods. The Labour movement must demand the unconditional withdrawal of all troops from Iraq.

We are very proud to announce the launching of our new Arabic website at www.marxy.com. This initiative is intended to respond to the growing demand for a Marxist alternative coming from the area stretching from Saudi Arabia over Palestine and Egypt to the western corner of the Maghreb in Morocco.


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The real reason why the insurgents are opposed to the “elections” is because they are a cynical lie and a deception of the people of Iraq and world opinion. They are not intended to introduce a genuine democracy. How can any people be free with a foreign jackboot on its neck? The real purpose of the so-called elections is quite clear: to legitimise the American-led invasion of Iraq and disguise the cruel reality of foreign occupation under the façade of a puppet administration.

Ms. Tali Fahima, a peace activist from Kiryat-Gat suspected of contacting the leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin, Zakariya Zbeide, was arrested on August 8, 2004, and turned over to the GSS. The interrogation methods used against her include: sleep deprivation, food deprivation, painful handcuffing to a chair for long periods and sexual harassment.


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Some American Republicans are calling for the resignation of Kofi Annan as UN general secretary. The alleged reasons are accusations of corruption. As always the real reason lies elsewhere. It is part of the onging conflict between the major powers over the war in Iraq.

On October 21 Prime Minister Tony Blair confirmed that the British government had agreed to a US request to redeploy the approximately 850 troops and support staff of the Black Watch regiment from their base in southern Iraq to positions near Baghdad.

The Black Watch regiment was clearly moved to Baghdad for political reasons. Blair wanted to help Bush in the US elections and also prove that British troops are needed in Iraq. Once again he has lied to the British public and he has shown that he is prepared to risk the lives of ordinary soldiers to achieve his own political objectives. Not by Christmas! The troops should be pulled out now.

On the face of it, the siege of Fallujah seems to be going relatively well for the US troops. Most of the city has been captured and according to the mass media “Operation Phantom Fury” will be finished in a couple of days. However, things are not so simple. The war in Iraq was also supposed to be over, whereas it clearly is not. The same applies to Fallujah, where an official victory may well turn out to be a Pyrrhic one.


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Only a few weeks ago the bourgeois newspapers bombed us with their great expectations in Iraq, presumably on its way to “freedom and democracy”. Yossi Schwartz comments on these predictions.

The war drums are being beaten once again in Fallujah. After the siege in April this year, the city will again be the scene of an onslaught, probably bigger than last time. During the last weeks, the US forces stepped up their daily air raids while at the same time applying heavy psychological warfare tactics. Threatening to crush the resistance, US imperialism is now actually heading steadily for an all-out assault on Fallujah.

At 10.45 this morning Baghdad local time, in a hasty ceremony held behind locked doors, the American proconsul Paul Bremer handed over power to an interim government composed of Iraqis. Until this moment, June 30th had long been put forward as the unchangeable and non-negotiable date when the future of Iraq would be decided. Now the whole thing was rushed through with indecent haste, two days early.


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“Wait until Charlie gets back with the final report,” George Bush said confidently in June in reply to reporters fishing after a confession of the president that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Well, now Charlie is back and the report is nothing less than a devastating blow to Bush and Blair.

The right-wing Sharon government’s construction of the ‘security fence’ continues unabated. Despite the ruling of the International Court of Jurists, despite the UN General Assembly’s resolution, despite breaching Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, despite world public opinion, the Zionist state is using the current international balance of forces to maximise its dominance over the Palestinians. For despite token protests that are meant for public consumption, US imperialism is fully backing its closest ally in the world. And all that the other imperialist powers are willing to offer are verbal ‘concerns’ and diplomatic ‘protests’ against the most vicious and aggressive moves

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After three weeks of fighting the moderate Shia Islamic leader, Ali al-Sistani, has intervened and brokered a compromise in Najaf. However, no long term solution can be provided by such manoeuvres. Today they may "pacify" Najaf, but the fighting will erupt again in the future. Only if the working class gives a lead to the resistance can a final solution be found. By Fred Weston (August 27, 2004)

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The severe fighting taking place in Iraq is presented to us as some inexplicable phenomenon, produced by “dark forces” resisting the march of “progress and democracy”. In reality what we are facing is a mass resistance movement aimed at expelling a foreign army of occupation. This movement is fuelled by the terrible conditions Iraqi workers are facing, conditions created by the domination of imperialism.

As mass resistance to the occupation of Iraq develops, the new Iraqi "government" will find it extremely difficult to control the situation. This growing instability in Iraq comes at a time when just across the border the Saudi regime is on the verge of a major crisis and could be toppled. This has led US strategists to consider the invasion of Saudi Arabia as a possible next step. But it is fraught with danger.


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At 10.45 this morning Baghdad local time, in a hasty ceremony held behind locked doors, the American proconsul Paul Bremer handed over power to an interim government composed of Iraqis. More than the representative of an imperial power handing over power to a grateful ally, Paul Bremer resembled a man who had burned his fingers hastily tossing the hot potato to another. Alan Woods looks at what is the real state of play.

At recent gatherings of the major powers (from the D-Day celebrations to the G8) a lot of noise has been made about more cooperation between the major powers, in particular between the USA and Europe. What lies behind this? Is there really a common position developing? Yossi Schwartz explains why any idea of unity between the major powers is a mere pipedream.

House demolitions in the Occupied Territories…

The suffering of the Palestinian people is assuming tremendous dimensions. Not only have they been denied a homeland for over half a century, forced to live in refugee camps, but now they are also facing a second expulsion. The Israeli army regularly appears before the houses of Palestinians and within a moment’s notice declare that they are going to bulldoze them.

In the last few days the masses in many parts of the Middle East have been pouring out onto the streets in protest against the murder of civilians in Iraq and Gaza. They have been coming out emboldened by the feeling that the killing machine of the occupying armies in Iraq and Gaza can be defeated. Yossi Schwartz, just returned from one of these protests in Rafah (Gaza) looks at the effects throughout the Middle East and in particular in Israel.


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In the last few days the masses in many parts of the Middle East have been pouring out onto the streets in protest against the murder of civilians in Iraq and Gaza. They have been coming out emboldened by the feeling that the killing machine of the occupying armies in Iraq and Gaza can be defeated. Yossi Schwartz, just returned from one of these protests in Rafah (Gaza) looks at the effects throughout the Middle East and in particular in Israel. 

Despite all their best efforts at covering up the truth, the United States military has been compelled to open a criminal investigation into the acts of abuse, humiliation and torture against Iraqi prisoners, which have now been broadcast on TV screens around the world. Each passing day brings new and more shocking revelations. Now it seems there are a further 1000 digital photographs to be published. As usual, the military only admit what cannot be denied. As we are now learning, these initial pictures represent only the tip of a vast and extremely ugly iceberg.

While Sharon has plenty of money to spend on bombing the Palestinian people and on building a wall to steal more of their land, inside Israel itself another war is going on, the war of the rich against the poor. Poverty levels have shot up and many of Israel’s Jews are living in terrible conditions. This is particularly true of the newly arrived immigrants. Many Jews left Russia thinking they would find a better life in Israel. Instead what they find is degrading and humiliating conditions. The government has been systematically attacking welfare and health.

Dear comrades,

This year there were three events of May Day. The first one in Nazareth around 4 thousands people, 99 % Arab Palestinians citizens of Israel. About 3000 of them young people of the YCL most of them under the influence of Hadash leadership led by MP Mohammad Barake. There were about 50 Jews of them 30 or so Jews of the YCL who marched as a small block. There  many red flags and shirts with pictures of Che. There were not too many written slogans. The chanting was focused against Sharon's plan.

In Turkey around 150.000 people joined May Day demonstrations held in many towns up and down the country. As is always the case the central event was in Istanbul. For the first time since 1993 the May Day demonstration in Istanbul was split into two. It was a result of the disagreement between major labour confederations. The demonstration held in Caglayan square, which was organised by the Turk-Iş, the biggest labour confederation, was joined by 15.000 people, while the other demonstration organised by the DISK and KESK in Sarachane was joined by 30.000. In Ankara there were 10.000 people demonstrating, while 15.000 were demonstrating in Izmir, the third biggest city.


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We are publishing here the May Day resolutions of the Workers' Council for Celebrating May Day in Iran.

The invasion of Iraq stands exposed for what it always was: an act of naked aggression leading to the forcible occupation of a country by foreign troops against the will of the people. Naturally, such a state of affairs can only be sustained by the massive, uncontrolled and unlimited use of force. We can now see the results of this on the front pages of today’s newspapers.The United States military has been compelled to open criminal investigation into acts of abuse, humiliation and torture against Iraqi prisoners, committed by US soldiers and officers as photographs of horrific incidents were aired for the first time on US network television.

The monstrously oppressive nature of US imperialism stands exposed in all its bloody nakedness. Fallujah is being reduced to smoking rubble before the eyes of the world. Heavily armed American gunships are slowly pounding it into dust. Many civilians have fled in panic; many lay buried beneath the shattered remnants of their homes.

Dear Comrades,

First I want to thank you for putting up my article. What you say in the forward about bringing the atomised individuals like myself together and transforming them into a genuine socialist opposition within Israel, is my dream, but alas we are far and few between.


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The US army is now faced with a general insurrectionary upsurge all over Iraq. This marks a qualitative change in the situation. This week has seen the heaviest fighting since the end of the war, with the US losing 33 soldiers in three days. By last night, the troops which overthrew Saddam Hussein a year ago this week, had been driven from five Iraqi cities after heavy fighting.

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Iraq is in flames. Insurrections and fighting have spread across the country. The US-led coalition is fighting a desperate war on two-fronts: against Sunni rebels concentrated in the western towns of Falluja and Ramadi and a Shia uprising in south and central Iraq. This is just three months before the US is due to transfer power to an Iraqi government and the situation is deteriorating with every passing day.

We are publishing an article by M. Razi of the Iranian Revolutionary Socialist League, which was written just before the elections in Iran which took place on February 20. As the results were a foregone conclusion, the points raised in comrade Razi's analysis are as valid now as they were before the elections took place. We would just like to add a few points to put the article in context.


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Yesterday’s bomb attacks in Iraq have brought the plight of the Iraqi people back into the attention of the whole world. It reminds everyone of the terrible mess that the US-UK war against Saddam Hussein has provoked. Iraq was no threat to anyone. That has been abundantly demonstrated now. So what has been achieved?

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Things are going from bad to worse for the occupying forces in Iraq. As the guerrilla insurgency intensified, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Baghdad to check things out “on the ground”.

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Saddam Hussein has been captured. On Saturday, US troops finally caught the man who had eluded them for months. The Americans could not conceal their euphoria. Paul Bremer, the imperial proconsul in charge of occupied Iraq opened the long anticipated press conference with the words: "Ladies and gentlemen, we've got him." The capture of Saddam Hussein may give Bush and Blair a temporary respite. But nothing fundamental has changed and none of the basic problems have been solved. The fighting will continue as before, or even get worse.

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On November 20, two explosions devastated the offices of HSBC, a British-based bank, and the British consulate in a busy part of Istanbul. Marxists utterly condemn this brutal and barbarous act of terrorism. It cannot be justified on any political grounds. It does not help the people of Iraq. It does not strike a blow against world imperialism. It will not weaken the Turkish state. On the contrary. It plays directly into the hands of the state and imperialism.

Bush is now in Britain on the first state visit of a US president to this country in eighty years. The trip was obviously planned long ago and when it was organised Blair probably was not aware of how strong the antiwar mood in Britain would become. But the consistent lies on the part of both Blair and Bush have convinced even many of those who initially went along with their arguments that the whole war was totally unjustified. It has exposed the real reasons for the occupation of Iraq - to get their hands on the oil and to achieve a strategically important position in the Middle East.

If one were to search for the simplest example of lack of coverage of an important labour movement event by the international media of the capitalists, Lebanon is the most recent case. A 24 hours general strike took place in Lebanon last week but it was hardly reported outside of Lebanon. The Daily Star reported, "Preparations for Thursday’s all-out strike were under way on Wednesday as the General Labor Confederation (GLC) urged the Labour Ministry to be alert for complaints about employers who refuse to give their staff a paid day off during the walkout. Labor unions and teachers’ leagues called for a one-day strike to protest the 2004 draft budget. Unpopular items include Article 12,

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