Archive | June 27th, 2018

Putin-Trump meeting set for July 16 in Helsinki, Kremlin confirms

NOVANEWS
Putin-Trump meeting set for July 16 in Helsinki, Kremlin confirms
The much-anticipated talks between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are set for July 16 in Helsinki, Finland, the Kremlin and White House confirmed. This will be the pair’s first meeting held outside of multilateral summits.

Putin will meet with his US counterpart in the Nordic nation on July 16th,  the Kremlin confirmed. “According to the arrangement reached [with the US side], Putin and Trump will meet in Helsinki on July 16,” the Kremlin said in a statement on Thursday.

It said discussions on the “current state of US-Russia ties” as well as “relevant international issues” will be on the meeting’s agenda.

READ MORE: Trump to meet Putin regardless of ‘noise’ at home as it’s in US national interest – Bolton

Previously, the Russian president’s adviser Yury Ushakov said the one-on-one is likely to last “for a few hours,” adding that a working breakfast and other protocol events are also scheduled. The adviser called the sit-down “the main international event of this summer,” given its importance for the two powers and the global community.

US National Security Advisor John Bolton, who visited Moscow on Wednesday, said that “despite the political noise in the US,” direct communications between Trump and Putin are in the “best interest of our country.”

“A full range of issues” will be discussed by the pair when they finally get together, including arms control, alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, and Moscow rejoining the G8, he said.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on Putin-Trump meeting set for July 16 in Helsinki, Kremlin confirms

Sanctions Bite, and Iran Hasn’t Forgotten

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Take off the “feel good” Alt-Media glasses and face the facts, sanctions are very successful in inflicting Hybrid War harm against victimized states, which is an “inconvenient reality” that Iran’s being reminded of right now.

Contrary to the “politically correct” Alt-Media dogma that sanctions “only make states stronger”, some of them are inevitably destabilized by this asymmetrical weapon whenever it takes on Hybrid War dimensions, as it currently is in Iran.

The Islamic Republic is being besieged from within due to the external encouragement of the time-tested tool of speculation as a means for influencing the country’s financial and currency markets, with the result being that economically driven protests are spreading throughout the country’s capital and into other cities as well. These aren’t the first such mass demonstrations this year because Iran earlier had to deal with large-scale protests over similar issues roughly six months ago, which were also sparked by civil society’s discontent and ended up being guided  by largely unseen foreign hands in the direction of destabilization, too.

The Spurious Kurdish Connection

The same phenomenon is repeating itself once again, albeit possibly with the intent of transforming the previous “test run” into the “real thing”, or in other words, seeing foreign state actors (mostly the US & Saudi Arabia) providing clandestine military support to urban and rural terrorist/”insurgent” forces in order to provoke a self-sustaining cycle of escalation that could be manipulated for geopolitical ends. Last winter’s unrest could in hindsight be seen as a probe for gauging the government’s response and testing the limits of what could “acceptably” be done before eliciting a reaction from the security forces. Armed with this contextual Color Revolution knowledge, they then proceeded to experiment with their modified techniques in Iranian Kurdistan, which has a militant history of preexisting identity discord and is therefore the most susceptible part of the country to Hybrid War.

The authorities cracked down on smuggling in this region in early spring, but this had the effect of prompting protests by the impoverished locals who complained that they couldn’t receive much-needed supplies at the prices that they had previously depended on. Moreover, the Kurdish population was already predisposed to more political assertiveness following the nationalist demonstration effect that they observed in neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan last fall after the region’s unsuccessful independence attempt. The cocktail of nationalist and economic concerns created fertile ground for demagogues to argue that the entire population should take to the street in order to resist the government’s anti-smuggling crackdown. Although disconnected from the current events in Tehran, the Mainstream Media narrative will predictably be that this new round of protests originated in Iranian Kurdistan and have since spread nationwide.

The “Zero Tolerance” Chain Reaction

The present events are driven more by speculation (whether unfounded or not) than anything else because many people are worried that Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, the reimposition of sanctions, and subsequent November deadline for the world to stop purchasing Iranian oil will totally wreck their economy and lead to a sharp decrease in living standards. After all, the US’ “zero tolerance” policy of refusing to issue any “secondary sanctions” waivers to China and India – Iran’s two largest energy partners – might lead to them curtailing their oil imports in order to avert a more pronounced trade war with America. Should this happen, then the US would succeed in Asia against Iran where it failed in Europe against Russia by significantly dipping into its opponent’s market share and therefore depriving it of much-needed cash revenue.

Making matters even more pronounced is that many Iranians, and particularly those in the urban areas such as Tehran, genuinely believed in the false hopes that the “reformist”-led Rouhani government encouraged in their hearts after the 2015 deal that convinced them that their personal futures would be brighter than ever before. Whether this was a deception all along or just a terrible and mismanaged policy to begin with, the fact of the matter is that many people feel deeply disappointed by what happened and might be less willing to passively accept a worsening of their living conditions no matter how much the government says that Trump is solely responsible for this. The knock-off effect of this speculation is that the value of the Iranian rial has plunged and everything is now naturally more expensive for everybody.

Screenshot from Reuters, June 25, 218

In response, the authorities banned the import of 1300 products in a bid to boost Iran’s “resistance economy” of “Make in Iran” import-substitution, though it may take an undetermined length of time for this policy to reap actual results in placating the anxious and protesting masses. In the meantime, a “window of opportunity” has opened up for external forces to exacerbate the economically driven internal unrest in an attempt to steer it towards a geopolitical direction. The government is well aware of this scheme and that’s why the Ayatollah decreed that “economic security” must be safeguarded at all costs in order to prevent this manufactured crisis’ exacerbation and the US’ resultant artificial recreation of the same series of events that led to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Recreating The Revolution

The Shah’s primary weakness wasn’t so much that he was an authoritarian ruler, but that he failed to improve the economy to the point where the majority of the population wouldn’t care about political issues because everything was comfortably taken care of for them. Economic protests eventually spiraled out of control after the state resorted to using its monopoly on violence against peaceful demonstrators, therefore triggering a self-sustaining escalation cycle that never abated no matter how hard the government tried. This quickly led to the Shah’s overthrow, which was soon thereafter taken advantage of by the Ayatollah in order to usher in an Islamic Republic on the backs of the many leftist protesters who made the revolution happen in the first place.

Adapting this model to the present day, the US is hoping that the state security forces either overreact to the economic protests (some degree of which are being directly and indirectly influenced from abroad) or are pressed into do so by the most unruly rioters’ provocations, which could then set into motion the “revolutionary” Hybrid War cycle that could see the Islamo-Marxist MEK terrorists becoming the vanguard force for destabilizing the Iranian state at the behest of its US and Saudi patrons. Accordingly, this could spark the series of cascading scenarios elaborated on by the author in his July 2016 analytical forecast about “The US-Saudi Plan To Prompt An Iranian Pullback From Syria” that include the foreign empowerment of ethno-regional terrorist/”insurgent” groups all around the Persians’ periphery.

The end goal of the ongoing Hybrid War on Iran is the same as it always has been, and that’s to advance the interconnected objectives of Regime Tweaking, Regime Change, and Regime Reboot (R-TCR). This phased progression of asymmetrical pressure first seeks to compel the targeted state, which in this case is Iran, into unilateral political concessions such as downscaling its physical and ideological presence in its Mideast “sphere of influence” in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen before ultimately withdrawing just like the 1980s USSR did its Eastern European “sphere of influence” in the late 1980s. Should that be unsuccessful, then the next step is to try and overthrow the government prior to “rebooting” its entire state structure through “constitutional reform” that “Balkanizes” it into “Identity Federalized” components that can be more “easily managed” through classic divide-and-rule means.

The Way Forward 

Bearing this grand strategy in mind and the invaluable experiences that the US & its allies acquired over the past half a year through “test runs”, it should be anticipated that Iran’s adversaries are going to “twist the knife” through concerted economic (sanctions) and asymmetrical (terrorist) warfare measures in order to throw the Islamic Republic into Hybrid War chaos through the triggering of the self-sustaining cycle of escalation that was discussed earlier. Iran runs the very real risk of becoming embroiled in a serious conflict if it doesn’t regain control of the strategic dynamics at play, to which end it must take care not to overreact to provocations but should nevertheless demonstrate resolve when responding to them. Furthermore, the state must clearly explain to the people how it plans to implement its “resistance economy” and what “collective sacrifices” this entails.

Concurrent with this, an information campaign must be initiated whereby the state informs the people about the geopolitical motivations and practical mechanisms for externally exploiting their domestic economic situation, taking partial responsibility for some policy failings and prevailing naiveté in making the country more vulnerable to these asymmetrical attacks. It’s impractical at this point to blame everything solely on Trump – whether wholly justified in doing so or not – because it doesn’t change anything in tangible terms for the people who are suffering or stand to suffer the most, especially after their unrealistically high hopes from 2015 were dramatically dashed by the cold slap of unipolarity. It’s possible that the state might quietly make Russian-facilitated “compromises” in Syria in an effort to alleviate the heavy pressure being put on it, but even this wouldn’t likely be enough to earn much relief.

Therefore, the only sustainable solution is for Iran to unapologetically embrace the Golden Ring of Multipolar Great Powers by redirecting its strategic focus eastward in response to the multifaceted challenges facing it on the western front in the aforementioned domains of its Mideast “sphere of influence”. It’s not to say that Iran should “surrender” its hard-fought influence in these countries, but just that it needs to reconceptualize its role in Eurasia and urgently begin exploring real-sector economic opportunities in the supercontinent in order to “balance” its hitherto ideologically-driven foreign policy that has yet to yield the profits that its people need in order to withstand this latest Hybrid War siege. The context of this latest coordinated effort at regime change is vastly different than what Iran experienced in the 1980s given the changed international (New Cold War) and domestic (economic and demographic) conditions, which is why a radical policy readjustment might be necessary.

Concluding Thoughts

It’s no longer possible to downplay the economic unrest in Iran and completely attribute it to foreign forces because the highly publicized shutdown of the Tehran bazaar attests to the very real nature of what’s happening. There’s undoubtedly an external hand involved in manipulating the structural circumstances in which regular Iranians have found themselves, but observers can’t overlook the fact that well-intentioned people are nevertheless still participating in these events in spite of that as they protest their deteriorating living standards and desperately attempt to stave off what they’ve been speculatively led to believe will be their continued worsening in the future. Having learned from the two “test runs” that took place at the beginning of the year in urban locales across the country and then later on in rural Iranian Kurdistan, the US and its allies have acquired a keen sense of understanding over how they could guide developments in the direction of their grand strategic interests.

The danger is that massive apolitical protests by a majority of peaceful people will be hijacked by a few terrorist/”insurgent” provocateurs who try their utmost to trick the state into a militant overreaction that could inevitably lead to the loss of civilian life, after which the “Rules For Radicals” decontextualization and subsequent reframing of the situation as “unprovoked killings by the dictatorship’s security services” could fuel a self-sustaining cycle of violence. Building off of the intermittent disturbances in Iranian Kurdistan, the country’s enemies could then exploit this region as the epicenter of Hybrid War destabilization by encouraging the return of Kurdish jihadis and the MEK-facilitated arming of the “Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran” (whose leader just visited Washington). From there, it may be possible to spark other peripheral “insurgencies” that divert the attention of the security services and open the state up to an unexpected blow at either a predetermined moment or the “right opportunity”.

The end goal is to overthrow the mullah-managed republic and replace it with an “Identity Federation” that makes the “New Iran” incomparably easier to control through divide-and-rule means, though this won’t happen so long as the country continues to resist the Hybrid War against it. The security services have repeatedly proven their capability in handling all manner of threats, but the government must spearhead an economic solution for sustaining its military gains and ensuring the continued “compliance” of the population. The last thing that the state needs is countless well-intentioned citizens refusing to leave the streets and inadvertently being taken advantage of as “human shields” by provocateurs, which is why something must urgently be done to placate the restless people. Seeing as how Iran’s western-directed ideologically-driven foreign policy of the past decades hasn’t yielded any real economic results, it’s sensible to at least consider whether a pragmatic geostrategic redirection eastward towards the Golden Ring is long overdue.

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If you have the means to make a small or substantial donation to contribute to our fight for truth, peace and justice around the world, your gesture would be much appreciated.

Posted in IranComments Off on Sanctions Bite, and Iran Hasn’t Forgotten

Prince William to pay FIRST ever visit to his great-grandmother Princess Alice’s tomb

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TODAY Prince William will pay his first ever visit to the tomb of his great-grandmother Princess Alice of Battenberg, whose last wishes were to be buried in a crypt below a Russian Orthodox church in east Jerusalem.

Prince William attends Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem

The Duke of Cambridge, who is on a five-day visit to the Middle East, will visit the tomb of his great-grandmother at the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem on the last morning of his tour.

Princess Alice, the deaf-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, is particularly lauded in Israel for sheltering a persecuted Jewish family during the Holocaust.

On Tuesday, Prince William was thanked for the courage of Princess Alice by Evy and Philippe Cohen, the descendants of Rachel Cohen, who was sheltered, along with some of her children, in the Princess’ home in Greece.

Mr Cohen told the Prince: “We all owe our existence to the courage of Princess Alice.”

Royal news, prince william, prince william tour, royal official tour, princess aliceGetty

rince William will pay his first ever visit to the tomb of his great-grandmother Princess Alice

“It allowed us to tell a really difficult but beautiful part of the family history.

“Prince William was very proud to know that his great-grandmother had saved our whole family.

“He seemed to know the story very well, and asked us questions regarding our family and how it happened.”

Princess Alice saved the Cohens following her friendship with Haimaki Cohen, a Jew and former MP.

With his visit, Prince William will be following the footsteps of his father and grandfather.

Prince Philip visited Yad Vashem in 1994 and planted a tree there in his mother’s honour and also visited her grave site.

Prince William meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Royal news, prince william, prince william tour, royal official tour, princess aliceGetty

Princess Alice dressed in RAF uniform as she arrives in a car to attend a RAF engagement in 1970

Charles, the Prince of Wales, paid a similar tribute in 2016.

Hugo Vickers, a Royal historian who wrote a book about Princess Alice, compared William’s great-grandmother to his deceased mother Princess Diana.

He said: “I think Prince William may see in her a certain quality that his mother had.

“She was also good with the poor and the sick, the old and the young.”

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UKComments Off on Prince William to pay FIRST ever visit to his great-grandmother Princess Alice’s tomb

Iran’s Chabahar Port Is Where Asian and Middle Eastern Rivalries Collide

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Iran’s Indian-back port of Chabahar, inaugurated months before the United States re-imposed sanctions on the Islamic republic, is where Asia and the Middle East’s multiple political conflicts and commercial rivalries collide.

Chabahar was destined to become a player in geopolitical and economic manoeuvring between China, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Central Asian states even without the re-imposition of sanctions.

The sanctions have, however, significantly enhanced its importance as Iran struggles to offset the likely punishing impact of US efforts to force the Islamic republic to alter its foreign and defense policy and/or achieve a change of regime.

Iran sees the port together with the Indian-backed Chabahar Free Trade Zone, that hopes to host a steel mill and a petrochemical complex, as the motor of development of the Iranian section of the Makran coast. Iran’s province of Sistan and Balochistan shares the coast line with the Pakistani province of Balochistan, home to the Chinese-backed rival port of Gwadar.

Saudi Arabia sees the Pakistani region as a launching pad of a potential effort by the kingdom and/or the United States to destabilizing the Islamic republic by stirring unrest among its ethnic minorities, including the Baluch. Saudi Arabia has put the building blocks in place for possible covert action but has to date given no indication that it intends to act on proposals to support irredentist action.

A study written by Mohammed Hassan Husseinbor, an Iranian of Baloch origin, and published by the International Institute for Iranian Studies, formerly known as the Arabian Gulf Centre for Iranian Studies, a Saudi government-backed think tank, argued that Chabahar posed “a direct threat to the Arab Gulf states” that called for “immediate counter measures.”

Mr. Husseinbor said Chabahar would enable Iran to increase market share in India for its oil exports at the expense of Saudi Arabia, raise foreign investment in the Islamic republic, increase Iranian government revenues, and allow Iran to project power in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

Saudi Arabia, months before the US re-imposition of sanctions, already sought to thwart development of Chabahar by stopping South Korea’s POSCO Engineering & Construction from moving ahead with a $1.6 billion agreement with Iranian steelmaker Pars Kohan Diar Parsian Steel (PKP) to build a steel mill in Chabahar. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has a 38 percent stake in POSCO.

“This project mandatorily requires the decision of the board of directors. However, as relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia rapidly grew worse after a severance of diplomatic ties last year, outside directors in the board meeting are having negative stances on Iran projects, especially those requiring investment and JVC (joint venture company) establishment,” POSCO said in a letter to PKP.

POSCO said it had difficulty “convincing and reaching consent on the unfavourable opinion from the outside directors.”

The POSCO letter signalled that Chabahar’s success would depend on the political will of governments with India and Iran in the lead rather than on any hope to attract private sector investment.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the signing of the trilateral transit agreement between the three countries in May 2016. (Source: CC BY-SA 2.0)

India was earlier this month forced to drop a demand that the winner of a bid to manage the Chabahar port pay an upfront US$8.52 million premium.

“We were charging a premium from the successful bidder to meet our preliminary expenses. But the shortlisted bidders said that the project is of strategic importance and is not commercially viable,” said an Indian official.

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj insisted last month that her country would not bow to US pressure to adhere to the Trump administration’s sanctions.

“India follows only UN sanctions, and not unilateral sanctions by any country,” Ms. Swaraj said.

Beyond the port’s economic importance for Iran, it will also likely allow the Islamic republic to increase its influence in Afghanistan at a time that the United States and Saudi Arabia are stepping up economic cooperation with Kabul in a bid to isolate both Iran and the Taliban.

For its part, Afghanistan sees the port as a way to reduce its transport dependence on Pakistan with which it has strained relations.

Despite the US cloud hanging over it, Chabahar’s potential significance goes beyond whether it will contribute to the Iranian effort.

India hopes that its US$500 million investment in the port will offer it a gateway to Afghanistan and land-locked Central Asia that constitutes an alternative to infrastructure related to China’s Belt and Road initiative, including the $50 billion plus China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and an anti-dote to Chinese investment in Indian Ocean ports.

If geopolitics did not already amount to a full plate, Chabahar is likely, together with a host of ports in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Oman and Qatar, to challenge the longstanding dominance in the Indian Ocean of Dubai’s Jebel Ali port.

Commercial competition between ports has been reinforced by the Saudi-Iranian battle for regional hegemony as well as the Gulf spat between Qatar and a Saudi-United Arab Emirates-led alliance that a year ago imposed an economic and diplomatic boycott on the Gulf state and the war in Yemen.

As a result, commercial, military and geopolitical drivers for port investment in the region have blurred and expanded the multiples rivalries into the Horn of Africa with the UAE and others, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar jockeying for position in Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Yemen and Djibouti.

Said NATO Defence College analyst Eleonora Ardemagni:

“The political rift in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) weakens economic integration prospects and as a consequence cooperation among commercial ports. The Qatari crisis opened a new chapter in intra-GCC relations marking the emergence of latent nationalism in the Arab Gulf region: the rising geopolitics of ports is going to further unveil this trend.”

*

This article was also published on The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer.

Dr. James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and co-host of the New Books in Middle Eastern Studies podcast. James is the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog, a book with the same title as well as Comparative Political Transitions between Southeast Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, co-authored with Dr. Teresita Cruz-Del Rosario,  Shifting Sands, Essays on Sports and Politics in the Middle East and North Africaand the forthcoming China and the Middle East: Venturing into the Maelstrom

Featured image is by Alireza numberone/CC BY-SA 4.0.


Can you help us keep up the work we do? Namely, bring you the important news overlooked or censored by the mainstream media and fight the corporate and government propaganda, the purpose of which is, more than ever, to “fabricate consent” and advocate war for profit.

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If you have the means to make a small or substantial donation to contribute to our fight for truth, peace and justice around the world, your gesture would be much appreciated.

Posted in IranComments Off on Iran’s Chabahar Port Is Where Asian and Middle Eastern Rivalries Collide

The Economic Atom Bombing of Syria

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The United States, the European Union, the Arab League, Turkey, Canada and Australia have collectively taken measures since 2011, and the United States since 1979, to destroy Syria’s economy. The measures are illegal under international law, which prohibits states from using economic pressure, outside the framework of the UN Security Council, to coerce other states. With Syrians fleeing sanctions-induced economic collapse, joblessness, crumbling infrastructure and a public health care system in tatters, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Syria has spoken out. But is anyone listening?

Washington’s long war on Syria comprises three major elements: a proxy war waged by Islamist insurgents; an occupation of almost one-third of Syria by US and allied troops [1]; and a program of economic warfare. If we understand war to represent an attempt by one state to impose its will on another, then all three elements, including the economic one, are expressions of war, and Washington’s long war on Syria must be understood as a multi-faceted enterprise involving more than aerial bombing, firefights, cruise missile launches, and suicide attacks, however much the military aspects of the war command attention and the economic aspects evade it.

That economic warfare, or sanctions, can properly be considered a form of warfare is evidenced in the description of sanctions in international law as “coercive economic measures”. “Coercion” is coterminous with one state imposing its will on (that is, coercing) another. The Human Rights Council of the United Nations recognizes that some states have used economic measures to coerce other states “to obtain from [them] the subordination of the exercise of [their] sovereign rights and to secure … advantages.” [2] In its aims and effects, economic coercion is indistinguishable from military coercion. That is, not only are its goals the same, but its consequences—the breakdown of economies, collapse of infrastructure and government support systems, disease, malnutrition, and death—are also the same.

The coercive economic measures deployed by Western states to impose their will on other states are largely invisible to Western publics. Few citizens of the countries which deploy anti-Syria sanctions appear to know that the Arab state has been inflicted with “a complex network of non-UN ‘economic sanctions’” [3], and that one country, the United States, has waged an unceasing economic war on Syria since the late 1970s.

Western publics also appear to be largely unaware that:

  • These measures, implemented without the imprimatur of the UN Security Council, are “contrary to international law, international humanitarian law, the [UN] Charter and the norms and principles governing peaceful relations among States”; [4]
  • “[T]hose involved in delivering humanitarian projects consistently report that [sanctions] often … act as an impediment in the smooth and rapid delivery of humanitarian aid”; [5]
  • And that sanctions “have had a devastating impact on the entire economy and the daily lives of ordinary Syrians.” [6] Indeed, referring to the coercive economic measures imposed on Syria by the West, the UN’s Special Rapporteur has concluded that “Claims that [the sanctions] exist to protect the Syrian population, or to promote a democratic transition, are hard to reconcile with the economic and humanitarian suffering being caused.” [7]

The virtual invisibility of illegal coercive economic measures to Western publics makes the measures particularly attractive to Western states as a means of waging war. People cannot object to a war they’re unaware of. Additionally, when people are aware of their governments’ sanctions, the measures are widely misunderstood as a pacific alternative to military intervention, and misrepresented as having effects limited to the decision-makers of enemy governments, rather than correctly understood as an instrument of war, with devastating consequences for the enemy country’s civilian population. Hence, when citizens know their government has sanctioned another state, they are likely to believe the measures are largely immaterial for the targeted country’s civilian population, and are at best a nuisance to the country’s leadership.

This is far from the truth. The reality is that the effects of sanctions are often more lethal than the consequences of conventional military coercion. Writing in Foreign Affairs, the unofficial journal of the US State Department, John Mueller and Karl Mueller showed that the coercive economic measures inflicted upon Iraq during the 1990s produced more deaths than all the weapons of mass destruction in history, including all the chemical weapons used in the First World War and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Indeed, the Muellers found coercive economic measures to be so devastating to qualify as instruments of mass destruction, even more injurious to civilian populations that weapons of mass destruction. [8]

Considering that the number of deaths attributable to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (200,000) are less than half as large as the number of sanctions-related deaths in Iraq (more than 500,000), the implication is that the economic element of the war on the Arab nationalist state was tantamount to an attack of two atom bombs. [9] Viewed in this light, it is difficult to apprehend coercive economic measures as a pacific alternative to military coercion. They are, on the contrary, instruments of war whose effects may well be far more devastating than military measures, and therefore, more effective in coercing their target, but also more inhumane and more objectionable on moral grounds.

The coercive economic measures inflicted on Syria by the United States:

  • Began long before the 2011 Islamist unrest in Syria, challenging the view that they are a reaction to the Syrian government’s response to the jihadist revolt (presented in the West dishonestly as a democratic uprising);
  • Are illegal, impugning the view that the United States and its allies seek to uphold the rule of law and a rule-governed international order;
  • Have caused immense suffering among ordinary Syrians, contesting the notion that the use of coercive economic measures by Washington and its allies is motivated by humanitarian considerations.

The US-led project of anti-Syria economic coercion—illegal, destructive, and a major cause of economic breakdown and human suffering—has but one aim: to create intolerable misery in Syria until Damascus capitulates to the international dictatorship of the United States.

The Sanctions

The United States imposed sanctions on Syria as early as 1979, designating the Arab republic a state sponsor of terrorism, citing its support for groups engaged in the anti-colonial struggle against Washington’s principal proxy in the Arab world, Israel. Anti-colonial struggle was defamed as terrorism and support for the former maligned as support for the latter.

US Army in Syria (Source: Inside Syria Media Center)

Washington stepped up its coercive economic measures against Syria on December 12, 2003, in the wake of the US invasion and occupation of neighboring Iraq. A year earlier, Washington had declared Syria part of an Axis of Evil, along with Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Libya (two of these countries, Iraq and Libya, were subsequently invaded and regime changed.) The Congressional Research Service—the US Congress’s think tank—revealed that Washington contemplated an invasion of Syria following the invasion of Iraq, but that the unanticipated heavy burden of pacifying Iraq and Afghanistan militated against an additional expenditure of blood and treasure in Syria. [10] As an alternative, the United States chose to pressure Damascus through sanctions and support for jihadist groups opposed to the secular Arab nationalist government; in other words, Washington reached for different instruments to prosecute its war on Syria.

The principal component of the 2003 tranche of US sanctions, the Syria Accountability Act, was aimed at coercing Damascus to abandon its support for Hezbollah and Palestinian resistance groups and to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction, especially its chemical weapons, and to forswear the acquisition of other WMD. To put this simply, the Arab republic was expected to renounce the anti-colonial struggle and to surrender its means of self-defense. The sanctions included bans on the export of military equipment and civilian goods that could be used for military purposes (in other words, practically anything). This was reinforced with an additional (and largely superfluous) ban on U.S. exports to Syria other than food and medicine. [11]

On top of these sanctions, the Bush administration imposed two more. Under the USA Patriot Act, the U.S. Treasury Department ordered U.S. financial institutions to sever connections with the Commercial Bank of Syria, severely restricting Syria’s access to the world’s banking system. And under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the U.S. president froze the assets of Syrians involved in supporting policies hostile to the United States, which is to say, supporting Hezbollah and groups fighting for Palestinian self-determination, refusing to acquiesce to Zionist colonialism, and operating a largely publicly-owned, state-planned economy, based on what US government researchers termed “Soviet models.” [12]

The sanctions devastated Syria. In October 2011, The New York Times reported that the Syrian economy “was buckling under the pressure of sanctions by the West.” [13] By the spring of 2012, sanctions-induced financial hemorrhaging had “forced Syrian officials to stop providing education, health care and other essential services in some parts of the country,” according to The Washington Post. [14]

If that weren’t enough, Washington imposed yet another tranche of sanctions in 2011. The European Union followed with its own coercive economic measures, imposing “considerable restrictions on the types of financial services” EU banks could “offer in Syria.” The sanctions also prohibited “the export into Syria of certain ‘dual use’ goods.” [15] “In totality, the US and EU sanctions on Syria are some of the most complicated and far-reaching sanctions regimes ever imposed,” concluded a report prepared for the United Nations Economic & Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). [16] And yet, Turkey, the Arab League, Canada and Australia, felt compelled to add to the staggering weight of sanctions already inflicted on the small Arab republic.

In May of this year, the Special Rapporteur on Syria described the sanctions— “different packages of collective sectoral measures, together with the across-the-board … financial restrictions”— as “tantamount in their global impact to the imposition of comprehensive restrictions” [17]—in other words, effectively a total blockade.

And while exceptions are theoretically carved out to allow the flow of humanitarian relief into Syria, a report prepared for ESCWA pointed out that there “is perilous reluctance among western suppliers and banks to offer humanitarian goods and related finance, in part, for fear of sanctions issues, such as fines for inadvertent technical violations.” [18] The Special Rapporteur observed that

“The uncertainty around what transactions do, or do not violate the unilateral coercive measures, have created a ‘chilling effect’ on international banks and companies, which as a result are unwilling or unable to do business with Syria.” [19]

As a consequence, the entry points through which humanitarian aid is supposed to flow exist in theory alone.

The Effects

Since 2011 “the total annual GDP of Syria has fallen by two thirds. Foreign currency reserves have been depleted, and international financial and other assets remain frozen.’” [20] The damage to the economy has impaired “the ability of Syrians to realize their economic, social and cultural rights,” reports the Special Rapporteur. “Syria’s human development indicators have all tumbled. There has been a staggering increase in the rate of poverty among ordinary Syrians. While there was no food insecurity prior to the outbreak of violence, by 2015 32% of Syrians were affected. At the same time unemployment rose from 8.5% in 2010 to over 48% in 2015.” [21]

The croissant stand in Aamarie district of Thomas Gate is known not only to Damascenes but visitors from other areas of Syria. While prices for most goods have risen all across Syria, the stand keeps its prices low: 125 Syrian pounds per sumptuous croissant. On the first day of ‘Eid celebrations the stand is packed. (Source: MintPress News)

Financial sanctions have severely limited Damascus’s ability to purchase drugs, medical equipment, spare parts and software. In “practice international private companies are unwilling to jump the hurdles necessary to ensure they can transact [business] with Syria without being accused of inadvertently violating the restrictive measures.” [22] As a consequence, Syria’s public health care system—once, one of the finest in the region—is in a state of virtual collapse.

The Special Rapporteur notes that:

The ban on the trade in equipment, machinery and spare parts has devastated Syrian industry. Vehicles, including ambulances and fire trucks, as well as agricultural machinery suffer from a lack of spare parts. Failing water pumps gravely affect the water supply and reduce agricultural production. Power generation plants are failing, and new plants cannot be purchased or maintained, leading to power outages. Complex machinery requiring international technicians for maintenance are failing, damaging medical devices and factory machinery. Civilian aircraft are no longer able to fly safely, and public transit buses are in woeful condition. [23]

On top of this:

Syrians are unable to purchase many technologies, including mobile phones and computers. The global dominance of American software companies, technology companies, and banking and financial software, all of which are banned, has made it difficult to find alternatives. This has paralyzed or disrupted large parts of Syrian institutions. [24]

Finally, the West’s coercive economic measures have contributed strongly to the migration crisis

While the security situation was a central factor which led to migration flows from Syria, it should be emphasized that the dramatic increase in unemployment, the lack of job opportunities, the closure of factories unable to obtain raw materials or machinery or to export their goods have all contributed to increasing the emigration of Syrians. Some [Western states] have selected skilled migrants, while pressuring the less fortunate to return to Syria. This ‘brain drain’ has harmed the medical and pharmaceutical industries in particular, at the worst possible time for Syria. [25]

Commenting on the sanctions, the veteran foreign affairs correspondent Patrick Cockburn observed that the US and EU sanctions resemble the Iraqi sanctions regime, and are “an economic siege on Syria.” He surmised that the siege is killing numberless Syrians through disease and malnutrition, as the siege on Iraq killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis during the 1990s. [26]

The Law

All of this is illegal. Sanctions outside of the Security Council framework are prohibited under international law. And yet the United States, the European Union, Canada and Australia—countries which present themselves as champions of the rule of law and a rules-based international order—thwart the very rule of law they claim to uphold. By their actions, they reveal that it is not a rules-based international order they seek, but a US-dictated international order, in which the rules apply to all states but the United States, which rules. As Graham Allison, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at the Harvard Kennedy School, unapologetically put it in the current (July/August 2018) issue of Foreign Affairs:

Many forget…that even the UN Charter, which prohibits nations from using military force against other nations or intervening in their internal affairs, privileges the strong over the weak. … As the Indian strategist C. Raja Mohan has observed, superpowers are “exceptional”; that is, when they decide it suits their purpose, they make exceptions for themselves. The fact that in the first 17 years of this century, the self-proclaimed leader of the [rules-based international] order invaded two countries, conducted air strikes and Special Forces raids to kill hundreds of people it unilaterally deemed to be terrorists, and subjected scores of others to ‘extraordinary rendition,’ often without any international legal authority (and sometimes without even national legal authority), speaks for itself. [27]

Allison added:

The United States has never “refrained from using military force to protect its interests when the use of force violated international rules.” [28]

He might have added that neither has it ever allowed the rule of law to deter it from using economic coercion.

The hypocrisy doesn’t end there. These same states have arrogated onto themselves the mantle of privileged interpreters and defenders of human rights, while at the same time negating the human rights of the people who live in former colonized countries whose states assert their independence in the face of Western efforts to abridge their sovereignty. Both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights declare that a people may not be deprived of its own means of subsistence—precisely what the West’s economic sanctions are intended to do. Additionally, the UN’s Human Rights Council declares that “unilateral coercive measures [have negative impacts] on the right to life, the rights to health and medical care, the right to freedom from hunger and the right to an adequate standard of living, food, education, work and housing.” [29]

According to the Article 5 of the United Nation’s Declaration on the Right to Development:

States shall take resolute steps to eliminate the massive and flagrant violations of the human rights of peoples and human beings affected by situations such as those resulting from…foreign domination and occupation, aggression, foreign interference and threats against national sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity, threats of war and refusal to recognize the fundamental rights of peoples to self-determination.

Notwithstanding this declaration, Washington and its allies have actively taken steps to interfere in Syria’s internal affairs, issue threats of war and undertake aggressions, violate Syria’s territorial integrity, and occupy part of its territory.

What’s more, states are prohibited from using “any type of measure, including but not limited to economic or political measures, to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights and to secure from it advantages of any kind.” [30]

Western states may object, protesting that they seek in their imposition of sanctions no advantages for themselves, but only to bring about a democratic transition in Syria. The objection is easily dismissed as false.

To begin, the Islamist insurgents supported by the West, aspire, not to a democratic transition, but to the rule of the Koran (or their interpretation of it); indeed, they regard democracy as a man-made system of governance, inferior to what they see as the God-given way revealed in Islam. The major opposition to the Syrian government on the ground has been ISIS, al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups—hardly democrats. [31]

What’s more, the United States’ greatest allies in the Arab world are absolutist monarchs—kings, sultans, emirs, complemented by a military dictator, the very antitheses of the democrats Washington professes to admire and support.

Syria, by contrast, is one of the few Arab countries with an elected legislature and elected president. A fortiori, the country’s last presidential election had multiple candidates. Whatever the shortcomings of Syria’s democracy, it is closer to the model the West holds up as a paragon than are the autocratic political systems of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan, among Washington’s principal Arab satellites—kingdoms in which pro-democracy activism is ruthlessly suppressed.

As for the main US proxy in the region, Israel, it is a herrenvolk (master-race) democracy—a democracy for Jews, and Jewish state for Arabs—hardly an inclusive, liberal democracy, but an exclusive, illiberal, and racist one.

Hence, if Washington’s friends in the region are autocrats and master-race democrats, and the country in which it professes to seek a democratic transition resembles the Western model of parliamentary democracy to a greater degree than the United States’ most esteemed regional allies, how can we believe that Washington is genuinely seeking to achieve a democratic transition in Syria?

Of course, we can’t. The idea that considerations related to democracy promotion—and not empire-building—lie at the base of Washington’s Syria policy is so strongly at variance with the facts, that the fact that this is believed at all is testament to the extraordinary power of Western states and their mass media to implant in the public mind representations of the world that are completely untethered from reality.

Like atom bombs, sanctions are indiscriminate. They kill both combatants and non-combatants, government employees as well as civilians. As such, their imposition ought to be “seen as a war crime”, since they involve, as Patrick Cockburn argues, “the collective punishment of millions of innocent civilians who die, sicken or are reduced to living off scraps from the garbage dumps.” Cockburn urges us to be “just as outraged by the impact of this sort of thing” as we are “by the destruction of hospitals by bombing and artillery fire.” The trouble, however, is that “the picture of X-ray or kidney dialysis machines lacking essential spare parts is never going to compete for impact with film of dead and wounded on the front line. And those who die because medical equipment has been disabled by sanctions are likely to do so undramatically and out of sight.” [32]

Building bulwarks against economic atom bombing

Frantz Fanon once remarked that

“’When a colonial and imperialist power is forced to give independence to a people, this imperialist power says: ‘you want independence? Then take it and die of hunger.’ Because the imperialists continue to have economic power, they can condemn a people to hunger, by means of blockades, embargoes, or underdevelopment.” [33]

US president Donald Trump expressed the same idea, though from an entirely different point of view: “Economic security is national security” [34] he observed, though he said this in connection with the challenge China poses to US high-tech supremacy and Washington’s efforts to overcome the challenge by invoking the need for tariffs on national security grounds. In highlighting the nexus between economic security and national security, Trump invoked a question that is central to anti-colonial struggles.

Anti-colonial struggle has two phases: the first, a military one, aims to achieve titular political independence. The second phase is an economic one. [35] Its goal is scientific and technological advancement as the foundation of self-sufficiency, self-sufficiency as the foundation of economic independence, and economic independence as the foundation of authentic political independence. [36]

Few former colonial or semi-colonial countries have advanced toward these second-phase goals. But China, one of the world’s poorest countries when Mao’s forces came to power in 1949, has. Under the guidance of the communist party, it has achieved economic development of such magnitude as to challenge “the Great Divergence,” the separation of humanity into a minority of rich countries and majority of poor ones, inaugurated by the European conquest and rapine of the Americas over 500 years ago. And it has done so with a mixture of engagement with the world market, industrial planning, and economic dirigisme, guided by the ultimate aim of completing the anti-colonial revolution and overcoming five centuries of Western economic supremacy and political tyranny.

Without the advantages that have allowed China to successfully pursue its path of anti-colonial struggle, other anti-imperialist states of the global south continue to struggle, hobbled by economic dependency, still trapped in a strait-jacket of neo-colonialism. As such, they remain at the mercy of the West’s economic atom bombs.

For the Western left, its potential areas of contribution to the meaningful emancipation of the global south from its enslavement by the north are three-fold: First, to pressure Western governments to abandon their projects of economic coercion. Part of this involves lifting the humanitarian veil behind which the hideous face of sanctions has been concealed. The second is to pressure Western governments to give formerly colonized countries space to pursue self-directed economic development. The third is to recognize that radical democratic, worker-centric or autarkic economies may not be practical routes for formerly colonized countries to achieve economic development and independence. Engagement with markets at home and abroad, economic incentives, a role for both state-owned and private enterprises, and state planning, under the guiding hand of parties committed to carrying through the anti-colonial struggle to fruition via its second, economic, phase, may be the most promising routes to challenging the Great Divergence and creating a bulwark against the West’s economic atom bombs.

*

Notes

1. Stephen Gowans, “The (largely) unrecognized US occupation of Syria,” what’s left, March 11, 2018, https://gowans.wordpress.com/2018/03/11/the-largely-unrecognized-us-occupation-of-syria/

2. “Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural, including the right to development,” Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council, Human rights and unilateral coercive measures, Twenty-seventh session, October 3, 2014.

3. Justine Walker, “Study on Humanitarian Impact of Syria-Related Unilateral Restrictive Measures: A report prepared for the United Nations Economic & Social Commission for Western Asia,” May 16, 2016.

4. UN Human Rights Council, October 3, 2014.

5. Walker.

6. United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commission.

7. “End of mission statement of the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights to the Syrian Arab Republic, 13 to 17 May 2018,” United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commission, 17 May 2018, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23094&LangID=E

8. John Mueller and Karl Mueller, “Sanctions of Mass Destruction,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 1999.

9. Domenico Losurdo, Class Struggle: A Political and Philosophical History. Palgrave MacMillan. 2016, p. 250.

10. Alfred B. Prados and Jeremy M. Sharp, “Syria: Political Conditions and Relations with the United States After the Iraq War,” Congressional Research Service, February 28, 2005.

11. Prados and Sharp.

12. Prados and Sharp.

13. Nada Bakri, “Sanctions pose growing threat to Syria’s Assad,” The New York Times, October 10, 2011.

14. Joby Warrick and Alice Fordham, “Syria running out of cash as sanctions take toll, but Assad avoids economic pain,” The Washington Post, April 24, 2012.

15. Walker.

16. Walker.

17. Special Rapporteur, May 17, 2018.

18. Walker.

19. Special Rapporteur, May 17, 2018.

20. Special Rapporteur, May 17, 2018.

21. Special Rapporteur, May 17, 2018.

22. Special Rapporteur, May 17, 2018.

23. Special Rapporteur, May 17, 2018.

24. Special Rapporteur, May 17, 2018.

25. Special Rapporteur, May 17, 2018.

26. Patrick Cockburn, “U.S. and E.U. sanctions are ruining ordinary Syrians’ lives, yet Bashar al-Assad hangs on to power,” The Independent, October 7, 2016.

27. Graham Allison, “The myth of the liberal order,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2018.

28. Allison.

29. UN Human Rights Council, October 3, 2014.

30. UN Human Rights Council, October 3, 2014.

31. Stephen Gowans. Washington’s Long War on Syria. Baraka Books. 2017. Chapter 4.

32. Patrick Cockburn, “It’s time we saw economic sanctions for what they really are—war crimes,” The Independent, January 19, 2018.

33. Domenico Losurdo, “The New Colonial Counter-Revolution,” Revista Opera, October 20, 2017.

34. Peter Navarro, “Trump’s tariffs are a defense against China’s aggression,” The Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2018.

35. Paraphrasing Ayatollah Khamenei. Original quote in William R. Polk, Understanding Iran: Everything You Need to Know, From Persia to the Islamic Republic, From Cyrus to Ahmadinejad (Palgrave MacMillan, 2009), 212.

36. Losurdo, October 20, 2017.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on The Economic Atom Bombing of Syria

Neocolonialism and the “Migrant Crisis”

NOVANEWS

From the United States to Europe, the “migrant crisis” is causing bitter interior and international controversy about the policies which need to be adopted concerning the migrant flow. However, these movements are being represented by a cliché which is the opposite of reality – that of the “rich countries” obliged to suffer the growing migratory pressure of the “poor countries”. This misrepresentation hides its basic cause – the world economic system which enables a restricted minority to accumulate wealth at the expense of the growing majority, by impoverishing them and thus provoking forced emigration.

As concerns the migrant flow towards the United States, the case of Mexico is emblematic. Its agricultural production collapsed when, with the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), the USA and Canada flooded the Mexican market with low-cost agricultural products, thanks to their own public subsidies. Millions of agricultural workers found themselves without jobs, thereby increasing the work pool recruited by the “maquiladoras” – thousands of industrial establishments along the frontier, in Mexican territory, possessed or controlled, for the most part, by United States companies, where salaries are very low and trade union rights inexistent.

In a country where approximately half of the population lives in poverty, this situation has increased the mass of people who want to enter the United States. This is the origin of the Wall along the border with Mexico, which was begun by the Democrat President Clinton in 1994 when the NAFTA came into effect, pursued by the Republican Bush, reinforced by the Democrat Obama, the same wall that the Republican Trump now hopes to complete along all 3,000 kilometres of the border.

Concerning the migratory flow towards Europe, the case of Africa is emblematic. The continent is rich in raw materials – gold, platinum, diamonds, uranium, coltan (or tantalite), copper, oil, natural gas, precious woods, cocoa, coffee and many others.

These resources, once exploited by the old European colonialist system with slave-type methods, are today being exploited by European neo-colonialism in collaboration with the African elites in power, a low-cost local work force, and interior and international control of the market-place.

More than one hundred companies listed at the London Stock Exchange, British and others, exploit the mineral resources of 37 sub-Saharan African countries for a value of more than 1,000 billion dollars.

France controls the monetary system of 14 African ex-colonies via the CFA Franc (originally the acronym of the “Colonies Françaises d’Afrique”, now recycled as “Communauté Financière Africaine”). In order to conserve parity with the Euro, these 14 African countries are obliged to pay the French Treasury half of their monetary reserves.

The Libyan state, which sought to create an autonomous African currency, was demolished by the war of 2011. In the Ivory Coast (CFA region), French companies control the greater part of the commercialisation of cocoa, of which the country is the world’s top producer – the little producers are left with hardly 5% of the value of the end product, such that most of them live in poverty. These are only a few examples of the neo-colonial exploitation of the continent.

Africa, presented as being dependent on foreign aid, in fact pays foreign countries a net annual forfeit of about 58 billion dollars. The social consequences are devastating. In sub-Saharan Africa, where the population is greater than one billion souls, and is composed of 60% children and young people between the ages of 0 and 24 years old, about two thirds of the inhabitants live in poverty and amongst these, about 40% – which is to say 400 million – live in conditions of extreme poverty.

The “migrant crisis” is in reality the crisis of an unsustainable economic and social system.

Posted in USA, EuropeComments Off on Neocolonialism and the “Migrant Crisis”

Palestinian women in Gaza call for solidarity as they march to break the siege

NOVANEWS

A mass women’s coalition in Gaza is calling for support from feminist groups around the world to help end the siege.

On Tuesday, 3 July, the High Committee of the Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege is organizing the first women’s march since the protests began on 30 March. The organizers are inviting women around the world to support the women of Palestine in ending 70 decades of occupation and more than a decade of blockade and siege.

In a press release, the organizers invited women as both individuals and groups to join the event and to help give a voice to the voiceless and shed a light on the suffering and injustice that have befallen the Palestinian people for decades under the Israeli occupation.

The High Committee of the Great March of Return hopes that women across the globe will join the protests, both in Gaza itself and by holding solidarity events in their own countries to demand an end to the 12-year Israeli blockade of Gaza, imposed in 2006, which has affected all aspects of life, from the economy to health, education, access and freedom of movement, farming, fishing, and the rebuilding efforts following three devastating Israeli bombings. More broadly the Committee calls for an end to the 70-year occupation of Palestine.

The Committee reiterated that this protest is affiliated with no political party, faction or government, but independently represents all Palestinians regardless of political affiliation.

2012 UN report warned that Gaza would become “unlivable” by 2020 unless current trends were reversed.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, GazaComments Off on Palestinian women in Gaza call for solidarity as they march to break the siege

Georges Abdallah calls for anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist struggle in statement to Paris protest

NOVANEWS
Photo: Campagne BDS France

On 23 June, activists in Paris marched to demand the liberation of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, the Lebanese Communist struggler for Palestine imprisoned in France for over 33 years.

Photo: Faycal Hedi

Organized by the Unified Campaign to Free Georges Abdallah, a number of organizations, including the Campagne BDS France, Secours Rouge, Plate-forme Charleroi-Palestine, Secours Rouge, Jeunes Revolutionnaires, CAPJPO-EuroPalestine, Parti Communiste Maoiste and many others, joined the march through the streets of Paris.

Photo: Campagne BDS France

A group from Belgium, organized by Plate-form Charleroi-Palestine and the Belgian Appeal for the Freedom of Georges Abdallah, also travelled to attend the protest.

The event included a special presentation of a letter by Georges Abdallah from Lannemezan Prison to those struggling for his freedom in the demonstration.

Photo: Campagne BDS France

English translation follows:

Dear comrades, Dear friends,

You know, when you are in these sinister places for a “small eternity”, you are overwhelmed by a considerable emotion during the solidarity initiatives … That being so, I send you all my warmest greetings at the beginning of this short speech …

In this time of great struggles, Comrades, your gathering today in Paris fills me by strength, warms my heart and especially strengthens me in the conviction that it is only by assuming more and more the ground of the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist struggle that we bring the most powerful support to those who have resisted for decades behind these abominable walls.

Certainly Comrades, it is not by seeking judicial tricks here and there that we manage to face the criminal persecution of “the capital of capital” to which the resistance is held in captivity, but rather in affirming unswerving determination in the struggle against their moribund, criminal system. We all know that, in the end, it is according to the balance of power that we can succeed in tearing our comrades from the clutches of the enemy. The latter only agrees to let go when he realizes that keeping these revolutionary strugglers in captivity carries a greater weight in the process of the ongoing struggle than the threat inherent in their release. It is not a matter of pretending that we do not know that justice is always a class justice in the service of a class policy inscribed in the global dynamics of a class war, nationally and internationally. Admittedly, there are social gains that allow us to wage battles on the legal ground and it is useless to recall that we must carry out these battles. It does not remain so, Comrades; there comes a time when one must realize that the so-called “reason of the State” always means that the bourgeoisie suppresses its own laws when their interests seem to require it. That said, any approach that might suggest that one has interest in pretending is downright counterproductive, even if it is animated with all good intentions. Certainly, after so many years of captivity, there are and will always be in our ranks friends and comrades who are calling for something to be done in the courts, and perhaps this times, etc, etc …

Of course Comrades, it is not good intentions that are missing. In spite of all the suffering of lengthy captivity, there is not and there will be no possibility of escaping what is needed – the effort necessary to change the balance of power, if one longs for (as say some of my relatives) the release of our comrades. Let’s develop solidarity by always assuming the ground of the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist struggle and “our old friend …” this “old mole who knows underground work so well” will not be indifferent to our efforts. This is precisely why, Comrades, it is of paramount importance to know and to be able to make clear this approach to solidarity in the global dynamics of the ongoing struggles.

The crisis of moribund capitalism in its phase of advanced putrefaction is already there before our eyes at the global level, in the centers of the system as in its peripheries … What is happening these days in the Arab world in general, and in Palestine in particular (Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and Libya too …), is more than emblematic in this respect. Imperialist forces of all stripes are engaged in a multi-dimensional war, reflecting inter-imperialist contradictions on the one hand and an imperialist war of looting and destruction on the other. The majority of the Arab bourgeoisie has opted for this camp … on the other hand, Palestine on a daily basis gives us all the lessons of sacrifice and courage of exceptional scope. More than ever, the Palestinian popular masses, in spite of all the treachery of the bourgeoisie, assume their role as the true guarantor of the defense of the interests of the people. Young and old martyrs fall by the hundreds, even as they march unarmed. Yet the imperialists of all kinds do not take offense at their friend Bibi, the distinguished guest of the Elysee.

Palestine remains nonetheless, despite the treachery of the bourgeoisie or not, despite direct or indirect imperialist interventions. The Resistance continues and certainly it will continue as long as the occupation continues. Naturally, the Palestinian popular masses and their fighting vanguard in captivity must rely more than ever on your active solidarity.

May a thousand solidarity initiatives flourish in support of Palestine and its promising Resistance.

Solidarity, all solidarity with the Resistance in Zionist jails, and in isolation cells in Morocco, Turkey, Greece, the Philippines and elsewhere in the world!

Solidarity, all solidarity with the young proletarians of the working class neighborhoods!

Solidarity, all solidarity with the railway workers and other proletarians in struggle!

Honor to the Martyrs and the popular masses in struggle!

Down with imperialism and its Zionist watchdogs and other Arab reactionaries!

Capitalism is nothing but barbarism, honor to all those who oppose it in the diversity of their expressions!

Together Comrades, and only together will we win!

To all of you Comrades and friends, my warmest revolutionary greetings.

Your friend Georges Abdallah

* highlighted in red by the author

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Georges Abdallah calls for anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist struggle in statement to Paris protest

Take Action to free Khalida Jarrar! June 30-July 2, organize for freedom

NOVANEWS

Take action: Sign the petition now – http://bit.ly/FreeKhalidaJarrar

Palestinian leader Khalida Jarrar, a leftist, feminist parliamentarian imprisoned by the Israeli occupation, has been jailed without charge or trial since 2 July 2017. As her friends, family and comrades awaited her release, they were instead informed on 14 June that her administrative detention had been renewed for the third time for an additional four months. Take action to demand the immediate release of Khalida Jarrar and her fellow Palestinian prisoners!

As Palestinians march in Gaza in the Great Return March, and as they take to the streets in the West Bank in the Lift the Sanctions movement, the Israeli occupation is extending Khalida Jarrar’s detention without charge or trial to keep this strong, powerful leader off the streets and away from her people.

Khalida’s administrative detention renewal is scheduled to be approved by an Israeli military court on 2 July. Before this approval happens, it is important that international solidarity is heard, loudly and clearly, demanding her freedom!

Khalida Jarrar is a longtime advocate for the freedom of Palestinian prisoners, the Vice-Chair of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and its former Executive Director. A member of the Palestinian Legislative Council elected as part of the leftist Abu Ali Mustafa Bloc, associated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, she chairs the PLC’s Prisoners Committee.

She is also an outspoken leader in the fight to hold Israeli officials accountable for war crimes in the International Criminal Court. She is a member of a Palestinian commission charged with bringing complaints and files before the international court about ongoing Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people, from attacks on Gaza to land confiscation and settlement construction to mass arrests and imprisonment.

This is not the first time she has faced arrest and persecution. In 2014, she resisted – and defeated – an Israeli attempt to forcibly displace her from her family home in el-Bireh to Jericho. Only nine months later, in April 2015, she was seized by Israeli occupation forces and ordered to administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. After a global outcry, she was brought before Israeli military courts and faced 12 charges based on her political activity, from giving speeches to attending events in support of Palestinian prisoners.

After she was released in June 2016, she resumed her leading role in the Palestinian liberation movement, only to be seized once more on 2 July 2017 and once again thrown in prison with no charges and no trial. Her administrative detention was already renewed for another six months in December 2017, and it is clear that the Israeli occupation has no intention of releasing Khalida, one of the leaders among the 6,200 Palestinian prisoners (including nearly 500 administrative detainees) in Israeli jails.

She, along with her fellow administrative detainees, boycotts the Israeli military courts that rubber-stamp their military detention orders. They are demanding an end to the practice of administrative detention, first brought to Palestine by the British colonial mandate before being adopted by the Zionist occupation. Administrative detention orders can be issued for up to six months at a time, and they are indefinitely renewable. Palestinians have spent years at a time jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention.

Within the Israeli occupation prison, she has played a leading role in supporting the education of the minor girls held there, organizing classes on human rights and in review for mandatory high school examinations when the prison authority denied the girls a teacher.

We know that the Israeli military court hearing is a sham. But it is more important than ever that our voices are heard and our actions are visible throughout the next week to demand freedom for Khalida Jarrar. Protests are already being organized in New York and elsewhere around the world. Join us and take action!

TAKE ACTION:

1.Sign the petition: Denounce Khalida’s imprisonment without charge or trial. Sign the petition at http://bit.ly/FreeKhalidaJarrar to add your name.

2. Organize a protest, demonstration or other gathering or event to Free Khalida Jarrar- especially on June 30, July 1 or July 2. Bring posters and flyers about Khalida’s case and hold a protest, or join a protest with this important information. Hold a community event or discussion, or include Khalida’s case in your next event about Palestine and social justice.  Find your nearest Israeli embassy here:  https://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/israelWrite to us at samidoun@samidoun.net or contact us on Facebook to let us know about your action! 

3. Contact your Member of Parliament, Representative, or Member of European Parliament. The attack on Khalida is an attack on Palestinian parliamentary legitimacy and political expression. Parliamentarians have a responsibility to pressure Israel to cancel this order.

4. Boycott, Divest and Sanction. Hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law. Don’t buy Israeli goods, and campaign to end investments in corporations that profit from the occupation. Learn more at bdsmovement.net.

Campaign Materials

Download the posters/flyers:

Campaign Flyer/Factsheet
Download PDF (A4/ 8.5 X 11)Campaign Poster

Download PDF (11 x 17)

Social Media Graphics

Download (click here)

Facebook Cover Image

Download (click here)

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Take Action to free Khalida Jarrar! June 30-July 2, organize for freedom

Remembering Felicia Langer: lifelong struggler for Palestinian political prisoners

NOVANEWS
Felicia Langer

Felicia Langer, a German-Jewish lawyer who played a significant role in the legal defence and international support of Palestinian political prisoners over the years, passed away on 21 June in Turingen, Germany, at the age of 87. She played a pioneering legal role in fighting the forced expulsion and deportation of Palestinian political leaders, the demolition of Palestinian homes, the imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or trial under administrative detention and exposing Israeli torture of imprisoned Palestinians on an international level.

A survivor of the Nazi Holocaust, born in 1930 in Poland, she came to occupied Palestine in 1950 with her husband, Mieciu. She belonged to the Communist Party and responded to the 1967 occupation of the West Bank and Gaza by establishing a law office in Jerusalem with a focus on the defense of Palestinian political prisoners in occupation jails. In this time and thereafter, she defended thousands of Palestinian prisoners.

Felicia Langer

Her writings and documentation played a significant role in exposing the torture and mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners. Her 1975 book, “With My Own Eyes,” (later continued in the 1979 book “These Are My Brothers” and other works) helped to shine an international spotlight on the situation of imprisoned Palestinians involved in the liberation struggle. In 1977, Langer played a major role in the issuance of the British Sunday Times report that highlighted, among others, the case of Rasmea Odeh.

In 1990, she left occupied Palestine, announcing that she can “no longer be a fig leaf for this system.” She traveled to Germany, where she remained an active advocate for Palestinian prisoners, speaking at conferences for their release organized by the European Alliance in Defense of Palestinian Detainees in Berlin, Brussels and elsewhere. She lived in Germany, outside occupied Palestine, for the rest of her life.

One of her last public statements was written in April 2018, an open letter to the imprisoned Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar. In her message, she said:

“You, my dear, are politically detained by a state that calls itself the only democracy in the Middle East.

“You are a member of the Palestinian parliament, and your arrest comes only because you are politically aligned with your sisters and brothers held in Israeli jails because of their legitimate struggle against the occupation.

“Dear Khalida, you are a sister in struggle. Despite my age, I stand with you and declare solidarity with you and your family from my heart.”

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joins Palestinian prisoners’ organizations throughout occupied Palestine and advocates for justice around the world in mourning the loss of Felicia Langer. We urge all to remember her by continuing the struggle for the freedom of Palestinian prisoners and the liberation of the land and people of Palestine.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Human RightsComments Off on Remembering Felicia Langer: lifelong struggler for Palestinian political prisoners


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