Archive | March 2nd, 2014

Celebrate International Women’s Day!

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Celebrate Interational Women's Day

“Not a single great movement of the oppressed in the history of mankind has been able to do without the participation of working women”

Comrades Ella and Joti will ask what 45 years of women’s liberation has done for us, and why there are still so few women involved in politics in 21st-century Britain.

As the crisis deepens, the situation of women is becoming worse and not better. The few areas in which women could find some support are being ruthlessly cut. While taxation rises, wages plunge in inverse proportion to rising unemployment.

Experience shows that it is only under socialism that women’s needs can really be given priority, for it is only under socialism that the whole of production is geared to serving the needs of working people in general rather than the interests of profit, which always grudges every penny spent on wages and social facilities.

Women workers must stand shoulder to shoulder with the revolutionary proletariat as a whole to overthrow capitalism and establish and build socialism. And it stands to reason that the revolutionary proletariat must always put attending to the needs of the working-class women as one of their most urgent priorities, both in their demands on the capitalist class and in the measures that they implement as soon as they seize state power.

Join us to celebrate International Women’s Day!

At: 1pm on Sunday 9th March 2014

Venue:  274 Moseley Road, Highgate, Birmingham, B12 0BS

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Constance Markiewicz

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Revolutionary socialist was not an obvious vocational choice for Constance Markiewicz. The eldest daughter of Arctic explorer Sir Henry Gore-Booth, an Anglo-Irish protestant landlord, and Lady Georgina Gore Booth, Constance was born into relative privilege.

She was a talented artist and studied at the prestigious Académie Julian in Paris, where she met her future husband, Count Kazimierz Markiewicz, a Polish nobleman.

Yet, within this affluent upbringing, there lay confronting experiences that began to shape Constance’s political outlook:

  • Her father, a wealthy landlord, offered free food to local people during the agonising and genocidal British imperialist-engineered Great Famine between 1840-52.
  • Constance and her sister Eva were childhood friends of the poet WB Yeats, who was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
  • She had interactions with progressive movements, including suffragettes, as a student in London and Paris.
  • The creation of the Gaelic League – a formally apolitical group concerned with the preservation of Irish culture, but which comprised many nationalists and future political leaders – offered further exposure to radical ideals.

And, as is claimed in folklore, Constance rented a small cottage in the countryside outside Dublin. The previous tenant, poet Padraic Colum, left behind copies of revolutionary journals such as The Peasant andSinn Fein, which promoted Irish freedom from British imperialism.

These experiences inspired a transformation from a life of privilege to a commitment to economic, political and social equality for all.

The years 1908-09 saw a rapid development of Constance’s political activities: she joined Sinn Fein and Inghinidhe na hÉireann, Daughters of Ireland; travelled to Manchester to support the suffragettes’ successful attempt to oppose Winston Churchill’s election to parliament; and – of vital importance to the cause of Irish liberation – created a paramilitary youth movement, Fianna Éireann, to educate teenage boys and girls on the use of firearms.

Soon after, in 1913, Ireland experienced the most severe industrial dispute of its history. The Dublin Lock-out was the culmination of a series of industrial struggles that aimed to win trade-union rights for workers. Irish workers lived in some of the worst conditions in all of Europe; the mix of slum housing, poor sanitation and little access to health care made the rapid spread of disease, including tuberculosis, inevitable. In this context, the workers, lacking any representation, were brutally exploited by the industrial capitalists.

James Larkin, the talented organiser and orator, recruited many into the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU), and demanded improved conditions. Whilst wealthy capitalists locked unionised workers out of their jobs, starving them, and employed blackleg labour from Britain and elsewhere in Ireland, the struggle had two crucial legacies: it developed the culture of industrial action and trade unionism in Ireland; and introduced socialist ideals firmly in the context of Irish nationalism and the question of Home Rule.

Markiewicz in uniform

Markiewicz in uniform

Constance Markiewicz supported the workers throughout the seven-month lock-out by organising voluntary food production and distributing it amongst the hungry and destitute families. This activity was self-funded by selling many of her own possessions.

Markiewicz also encountered the legendary Marxist James Connolly during this period. Connolly had formed the Irish Citizens Army (ICA) to defend the workers from police brutality; several hundred had been savagely beaten by the authorities during the lock-out. She quickly joined the ICA and injected it with her interest in culture – designing a military uniform and creating songs to professionalise and inspire the army.

The Irish Citizens Army went on to play a central role in the Easter Rising of 1916. This extraordinary event, again, placed socialism and the demand for equality at the heart of the national independence movement.

Markiewicz did not assume a secondary or subservient role – as early 20th-century society may have expected – but served as an armed lieutenant, directing her own unit, supervising the barricades, personally wounding a British sniper and holding her position for six days.

The rebellion was suppressed by British bombs and the leaders surrendered after the military had destroyed large parts of Dublin. However, as with the Dublin Lock-out three years earlier, the Easter Rising’s success was not its immediate material gain, but the legacy of inspiring generations of Irish men and women to fight for freedom against British imperialism.

It also demonstrated to the people of Europe, notably the Bolsheviks of Russia, that turning your guns on your real enemy – imperialist, colonialist states – and away from other working-class people during the first world war (1914-18) was a most revolutionary act.

Markiewicz was sentenced to death, along with other leaders, including Connolly, for her role in the rebellion. This was later converted to life imprisonment after the British feared that executing a woman would prompt further social unrest. In court she proclaimed: “I do wish your lot had the decency to shoot me.”

In the 1918 general election, after being released as part of an amnesty, Constance Markiewicz was elected as MP for Dublin St Patrick’s constituency. This made her the first woman ever elected to the House of Commons. She, in accordance with Sinn Fein policy, refused to take a seat at the British parliament.

Markiewicz Election Success

Procession to celebrate Markiewicz’s election

The remarkable life of Constance Markiewicz continues to inspire countless young people. Whilst the capitalists tolerate – and even manipulate and revere – ‘charitable’ women, they despise the revolutionary. They fear nothing more than women who are committed to education, organisation and liberation.

Markiewicz infused national independence with socialism; republicanism with feminism; and charity with empowerment. She is an example to revolutionaries everywhere.

“I did what I thought was right and I stand by it.”

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Delores Ibarruri

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Delores Ibarruri was an inspirational leader, a revolutionary fighter and an influential speaker who was heavily involved in the resistance movement against General Franco’s fascist coup which led to the Spanish Civil War.

Dolores Ibárruri

Delores was born in Gallarta, Spain on the 9th December 1895 in to a family of miners. She experienced horrendous poverty as a child and her dream of becoming a teacher was never met due to her parents lack of money to finance her education. Instead, she became a seamstress. Her Husband, an active trade unionist, was imprisoned later in her life for leading a strike in 1934 against the fascist and feudal rule of CEDA , and as a consequence her financial situation deteriorated. She then began reading Karl Marx and his works influenced her to joining the Communist Party of Spain (PCE).

In 1920, Delores was elected into the provincial committee of the Communist Party in Basque and ten years later was elected on to the Central Committee of the PCE. She was a regular writer for the party’s publication, Mundo Obrero, signing off her works with the pseudonym La Pasionaria (Passion Flower). She used her journalism as a platform to campaign against the unfair treatment of women in the country and to improve it through socialist revolution.

However, as the social democrats, republicans and communists were uniting and had, as an outcome, contested in the 1936 general election and won, the fascists became infuriated with anger and rich with Hitler’s and Mussolini’s financial and military aid. They led a coup d’état under the leadership of General Franco against the new progressive government.

Imperialism, which was under threat in the new Republican Spain, sought to strangle the nation through fascism and also by preventing aid as they saw it – like Henry ford in the USA and our own royal family in Britain- as a means to deal with the rising tide of working class militancy and communism.

However, at a time when fascism, a system of slavery, backwardness, war, discrimination, fear, etc ,was on the rise and spreading throughout Europe, the Western Media was publicising propaganda against, no, not Germany, Italy or Spain, but against the Soviet Union. The Collectivisation Famine lie was published in 1935 by the Hearst Press at a time when socialism was the only solution for the worsening capitalist crisis and the defeat of the rise of fascism. Instead of hailing the achievements of the Industrialisation and Collectivisation programme in Russia under Stalin, the capitalists would rather demonise it and consequently give rise to fascism.

In addition to that, the British, French and the USA were purposely hesitant in defending Spain against Franco by issuing a ‘non intervention’ agreement with each other. The Western Imperialist governments feigned neutrality but in their inner most part they supported fascism when it came to Spain. This did not help Delores and the revolutionaries within Spain in defending their nation against the fascists.

However, with a little help from their friends, namely the Soviet Union and Mexico, the People’s Army (the resistance movement formed by the anti-fascists in Spain) were supported by the International Brigade, a call sent by the Soviet Union to communist revolutionaries in Europe, the Americas and all over the world to fight with their brothers and sisters in Spain against Fascism. The Soviet Union also helped directly by sending tanks and weaponry to the resistance forces, even though they were busy building and preparing for the biggest and most catastrophic war the world had ever seen. This was done as the Soviet Union knew the Spanish Civil War and the rise of Fascism was the prelude to WW2 and if left undefeated, could strengthen the fascist ranks.

Dolores Speech

Throughout the Civil War, Delores was extremely active. She was the Chief Propagandist for the Republicans and in July 1936 she ended a radio speech with the famous slogan “THE FASCISTS SHALL NOT PASS! NO PASARAN!”. This slogan eventually became the battle cry for the Republican Army. Also, at a meeting for the women of Spain, she stated “It is better to be the widows of heroes than the wives of cowards!” And in 1936, at rallies in both France and Belgium to gain support for the Republican Army, she cried  ”The Spanish people would rather die on its feet than live on its knees!” She was also very active in the committee which transferred funds from the Comintern (The Communist International) which was set up in March 1919 by leading members of the Bolshevik party in Russia, to the Republican Army.

However, the Republican Army was threatened from within by the formation of POUM (The Worker’s Party of Marxist Unification) which was a Trotskyist led unification of left leaning parties within the nation. However, the parties involved, namely the fusion of the communist left of Spain and BLOC (Workers and Peasants Bloc), objected vigorously against the influence of the Soviet Union within the Republican Army. POUM was nicknamed the “Fifth Column” due to Emilio Mola, a fascist general during the civil war, stating in an interview to a journalist in 1936 that he has four columns of soldiers heading towards Madrid with a fifth one behind enemy lines, referring to POUM. The Worker’s Party of Marxist Unification was not only a diversion from the struggle against Fascism but a deliberate and barefaced service to Fascism. “Trotskyism in the Service to Franco” written by George Soria, which is based on first-hand observation and on the study and analysis of official documents and papers, explains how this came to occur and how it was instrumented.

However, the Republican Army could not hold off the might of Franco’s Army, which was financed heavily by Germany and Italy, and they eventually lost the civil war. On November 1st, Delores made a powerful speech to over 13,000 people at a farewell parade in Barcelona expressing her gratitude to all the volunteers who helped the Republican Army from the people of Spain. She stated “From all peoples, from all races, you came to us like brothers, like sons of immortal Spain; and in the hardest days of the war, when the capital of the Spanish republic was threatened, it was you, gallant comrades of the International Brigades, who helped save the city with your fighting enthusiasm, your heroism and your spirit of sacrifice …Today many are departing … You can go proud. You are history. You are legend. You are the heroic example of democracy’s solidarity and universality in the face of the vile and accommodating spirit of those who interpret democratic principles with their eyes on hoards of wealth or corporate shares which they want to safeguard from all risk.”

At the end of the war, Delores fled to the Soviet Union where she lived a happy life. Her son fought for the Red Army but sadly died at the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942. Delores still remained active within the PCE and became Secretary General in May 1944. She lived in Moscow for many years and in 1964, she received the Lenin Peace Prize and in 1965 she won the Order of Lenin Prize.

La Pasionaria

When General Franco died, Delores moved back to Spain and in 1977 she became deputy to the Cortes (Spanish parliament). At the age of 93, on the 12th November 1989, Delores Ibarruri past away from Pneumonia.

Delores shall be remembered as a woman who never capitulated to fascism, who fought for basic rights for women and a revolutionary fighter, activist, writer and speaker. She is an inspiration to us all and will never be forgotten. She is the shining star which directs us in our international anti imperialist duty as communists to lead the oppressed throughout the world in their struggle for liberation and dignity against all imperialism and reaction, headed by the NATO forces.

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Clara Zetkin

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Born as Clara Eißner, the eldest of three children in Saxony, Germany in 1857, Clara Zetkin lived a life of struggle – for socialism, women’s rights and against fascism.

Her mother already had contacts with the emerging bourgeois women’s movement at the time and Clara herself became politically active from 1874, joining the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in 1878. However, Bismarck’s draconian ‘Socialist Law’, which banned extra-parliamentary political activities, forced her into exile in 1882, first to Zurich and then Paris. During her time in the French capital, she adopted the name of her life-partner and Russian Marxist Ossip Zetkin, with whom she had two children. There she also played a significant role in the founding of the Second International in 1889, which would two and a half decades later so disgracefully collapse over the question of the First World War, splitting the socialist movement and for the first time clearly showing the reactionary and chauvinist nature of what we now know as social democracy.

Clara Zetkin

From early on, Clara Zetkin, along with her close friend and comrade Rosa Luxemburg were part of the inner-party opposition, which came to be known as the Spartacus League (Spartakusbund) and consisted of fierce critics of Eduard Berstein’s reformist views. She was among those consistently arguing against Bernstein and his followers in the revisionism debate. Having returned back in Germany in 1890, Zetkin worked as editor and publisher of ‘The Equality’ (Die Gleichheit), a proletarian feminist magazine. She proved to be a brilliant journalist, increasing the circulation from 11,000 to 67,000 between 1903 and 1906. When she joined the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD) in 1917, she was ‘relieved’ of her duties at the publication for petty political reasons. In 1919 she finally joined the newly-formed Communist Party of Germany (KPD) and started to publish a new magazine, called Die Kommunistin, meaning ‘the female communist’

In addition to her publications, Clara Zetkin was also one of the first few women deputies at both regional and national parliaments, taking advantage of the small concessions made by the bourgeoisie to advance women’s rights in practice and push towards their representation in public life. Nevertheless she also was a staunch critic of the bourgeois women’s movement. In a speech in 1899 at the founding congress of the Second International, she criticised demands for formal political rights such as that of access to the professions and equal education for women (while perfectly legitimate and important) as not going far enough, and argued that full social and economic emancipation is only possible under socialism. In 1911 Zetkin was also heavily involved in the birth of International Women’s Day – the day we will soon be celebrating. After an encouraging start in central Europe, especially in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany, Women’s Day spread around the world and it is important not to underestimate the importance of demonstrations marking the day in sparking the February Revolution in Russia in 1917.

In 1932 after being re-elected to the German Parliament (Reichstag) at the age of 75, she used her speech at the opening of parliament to passionately denounce the policies of Hitler and his thugs. After the National Socialists came to power in 1933 and banned the KPD after blaming the Reichstag fire on them, Clara Zetkin was forced into exile once again, this time choosing to live in the Soviet Union. just before this She died soon after, on the 20th July 1933 at the age of 76, and the urn containing her ashes was personally carried to the Kremel Wall Necropolis by Joseph Stalin.

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Why should you be celebrating International Women’s Day?

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Red Youth salutes the revolutionary women of the world!

We’d like to take the time over the coming week – until International Women’s Day on 8th March – to discuss why women’s liberation is a key part of the struggle against capitalism, and to remember some inspiring female comrades, past and present, who struggled for the liberation of their people, the liberation of the working class, and who recognised that special attention had to be paid, within these struggles, to the liberation of women, from their subordinate role in society, and the special and additional oppression that women face due to their sex alone.

Red Youth will be meeting to celebrate International Women’s Day on 9th March, at 1pm, at the CPGB-ML HQ in Birmingham.

Without the participation of women there will be no revolution!

Without the participation of women there will be no revolution!

It will soon be International Women’s Day, a day now used by many capitalist governments in an attempt to portray themselves as ‘progressive’ or ‘egalitarian’.

Formerly known as ‘International Working Women’s Day’ it was celebrated by communists the world over – in the Soviet Union, China, Spain, Germany, and countless other countries – to pay tribute to the efforts and struggles of labouring women.

However, in an unsurprising turn, it was robbed of its core message by the UN, when it was officially decided that the 8th of March would be a day for capitalist governments to not only remove the focus on working women, but also to demonise non-Western nationsin the name of ‘progressivism’.

But there can be no end to misogynistic culture under capitalism, as misogyny is simply too profitable. Mainstream cinema, the cosmetics industry, fashion, general advertising, television, the music industry, and pornography are all hugely lucrative industries that require a culture of misogyny to sustain their existence.

We, as communists, will honour International Women’s Day by acknowledging that capitalism is not the origin of misogyny, but that misogyny cannot be eradicated within capitalism. It is a day to celebrate the achievements of heroic communist women and to think deeply about the way in which misogyny will be rejected both in a future socialist society and within current communist organisations.

Be a revolutionary – not a cheerleader!

Most importantly, it is the role of communists to oppose the idea that women are inherently passive and inherently weak in their attitude, mind, and spirit. A good illustration of how deeply ingrained these attitudes are in capitalist societies is Wang Zheng’s account from ‘Some of Us’, a collection of memoirs from women who grew up during the Cultural Revolution:

“Not long after I arrived in the United States, I met an American woman at a friend’s home. She told me with apparent pride that her daughter was a cheerleader. I did not know what kind of leader that was. Hearing her explanation, I could not bring myself to present a compliment, as she obviously expected. I just hoped that my eyes would not betray my disdain as I thought to myself, “I guess this American woman has never dreamed of her daughter being a leader cheered by men.” I feel fortunate that I was “brainwashed” to want to be a revolutionary instead of a cheerleader.”

In capitalist society women are expected to be the ‘cheerleaders’ for both working men when they are generating profit for the ruling classes and echoing the media’s misogyny, and for capitalist men when they gather ever greater profits off of the backs of the workers of the world. It is our duty to ensure that while capitalism is destroyed, alongside it goes misogyny, so that such prejudices will never again blight human progress.

Red Youth is having a meeting in Birmingham on 9th March to discuss and celebrate the role of revolutionary women in the struggle to defeat capitalism, imperialism, and fascism, and how women’s liberation is intrinsically linked with worker’s liberation and communism.

Join us to celebrate International Women’s Day!

Meeting: Sunday 9th March, at 1pm

Venue: 274 Moseley Road, Highgate, Birmingham, B12 0BS

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Wahhabi, I$raHell-run center in Jordan leads Syria war

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Saudi and Israeli military officials are running a ‘military operation center’ in Jordan in which they mastermind plots to destroy Syria, Syrian deputy foreign minister Faisal Muqdad has said.

Muqdad who was speaking to Arabic language al-Mayadeen satellite channel on Saturday said, Saudi and Israeli militaries run the center in Jordan while agents from the United States and Jordan also cooperate with them for supporting militants in Syria.

“Syrian government has been saying it from the beginning that the Israeli regime is interfering in Syria crisis and it has proofs and evidences to show this,” he said.

He added, “Israel isn’t just an observer of the war in Syria but it is actually a supporter of all terrorist operations in the country”.

Asked about Saudi Arabia’s role in Syria Muqdad said, “Riyadh’s role is destruction of Syria and killing people”.

However he added, this was coming from the side of a government which is not a ruling system chosen by Saudi people.

Speaking on the upcoming talks planned in Geneva between Syrian government and the foreign-backed opposition, he said, “we will negotiate about future of Syria without any foreign interference but we will never talk to terrorist groups who massacre Syrian people”.

He welcomed Syrian opposition’s decision to take part in the talks and said Syrian government has formed a delegation for taking part in talks stressing that the important thing is that to keep on with the schedule and don’t change the date of the meeting.

After months of wavering stances and rejections, the so-called Syrian National Coalition announced it was going to attend the long-delayed “Geneva 2” talks in January aimed at ending the country’s fatal conflict.

However the deeply-divided opposition is facing rejection from many of its affiliated armed-groups fighting against the Syrian army.

Despite Coalition’s agreement, the so-called Free Syrian Army which is their official armed force on the ground has rejected the talks and refused to put down arms for reconciliation.

Al-Qaeda-linked groups fighting for the Syrian opposition have also rejected taking part in talks as an act of treason.

The war in Syria started in March 2011, when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.

The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.

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Syria militants turn to well-paid spies for Zionist Mossad

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Some reports say hundreds of terrorists have received treatment in Israeli hospitals. Most of them have returned to Syria, where they fight Syrian soldiers.
The Israeli intelligence authorities maintain well-paid links with Syria militants, giving them considerable amounts of money in return for information.

Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National reported on Sunday that at least three different militant groups have been in regular contact with Israeli intelligence officials.

The daily quoted a source from one of the militant groups in southern Syria as saying that all groups have received more than one tranche of funding worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from Israel.

In late February, an unnamed Israeli commander admitted that the Israeli military is in contact with the foreign-backed militant and terrorist groups inside Syria.

The Israeli commander said the militants provided Israeli intelligence officials with information on the identity and medical condition of the wounded militants.

Some reports say hundreds of terrorists have received treatment in Israeli hospitals. Most of them have returned to Syria, where they fight Syrian national army.

On February 18, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a visit to a secret field hospital in the occupied Golan Heights, which offers medical services to the injured militants coming in from Syria.

On February 21, foreign-backed Syrian opposition leader Muhammad Badie reportedly praised Netanyahu for visiting the wounded militants.

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Foreign fighters in Syria stir US, EU terror fears

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A rising number of extremists with Western passports are traveling to Syria is raising terror fears among American and European intelligence officials.
A rising number of extremists with Western passports are traveling to Syria is raising terror fears among American and European intelligence officials.
A rising number of extremists with Western passports are traveling to Syria to fight against the government of Bashar al-Assad, raising fears among American and European intelligence officials of a new terrorist threat when the fighters return home.

More Westerners are now fighting in Syria than fought in conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia or Yemen, according to the officials, The New York Times reported.

The extremist militants go to Syria under the pretext of helping people but there is growing concern that they get orders from affiliates of Al Qaeda to carry out terrorist strikes.

“The concern going forward from a threat perspective is there are individuals traveling to Syria, becoming further radicalized, becoming trained and then returning … to Western Europe and, potentially, to the United States,” Matthew G. Olsen, the director of the National counterterrorism Center, told a security conference in Aspen, Colo., this month.

Classified estimates from Western intelligence services put the number of militants from Europe, North America and Australia who have entered Syria since 2011 at more than 600. That represents about 10 percent of the roughly 6,000 foreign militants who have poured into Syria by way of the Middle East and North Africa.

Most of the Westerners are self-radicalized and are traveling on their own initiative to Turkey, where rebel facilitators often link them up with specific groups, terrorism experts say.

Many have joined ranks with the Qaeda-aligned Nusra Front, which American officials have designated as a terrorist group.

“The scale of this is completely different from what we’ve experienced in the past,” Gilles de Kerchove, the European Union’s counterterrorism coordinator, said at the conference in Aspen.

So far, terrorism experts say, there have been no documented terrorist plots linked to European or other Western fighters returning from Syria, but France’s interior minister, Manuel Valls, recently called the threat “a ticking time bomb.”

Security services across Europe are stepping up their surveillance efforts and seeking ways to make it more difficult for people suspected of being radicalized to travel to Syria.

European and other Western intelligence agencies are rushing to work together to track the individuals seeking to cross the border into Syria from Turkey, though several American officials expressed frustration that Turkey is not taking more aggressive steps to stem the flow of Europeans going to fight in Syria.

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Foreign militants blamed for polio outbreak in Syria

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The United Nations health agency confirmed 10 polio cases in northeast Syria, the first confirmed outbreak of the disease in the country in 14 years.
The United Nations health agency confirmed 10 polio cases in northeast Syria, the first confirmed outbreak of the disease in the country in 14 years.
Foreign militants who have come to Syria to wage war are responsible for the outbreak of polio in the rebel-controlled north, a government minister has said.

Minister of Social Affairs Kindah al-Shammat said on Sunday that militants from Pakistan were to blame.

Al-Shammat added, “The virus originates in Pakistan and has been brought to Syria by the militants who come from Pakistan.”

Pakistan is one of three countries where polio remains endemic.

Al-Shammat said the government has launched an immunization campaign to “protect all children in Syria.”

However, the presence of different terrorist groups in the northern areas along Turkey border puts obstacles in the way of the vaccination campaign.

Last week, the United Nations health agency confirmed 10 polio cases in northeast Syria, the first confirmed outbreak of the disease in the country in 14 years, raising a risk of spreading across the region. The confirmed cases are among babies and toddlers, all under 2, who were “under-immunized,” according to the World Health Organization. The agency is awaiting lab results on another 12 cases showing polio symptoms.

Thousands of foreign terrorists have joined militants in the war against Syrian government.

The Syrian war has triggered a humanitarian crisis on a massive scale, driving nearly 7 million people from their homes and destroying a country that once offered subsidized health care, including immunizations.

Nearly all Syrian children were vaccinated against polio before the conflict began more than 2 1/2 years ago.

The polio virus, a highly contagious disease, usually infects children in unsanitary conditions through the consumption of food or liquid contaminated with feces. It attacks the nerves and can kill or paralyze, and can spread widely and unnoticed before it starts crippling children. The disease was last reported in Syria in 1999.

 

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Syrian doctors join gov’t in 4th Polio vaccination campaign

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Syrian refugee children look out from their shelter in Hatay, Turkey, on January 20, 2014.
Syrian refugee children look out from their shelter in Hatay, Turkey, on January 20, 2014.
Syrian Ministry of Health has launched the fourth round of national polio vaccination campaign which is going to last until next Thursday.

Director of the Vaccination Program, doctor Nedal Abu Rashid, said that the campaign was launched in all provinces through 1200 centers and tens of medical points and mobile crews, the official SANA news agency reported Sunday.

According to abu Rashid, 7080 doctors and 1884 volunteers are taking part in this campaign.

Abu Rashid added that the current campaign is marked with more participation of volunteers and civil society which would help the campaign reach more areas than before.

He hoped to help more children in the fourth round.

Some 2,719,280 children were vaccinated in the third campaign, according to SANA.

The outbreak of Polio was reported in October in Syria’s Deir Ezzor.

Almost all children living in Syria were vaccinated against the paralyzing disease before the militancy broke out in the country.

The war in Syria started in March 2011, when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.

Since the start of the war al-Qaeda affiliated groups have been emerging under different names in Syria, fighting at the side of the US-backed opposition which is leading one of the bloodiest conflicts in the recent history.

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