Middle East

For the past four days Iran has seen the most widespread protests since the 1979 Revolution. While it is still smaller in size than the 2009 Green movement, it has spread far beyond the mainly urban areas of the big cities to which that movement was mainly confined. This is a sea-change and it has shaken the regime to its foundations.

Two statements were made on the same day, 21 November. Both declared the end of the war on Islamic State in Syria. The first was made by Vladimir Putin, in a meeting with Bashar al-Assad in Sochi, the second was released by Qassem Suleimani: the Iranian general at the head of the Quds Force (the Islamic Revolutionary Guards). Both, almost simultaneously, stated that “terrorism was defeated” in the country.

On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump declared that he would officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This reveals the real nature of the so-called peace talks. In a speech delivered at the White House, Trump said, “I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

"While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering. My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”

On 24 November, around 30 Islamic State militants from the Sinai Province arrived in large, all-terrain vehicles outside the el-Rawda mosque in Bir el-Abed, Northern Sinai, during Friday prayers. They detonated two bombs inside and then sprayed the fleeing crowds with machine-gun fire. The attack left over 300 people dead and 130 wounded: the largest death toll recorded for such an event in Egypt’s modern history.

On 12 November, a 7.3-magnitude earthquake occurred on the Iran-Iraq border, affecting an area stretching from the Kermanshah Province in northwestern Iran, to Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan. The whole of the political establishment made statements in support of the victims and the Kurdish areas, with dozens of national papers publishing their front pages in Kurdish. This is supposedly to show their solidarity with the Kurdish masses. Yet the events on the ground paint a clearer picture of the real attitude of the Iranian ruling class.

“The lot of young Arabs is worsening: it has become harder to find a job and easier to end up in a cell. Their options are typically poverty, emigration or, for a minority, jihad. Astonishingly, in Egypt’s broken system university graduates are more likely to be jobless than the country’s near-illiterate.” (The Economist, August 2016)

These words are now a year old and the situation for young Arabs in general – and young Egyptians in particular – has only gotten worse. In its lead article of an issue entitled ‘The Ruining of Egypt’, The Economistshowed a graph placing Egypt’s youth employment rate consistently between 40% and 46% over the previous six years. The

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Millions of Iraqi Kurds last Monday voted in a referendum on secession from Iraq and to set up an independent state. According to the official organisers, 92.73 percent of voters supported Kurdish independence while the participation rate stood at 72.16 percent. A huge majority of the Iraqi Kurdish people have made it clear that they feel no attachment to the quasi-sectarian Iraqi central government.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has ratified a deal to sell off the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia. The two islands – particularly Tiran Island – had historically played a pivotal role in conflicts between Egypt and Israel. Tiran was occupied by Israel between 1967 and 1982, at which point it was returned to Egypt and has since hosted military bases of the Egyptian army and the Multinational Forces and Observers tasked with monitoring the adjacent sea passage.

There were violent scenes on Al-Warraq Island in the suburbs of Cairo last Sunday as police attempts to evict residents inevitably resulted in brutal clashes. At least one local man was killed and fifty-six injured. The move to force the island's inhabitants onto the streets comes after President Sisi said in a June speech, “There are islands in the Nile... according to the law no one should be present on these islands.” This statement bears no regard for the thirty years that this community had inhabited the island or for the failure of any government during that period to provide them with an alternative.

For the last month the Gulf state of Qatar has been blockaded by its neighbours Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, who along with Egypt have severed all diplomatic ties with the country. These events have opened up a crisis situation in the Gulf region, which is being viewed with trepidation by the major powers on the world stage.

Israeli tanks advancing on the Golan Heights. June 1967

On 5th June 1967 the Israeli Air Force launched a surprise attack on Egyptian air bases in the Sinai province, beginning what came to be known as the Six-Day War and ending with Israel occupying the West Bank, Gaza, the whole Sinai Peninsula and shortly afterwards also the Golan Heights. To this day the Palestinians have had to live with the consequences.

The defeat of Isis is imminent – their last pocket in Mosul is about to be wiped out, Raqqa is being encircled and even Deir ez-Zor is under pressure. The end of Isis in Iraq and Syria has begun a struggle for the aftermath.

Iranians are going to the polls today in presidential elections. President Hassan Rouhani has been leading the polls followed by the main principlist unity candidate, Ebrahim Raisi. Yet the result is not the most important aspect here—the elections have brought forward the enormous contradictions in Iranian society.

Türkiye deki referandumda Recep Tayip Erdoğan resmi olarak EVET oyunu kazandı. Ama bu zaferin karakteri neydi ve ne anlama geliyor?

Resmi sonuçlara göre, 48 milyon seçmenin %51.3’ü yeni anayasayı kabul etme yönünde oy verdi. Bunun anlamı ise Cumhurbaşkanına geniş yetkiler ve kontrolsuz güç sağlamaktı. Katılım oranı, Resmi olarak %84’ün üstüne çıktı ve ülkedeki atmosfer kutuplaşmıştı.

Recep Tayyib Erdogan officially won the YES vote in Turkey’s referendum. But what was the character of his victory and what does it mean?

On Sunday, Turkey's electorate will vote in a referendum on a new draft constitution which, if implemented, would concentrate enormous powers in the hands of the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Egypt was rocked yesterday by suicide bombings in major cities which resulted in at least 45 dead and over 100 injured. In the second city Alexandria an attack was carried out at the entrance to St Mark’s Cathedral resulting in the death of 16 people. Two hours earlier in Tanta, a city in the Nile Delta, a bomb attack at a church killed 29. There are unconfirmed reports of further attacks on churches around the country.

Den 9 april skakades flera storstäder i Egypten av självmordsattentat. Attackerna skördade minst 45 människoliv, och över 100 skadades. I den näst största staden Alexandria utfördes en attack vid ingången till St Mark's katedral där 16 dog. Två timmar tidigare hade 29 människor mist livet i ett liknande bombdåd vid en kyrka i staden Tanta, belägen vid Nildeltat. Dessutom finns obekräftade rapporter om ett flertal andra attacker mot kyrkor runt om i landet.

Yesterday the US navy launched a series of missile attacks on the Al Shayrat airbase in the central governorate of Homs in Syria. Seven people are claimed to have been killed and several fighter jets are said to have been damaged.

Yet another crisis has been haunting Egypt’s 3 July military regime in the past three days. Hundreds of Egyptians in different cities have come out to protest cuts to subsidised good - mainly bread - in a militant and angry reaction to the Al-Sisi’s onslaught against the workers and the poor.

At the congress of the Pakistani section of the IMT on December 3rd, Fred Weston delivered the introductory speech analysing the world situation in the light of the recent victory of Trump in the US presidential elections, the role of Russia in Syria, the crisis of the EU and the general deepening crisis of world capitalism. We provide here two videos of the introductory speech and the summing up of the discussion.

The recapture of Aleppo by loyalist forces in December, represents a decisive milestone in the Syrian civil war as well as for the crisis in the whole region. But it also has wide ranging consequences for world relations in the coming period.

There has been much confusion on the left about the events that have unfolded in Syria in the past five years, with some supporting Assad as a supposed "anti-imperialist", while others have supported the so-called "Syrian revolution", de facto ending up in the same camp as the western imperialists who support the so-called "moderate rebels". In order to cut though this fog of confusion it is necessary to analyse the nature of the Assad regime, what it was and what it became, and also the process which cut across the initial revolutionary movement of the Syrian youth in 2011, transforming revolution very quickly into counter-revolution. Here we provide a list of the key articles we have

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Hamid Alizadeh discusses the impending fall of Aleppo to Syrian loyalist forces, and highlights the hypocrisy of the Western imperialists and media, who draw attention to the tragic events in Aleppo whilst failing to mention the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Yemen at the hands of the Saudis and their US & British allies.

Aleppo has fallen. After four years of bloody war of attrition, the pre-civil war commercial hub and Syria’s largest city is once again under the complete control of the Assad regime. For the rebels and their foreign backers this represents a humiliating blow which will have major consequences internationally and domestically.

The economic crisis in Egypt is affecting all parts of society. The directors of the American University of Cairo and many other private universities have raised tuition fees to “cope” with the inflation. AUC fees have been raised by 40%. However, reflecting the general turbulence in society, the students have not accepted this.

Once more Egypt is on the brink of a major turning point.  Three years after Abdel Fatah al-Sisi came to power, his regime is being engulfed by crisis at every level.

Erdogan's power grab has moved on to a higher stage. Last night the two co-chairs of the leftist and Kurdish based Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, were arrested along with nine more HDP MPs.

The saying goes that there are lies, damned lies and statistics. To this list we must add diplomacy, which is lying raised to the level of an art form.

As western media overflows with damning images of the atrocities carried out in Syria's Aleppo, the humanitarian disaster in Yemen is being more or less quietly brushed under the carpet. The reason? The west is elbow deep in the Yemeni tragedy.

As of sunset yesterday a new major ceasefire has been agreed in Syria. But what does it mean for Syria, the Middle East and world relations?

For the first time Turkey has launched a direct military intervention in Syria, sending tanks and warplanes across the border in a coordinated campaign with Syrian opposition fighters and targeting positions held by ISIS, especially the strategic town of Jarablus.

In this article Benjamin Curry goes to the roots of the revolutionary history of the Iraqi people which is far from the barbarism which it is often labelled with by the bourgeois media today.

Dramatic events shook Turkey yesterday as armed troops moved onto the streets of Istanbul and Ankara. They closed down the main airports and bridges while military jets were roaring very low above the cities. A coup was in the works.

In this article Benjamin Curry goes to the roots of the revolutionary history of the Iraqi people which is far from the barbarism which it is often labelled with by the bourgeois media today.

In this article Benjamin Curry goes to the roots of the revolutionary history of the Iraqi people which is far from the barbarism which it is often labelled with by the bourgeois media today.

Last week Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud announced Saudi Vision 2030, an ambitious plan that would see Saudi Aramco, the state oil conglomerate, partially sold off in a move that is supposed to wean the kingdom off of oil revenues by the year 2030.

On Friday February 5th, the Italian left-wing journal Il Manifestopublished a report on a meeting of Egyptian independent trade unionists posthumously credited to one of its contributors in Cairo. Giulio Regeni was a 28-year-old Italian student of the University of Cambridge writing his doctoral thesis in Egypt. His body had been found on a roadside two days earlier, covered head-to-toe in bruises, knife wounds and cigarette burns. His finger and toenails had been yanked out – clear signs that he was tortured before his death.

The result of the elections for the Iranian parliament and Assembly of Experts marks a shift in the political situation of the country. Under the pressure of the masses the regime is changin its direction, but this will only lead to a new period of instability and an upturn in the class struggle.

Even before they started, the so-called peace talks about the future of Syria have collapsed. UN special envoy to Syria, Steffan de Mistura, has called for a “pause” in the talks and a resumption on 25 February. Meanwhile the Syrian Arab Army and its allies have dealt a crushing blow to western-supported Jihadists in northern Aleppo. As the balance of forces shifts in the war, none of the parties on the ground have any reason to take serious steps in the talks.

The recent execution of Al-Nimr, a Shia cleric leader who was arrested on 8 July 2012 during protests, along with 46 other men, mostly Sunnis, highlights the crisis facing the regime. Increased repression indicate a fear of the rulers at the top of an impending movement from below.

Over the past year, hundreds of thousands of people in the south east of Turkey have seen their home towns and neighbourhoods destroyed in the face of indiscriminate and barbaric attacks by Turkish armed forces. Thousands of innocent people have been imprisoned and hundreds of men, women and children murdered in a barbaric civil war waged by the Erdoğan regime against the Kurdish people of Turkey.

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.

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