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Economic and Philosophic Science Review

Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is the touchstone on which the real understanding and recognition of Marxism is to be tested. V. I. Lenin

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No 1322 23rd October 2007

Turkey and Pakistan entanglement adds to the growing problems of imperialism as disastrous Iraq and Afghanistan warmongering quagmires stretch endlessly on. But capitalist crisis looms ever larger, and can only push imperialism further into warmongering as the US anti-Iran drumbeat makes clear. Only ending capitalism can change it. Leninism is vital.

The latest desperate efforts by imperialism in Pakistan, to stop the worldwide unravelling of its control and authority, have immediately backfired disastrously.

Far from keeping the lid on upwelling insurgency and nationalist and anti-imperialist feelings, the shallow trickiness of parachuting in arch-opportunist Benazir Bhutto to “re-establish democracy” has simply poured oil on the flames of incipient civil war hostility to the corrupt ruling order and its slavish stoogery for Western monopoly capitalist interests.

It was already a signal of desperation, as its economic and political crisis spirals ever more out of control, that western imperialism should turn once again to the corrupt, degenerate and already discredited “Peoples Party” reformist fraudulence to try and prevent a volcano of rebellion against the brutal military order of General Pervez Musharraf.

Total disintegration of this degenerate “parliamentary” racket into incompetence and self-seeking in the 1990s led to the military coup by Musharraf in the first place, tolerated and eventually aided by US imperialism as its best bet for keeping in place a bulwark in the region against growing revolt against capitalist exploitation.

Yet another military junta – like the dozens of fascist gangster stooge regimes installed by imperialism around the world since 1945 – was deemed better than festering rebellion, even at the cost of further exposing western democracy and non-stop hypocritical posturing over supposed “freedom” as the big Goebbels lies they are, and always have been (as clear in nearby Burma just now for example where barefaced hypocritical posturing about “human” rights continues even as Bhutto does deals with Musharraf).

But the endless rolling defeat of US (and British) warmongering neo-colonial attempts to “shock and awe” the planet into continued acceptance of its tyrannical domination and exploitation, despite the onrushing disaster of the greatest overproduction crisis in all history, simply gets worse and worse.

Far from stamping out insurgency and attacks on its power, the monstrous blitzings and arbitrary destruction wrought on the cities and countryside of Iraq and Afghanistan have recruited tens of thousands more willing fighters against the West; supported by the burning hatred of the tens of millions throughout the entire Third World caused by generations of suffering imposed by Western arrogance and oppression.

The impact of these slow defeats for imperialism and the increasing depth of the capitalist crisis has been especially strong in the Middle East and the countries bordering it.

Bogged down disaster continues despite the “swamping” of Baghdad with yet more money and military resources in the “surge” this year, as at least a few bourgeois press accounts still report among an overall silence:

George Bush has used last month’s upbeat report by General Petraeus to announce a gradual reduction in US forces to their pre-surge level and create the sense of a momentum towards withdrawal that isn’t in fact taking place.

Most Iraqis believe that security has deteriorated during the six-month US military surge, according to opinion polls. But the impression of success given by Petraeus has helped blunt the political pressure for early withdrawal on Capitol Hill. It has also fed a renewed spirit of triumphalism among a few brave outriders of the discredited neocon project who now claim the Iraq war is turning into a success after all. The Times, for example, this week declared that “Iraq is moving irrevocably in the right direction” and argued against any “premature British departure” because it might undermine “real internal political progress” allegedly taking place.

Now the foreign editor of the well-connected Prospect magazine has gone one step further, reviving Bush’s much ridiculed slogan of “mission accomplished” and declaring the Iraq war all but won. The Sunni Arabs are begging for a deal with the US, he claims, now the “insurgents have recognised there is little point fighting” such a powerful enemy, and the country has embraced democracy; what violence remains is largely local and criminal.

The evidence offered for this miraculous turnaround includes a recent drop in attacks on US and British forces, new local alliances between some Sunni tribal leaders, ex-resistance fighters and the US military against al-Qaida, and the participation of the popular anti-occupation Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr in the US-sponsored political process. But the argument is wishful thinking on a grand scale.

It’s true that the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq last month, at 66, was well down on this year’s peak, but higher than the figure for August last year. Attacks on British troops fell much more sharply last month, but that followed the British withdrawal from Basra city and a prisoner release deal with Sadr’s Mahdi army, which is in any case now on a six-month national ceasefire.

No doubt the ability of resistance groups to operate freely has been hampered by the flood of US troops and the carve-up of their cities with Israeli-style walls and checkpoints. Just as serious have been the divisions on both sides of the sectarian divide, fostered by the US since the surge began as it tilts this way and that in a classic divide-and-rule strategy. In the Sunni camp, that has been achieved mainly through US arming and financing the “tribal awakening” movement against al-Qaida, which has spread from Anbar province and drawn in some on the fringes of the resistance who now regard Iran rather than the US as the main enemy. It’s the principal reason why the launch of an alliance bringing together all the main Sunni-based resistance groups has been delayed.

‘We don’t want to have a clash with those who have become involved in the awakening campaign,” a spokesman for the 1920 Revolution Brigades, one of the largest guerrilla organisations fighting the US occupation, said yesterday. “We will give time to people who have been harmed by al-Qaida and its violence. We are now fighting the Americans more outside the cities.” But he dismissed as disinformation a claim in last week’s Economist that members of the Brigades now “accompany the Americans as guides on patrols”, pointing to a video of a successful attack by the group in the past week on a US humvee just broadcast on al-Jazeera as his answer. “Resistance will continue until the occupation forces leave our country.”

That is surely the case - including in the British-occupied south. Supporters of the Iraq war have consistently underestimated the resistance campaign, which has in the words of a Brigades statement this week demonstrated that a “self-sufficient movement” can “destabilise the most powerful opponents”. It’s hardly surprising that more US troops and better tactics would have at least a temporary impact on the resistance. But the idea that it’s about to fall into an American embrace because of an occupation-sponsored vigilante movement is as preposterous as the pretence that a prime minister who says he cannot “move a single company without coalition approval” is in charge of an independent democratic government. The tragedy is that the price being paid to win Iraq’s independence is so horrifically high.

The plan, being drawn up by the chiefs of staff, reflects the government’s concern over the failure to win a decisive victory against the Taliban. Tomorrow marks the sixth anniversary of the first American and British missile strikes on Afghanistan in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks on the US, yet Nato-led forces are no closer to beating the Taliban, Nato commanders believe.

The whole of one of the army’s most elite regiments, supported by the RAF’s latest fighter bombers, is to be sent to Afghanistan in a military operation unprecedented since the second world war.

For the first time since 1945, all three regular battalions of the Parachute Regiment - about 2,000 troops - will be deployed for combat. The Eurofighter/Typhoon, equipped with new missiles for a ground attack role, will be deployed for the first time in a hostile mission.

New Merlin helicopters from an RAF squadron formed this week will also be sent to the region....Under the plan, the Parachute Regiment will be sent to Helmand as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade next spring. Its deployment is expected to coincide with a further cut, perhaps of 1,500, in British troops in Basra which Gordon Brown is likely to refer to in his Commons statement on Iraq on Monday.

The prime minister is expected to set out the future role of British troops after they hand over to local forces responsibility for overall security of Basra province before the end of the year. During his flying visit to Baghdad this week, he announced that troops there would be cut to 4,500 by Christmas. There are about 5,250 there now and 7,700 in Afghanistan.

Reductions in the number of troops in Iraq will free up soldiers for deployment in Afghanistan at a time when the army is increasingly stretched, with commanders worried about the effect on service families and the resignation of experienced non-commissioned officers.

While Britain prepares to increase its military commitment to Afghanistan, senior Nato commanders are making it clear they are increasingly concerned about the restrictions -”caveats” - on the operations and movements that some countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, impose on their forces in Afghanistan. “Restrictions on operations are having profound consequences,” said one Nato commander. He added: “It is very insidious and significant at every level.” Nato is faced with the prospect of the first ground combat operation in its 58-year history collapsing in failure. Senior alliance officials describe Afghanistan as “Nato’s number one priority”.

“No one in Afghanistan is safe,” according to a senior military figure. US-led coalition forces and Afghan troops clashed with insurgents during a raid in eastern Afghanistan yesterday, leaving several militants and civilians, including a woman and a child, dead.

Des Browne, the defence secretary, told a fringe meeting at the Labour party conference last week that the Taliban would have to be involved in a peace process “because they are not going away any more than I suspect Hamas are going away from Palestine”. Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, this week repeated his offer of talks with the Taliban only to be met with the response that US and foreign troops would first have to agree to leave.

It is not ruled out that the enormous firepower and sheer weight of imperialism’s military and industrial might may yet impose some kind of barbarous stalemate on the struggle in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But the rebellious “infection” is spreading, (now even affecting Turkey, and driving its regime equally to turn to warmongering entanglements in northern Iraq, to divert the masses from their real problems – the capitalist crisis).

The torturing brutality and viciousness of the Musharraf army control has been unable to hold the line against discontent and upheaval, fed by the struggle in Afghanistan next door and the anti-imperialist tide rising throughout the region from Iran to Somalia, as well as by other nearby struggles such as the successful Maoist insurgency in Nepal, and generally throughout the world from Africa to South America.

Hence the warmed over Bhutto-ism to try use the old confusions of “legality” and “democracy” to head off too much coherent resistance.

But the crassness of the Washington backed intervention, and its crude efforts at pulling the wool over the masses’ eyes have appalled even the most petty bourgeois of intellectuals, as in this despairing (edited) commentary:

The media hyperventilation over the return of Benazir Bhutto is a clear indication not only that nothing has changed - but that no meaningful change is intended. An army general is entrenched as president for another five years. If the promised elections are held, they would be anything but fair and free, given that Bhutto is supposed to win and provide a democratic front for a military ruler...

The Pakistani Taliban - whom many are blaming for Thursday night’s assassination attempts - continue their reign of terror in the northern provinces of the country, complete with suicide bombings and beheadings, with increasing impunity...

Bhutto, the twice-failed prime minister, talks an impressive line about moderate Islam, development, and democracy. Her rhetoric is music to the ears of the White House, which has engineered her deal with General Musharraf. It allows her to evade the outstanding corruption charges which otherwise would have impeded her making another tilt for power.

None of Bhutto’s rhetorical qualities - liberalising Islam, genuine development or empowering democracy - were much in evidence during her previous administrations. The father of the Pakistani bomb, AQ Khan, whom she is now willing to hand over to international authorities, was diligently at work developing his weapons while she was in power. The opportunities to tackle endemic poverty were frittered away in corrupt feathering of the fortunes of favoured citizens, most notably her husband. Not a single development project, not even a motorway, was completed during her two administrations. And the morass of religious fervour fuelling political agendas was left to take its own toxic course.

Over the six decades of its existence, Pakistan has functioned not as a nation but a geo-strategic utility. It has been picked up and put down as dictated by the proxy interests of outside powers. The latest Bhutto/Musharraf alliance enhances Pakistan’s utility in the global war on terror, and more specifically acts as the base from which to curb the activities of the Taliban in Pakistan’s northern provinces and Afghanistan. Thus, democracy has little to do with her return.

As a consequence, Pakistan has suffered from all the unintended yet predictable effects of being a sideshow to other people’s strategic interests. Its good-guy/bad-guy lurching has taken little account of the genuine interests of its citizens. Military dictators and elected politicians have been interchangeable, each accepted or rejected by the US and Britain without recourse to what their governance of the country actually meant for its citizens.

Almost all financial assistance the country has received since the inception of the “war on terror” has found its way to the military to maintain the very problem that is the intractable heart of the country’s nightmare. In Pakistan everything is owned either by the military or the feudal magnates - notably among them the Bhutto clan. Sustained investment in fostering the economy, creating employment, enterprise and hence hope for the majority, has been notable by its absence.

In these bizarre conditions, the religiously inclined poor have proved to be an excellent recruiting ground for the Taliban...

The political opportunism of Bhutto is the shortest route to civil war and the break-up of Pakistan. Those who feel most powerless to affect the fate of Pakistan are the Pakistanis themselves. Until the capacities and interests of its own people set the national agenda, then hope, reform, change, moderation and new direction will never materialise.

Ziauddin Sardar is the author of Desperately Seeking Paradise: Journeys of a Sceptical Muslim

The “capacities and interests of its own people” will never be of any account in Pakistan, or anywhere else on the planet, for as long as imperialism’s brutal domination rules the world and its profit-making interests continue to demand the subjugation and exploitation of the great billions everywhere to feed the greed, indolence and power of the tiny minority of the super-rich ruling class in the Western capitalist countries (including Japan etc) and above all in the monopoly empire power of the USA.

Only revolutionary overturn of the power of international capital and establishment of planned socialism, possible only under the dictatorship of the proletariat, is going to achieve any such “new direction” in any country, Pakistan included.

The appalled pacifism expressed in this piece gets nowhere near understanding such a solution and, like most middle class fearfulness, simply condemns the “murderous Taliban” and its “reign of terror”, without grasping anything of what drives the huge insurgency in the region.

No Marxist for one minute advocates indiscriminate bombing or relishes the tragic horrors of innocent civilians blown apart.

But neither do they condemn the rising revolt that for the moment erupts in often destructive brutality and crudeness – as the entire spectrum of fake-”lefts” and western liberals have done non-stop since the 9/11 attacks, lining themselves up with Bush and Blair and Brown etc.

As the EPS Review declared three years ago:

“This fightback in the Middle East shows encouraging signs of being the possible first steps of the beginning of a major turning point in human history.

But paradoxically, its start can only be in something like the negative and destructive violence which seems to be all that is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the suicide bombings in Palestine and the terrorist atrocities elsewhere.

But as the capitalist press itself is beginning to notice with some interest, what all this anarchy also reveals is a potentially life inspiring and imagination-firing HATRED of what is happening to these Third World billions...

Every week, new voices are being raised all round the West insisting that it is solely and wholly imperialism which is in the wrong, and that one way or another, it is this rotten warmongering tyranny which must end first before any further positive developments are even contemplatable. (EPSR 1227 April 6, 2004)

This rotten tyranny of capitalism is never more strongly shown up than in the genocidal and violent ethnic cleansing seizure of the Palestinian territories and lands by Jewish Zionism, backed all the way by Western imperialism to be a permanent knife in the heart of Arab nationalism and constantly and unstoppably obliged by its out-of-time colonialist nature to escalate its fascist blitzkrieging barbarities against the indigenous people who have inhabited the region for the last 1500 years.

The truly monstrous character of imperialist rule comes out strongly in the latest revelations:

Nufar Yishai-Karin, a clinical psychologist at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, interviewed 21 Israeli soldiers and heard confessions of frequent brutal assaults against Palestinians

The soldiers described dozens of incidents of extreme violence. One recalled an incident when a Palestinian was shot for no reason and left on the street. ‘We were in a weapons carrier when this guy, around 25, passed by in the street and, just like that, for no reason - he didn’t throw a stone, did nothing - bang, a bullet in the stomach, he shot him in the stomach and the guy is dying on the pavement and we keep going, apathetic. No one gave him a second look,’ he said.

The soldiers developed a mentality in which they would use physical violence to deter Palestinians from abusing them. One described beating women. ‘With women I have no problem. With women, one threw a clog at me and I kicked her here [pointing to the crotch], I broke everything there. She can’t have children. Next time she won’t throw clogs at me. When one of them [a woman] spat at me, I gave her the rifle butt in the face. She doesn’t have what to spit with any more.’

Yishai-Karin found that the soldiers were exposed to violence against Palestinians from as early as their first weeks of basic training. On one occasion, the soldiers were escorting some arrested Palestinians. The arrested men were made to sit on the floor of the bus. They had been taken from their beds and were barely clothed, even though the temperature was below zero. The new recruits trampled on the Palestinians and then proceeded to beat them for the whole of the journey. They opened the bus windows and poured water on the arrested men.

...The debate has contrasted sharply with an Israeli army where new recruits are taught that they are joining ‘the most ethical army in the world’ - a refrain that is echoed throughout Israeli society. In its doctrine, published on its website, the Israeli army emphasises human dignity.

Yishai-Karin, in an interview with Haaretz, described how her research came out of her own experience as a soldier at an army base in Rafah in the Gaza Strip... The soldiers described how the violence was encouraged by some commanders. One soldier recalled: ‘After two months in Rafah, a [new] commanding officer arrived... So we do a first patrol with him. It’s 6am, Rafah is under curfew, there isn’t so much as a dog in the streets. Only a little boy of four playing in the sand. He is building a castle in his yard. He [the officer] suddenly starts running and we all run with him. He was from the combat engineers.

‘He grabbed the boy. I am a degenerate if I am not telling you the truth. He broke his hand here at the wrist, broke his leg here. And started to stomp on his stomach, three times, and left. We are all there, jaws dropping, looking at him in shock...

‘The next day I go out with him on another patrol, and the soldiers are already starting to do the same thing.”

Yishai-Karin concluded that the main reason for the soldiers’ violence was a lack of training. She found that the soldiers did not know what was expected of them and therefore were free to develop their own way of behaviour. The longer a unit was left in the field, the more violent it became.

The “main reason” for the soldiers’ violence is nothing to do with “lack of training” but the inherent fascist/colonialist nature of the artificial 1947 declaration of a “state” of Israel (sadly and mistakenly recognised by retreating Moscow revisionism under Stalin and still sneakily “justified” to this day by lingering Museum Stalinist remnants who refuse to confront, and thereby understand, the long slow retreat from Leninist revolutionary grasp which has so badly damaged the world working class’s confidence and grasp in scientific Marxism – temporarily.)

From its stitched up predaceous beginning and before, the Zionist “state” has been built on intimidatory theft and occupation of Palestinian land by barbarous terror to drive people from their villages and land and destined to continue with murderous and escalating intensity for as long as the world tolerates the “master-race” Nazi style fanaticism of Zionist Jewry and its death squad oppression, and routine blitzkrieging, of not just the Palestinians but the entire Arab world and Middle East.

The monstrous shelling, bombing and torturing “collective” punishment imposed by overwhelming Western financed Zionist firepower for any tiny show of resistance to this non-stop generations long suffering of an entire people simply escalates year by year and cannot do otherwise, because there is no other way for this Frankenstein monster of a “country” to survive.

In the end it will be overturned or it must wipe out the entire licit population of the region.

Almost total starvation siege is now imposed on the hundreds of thousands of women, children, old people and other innocents in the festering concrete hell hole of the Gaza strip because the militancy of the legally elected Hamas government dares to continue its defiance of the complete lie of an Israeli state:

The Israeli government yesterday declared the Gaza Strip a “hostile entity” and threatened to further cut fuel and electricity supplies if militants continue to fire Qassam rockets at Israel, a decision that was backed by the United States.

The decision was described by Palestinians and international agencies, including the UN, as collective punishment, which is illegal under international law. Hamas said the policy was a declaration of war.

In a statement, the Israeli government said that Hamas had taken over the Gaza Strip and turned it into a hostile territory. It said: “Additional sanctions will be placed on the Hamas regime in order to restrict the passage of various goods to the Gaza Strip and reduce the supply of fuel and electricity.” Further restrictions on the movement of people in and out of Gaza would also be implemented.

Gaza is already under pressure because Israel has reduced the amount of goods going in and out to a minimum. Private businesses are unable to import raw materials or export finished products and more than 1.1 million of the Strip’s 1.4 million inhabitants rely on food from the UN.

While Israel withdrew its troops and communities from Gaza in 2005, it remains the occupying power under international law, which entails responsibilities for the wellbeing of the civilian population.

Israel placed an economic blockade on Gaza in June, following Hamas’s takeover, but economic sanctions have been in place since Hamas was elected to run the Palestinian Authority in January of last year.

At a press conference with Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, in Jerusalem yesterday, Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, said that the government decision was in response to the firing of home-made Qassam rockets at Israel from Gaza. She said Israel would continue to supply Gaza with its humanitarian needs but nothing beyond that.

A government official said that while Israel would continue to supply fuel for humanitarian needs it should not be obliged to provide fuel for use by Hamas’s Executive Security Force, for example.

Ms Rice said she supported Israel’s decision and added: “Hamas is a hostile entity to the United States as well.”

Israel’s decision was condemned by both Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority.

In a statement, Mr Abbas said: “This oppressive decision will only tighten the stifling embargo imposed on 1.5 million people in the Gaza Strip, increase their suffering and magnify their tragedy.”

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas in Gaza, said: “They aim to starve our people and force them to accept humiliating formulas that could emerge from the so-called November peace conference” - a reference to a proposed summit in Washington between Mr Abbas and Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister. “It is a declaration of war and continues the criminal, terrorist Zionist actions against our people.”

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said: “There are 1.4 million people in Gaza, including the old, the young and the sick, who are already suffering from the impact of prolonged closure.

It does not take shopkeeper Salah Sultan long to count his stock. There are six tins of sardines, four bottles of vegetable oil, one packet of nappies, nine boxes of wafers and a large tin of powdered milk.

Grains and pulses have been removed from their original packing and subdivided into more affordable portions. Above the door is a space where a television used to be, and by his elbow is the Qur’an and his ledger book.

His accounts make grim reading. His customers owe him 5,000 shekels (£613), and he owes his suppliers double that. “I’m already almost closed and I really don’t know for how much longer I will continue. Without the shop I could try ironing or driving a taxi. It is in God’s hands,” he said, pointing to the Qur’an.

As the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and the Israeli government in Jerusalem prepare for talks in the United States next month, Gaza is excluded from the new rapprochement. Mr Sultan and others like him are facing ruin as a result of Israeli sanctions designed to weaken the Hamas government and punish their supporters.

According to a World Bank report issued last month: “Gaza’s economic backbone and private sector vitality risks collapse if the current situation ... continues.” The report states that 90% of Gaza’s industrial production has ceased and agricultural output has fallen by 50% in 2007.

...Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the organisation that provides social services for Palestinian refugees, said that the payment of wages in Gaza was having little effect on Gaza’s continued economic disintegration. “There is an increasing sense of isolation and desperation which is likely to lead to a radicalisation of the population when there seems to be momentum in the peace process generally. As ever the most vulnerable sectors of society are the hardest hit by the sanctions.”

The Israeli sanctions are affecting every level of Gazan society. Farmers have been particularly hard hit as they have been barred from exporting their products and denied pesticides and fertiliser by Israel, which makes it impossible to plant for next year.

Spare parts for water pumps and other equipment are also barred.

The army recently banned the import of hearing aid batteries for Gaza’s school for the deaf on the grounds that they could be used to make bombs.

It is reducing the amount of food going into Gaza every week as it tries to exert more pressure on the population to bring about political change.

The Israeli army is micro-managing the sanctions to ensure that it cannot be accused of starving Gaza. In a daily communique to international organisations, the army proclaims: “No Humanitarian Crisis in the Gaza Strip - No Hunger in the Palestinian Territories”, before it lists the number of days of food it estimates that Gaza has.

But dry statistics hide thousands of stories of misery.

“Normally at this time, before Eid [the festival that marks the end of Ramadan], my shelves would be full of food and presents, but no one has any money to buy anything other than the bare essentials,” said Mr Sultan. He has already sold his car and the furniture in his home to survive. He used the $100 gift from Hamas to buy more stock.

But there are others who are even worse off. Nabil Jaber Saleem, 45, who suffers from diabetes, enters the store. He used to work in Israel. He says his 10 children are still hungry after breaking their fast with a meal of tomatoes, olives, yogurt and tea. “It’s a desperate situation. I don’t even have a shekel to spend on food,” he said.

Last night he told them that he can no longer afford to pay their school and university fees. “I have told my children they would be better getting married or getting jobs because there is no money for education.”

The entire West meantime has escalated its cynical game of carrot and stick “rewards” to further punish the Gazan resistance by supposedly giving the completely illegal West Bank stooge minority government assorted “development” benefits and funds.

This sick twisted parody of decades old reformist parliamentary politics – supposedly “rewarding” non-revolutionary “good behaviour” by the disgusting stooge Abbassites – is appropriately being pushed through by the even more disgusting toe-rag imperialist slimeball Tony Blair, desperate to posture and crawl to the ruling class one more time despite having been forced to leave UK politics because of New Labour’s foul warmongering lies.

But even the echo of the old fraud of a “two state” settlement being held out once again by the Bush White House (and still not denounced and exposed by the entire spectrum of the fake- “left” who have gone along with this humiliating confidence trick for the last four or five decades) is a savage farce with barely any pretence even bothered with, that relentless colonialist seizure and settlement occupation will be stopped:

What double-speak it is to say the road envisaged by the Israelis is to “improve the quality of life” of Palestinians, when it is choking them (Israeli army orders confiscation of Palestinian land, October 10). In the distant past, people in Abu Dis lived a normal life. And even after Israeli occupation in 1967, people used to work in Jerusalem to the west, visit the Dead Sea to the east, and go north and south to Ramallah and Bethlehem.

Now they are cut off by the Israeli separation wall and its fierce “terminals” - on the west they can’t get to Jerusalem or jobs, hospitals, education and services; unemployment is around 65%. The wall curves round north and is being built on the east to cut the route to Jericho and Jordan and divide Abu Dis from the massive settlement of Maale Adumim, a no go area for Palestinians. This new land-grab means the road that leads from Abu Dis south will be cut too. There will be a fenced “security corridor” from Bethlehem to Jericho, effectively making another wall for Abu Dis - Israeli settlers on one, separate road, then the wall, then a fenced-off Palestinian road where people are forbidden to stop.

Abu Dis people face many agonies - they are losing village land and they face the massive development of the racist and militarised settlements in their vicinity. Last year a sick man from Abu Dis was killed at an Israeli checkpoint and this year two women had babies at local checkpoints. Children have been beaten by Israeli soldiers inside their school, dozens of young boys are in prison.

And with this serious new land grab and another Israeli “fact on the ground” slotted into place, the first thought that is coming to people is that the prison is nearly complete - they will have nowhere at all they can go. Is Israel’s view of “improving” Palestinian “quality of life” to make it so intolerable that people have to leave?

Nandita Dowson — Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association

Abdul Wahab Sabbah — Cadfa co-ordinator, Abu Dis, Palestine

More Palestinians lack more basic freedoms today than they did 60 years ago. While an expensive and extensive peace process was in full swing, Israel managed to illegally expropriate most of the occupied West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem, install hundreds of thousands of illegal settlers, kill more Palestinian families, arrest more young men, destroy more crops, homes and businesses, build a monstrous wall deemed illegal by the international court of justice, and set forth, unchecked, a policy of aggressive expansionism in Palestine that continues until this moment.

Citizens of this country may wish to ask why this is so, and what on earth their government has been doing all this time with their money. Yesterday the government attempted to answer this question with the launch of a report on the Economic Aspects of the Peace Process. What the report doesn’t explain is the direct link between throwing economics at this conflict and the repeated failures to solve it.

The symbiotic relationship between the illegal “facts on the ground” created by Israel in occupied Palestine; the simultaneous loss of nerve by almost all international leaders and institutions to reverse those facts; the subsequent flurry of international activities designed to avoid challenging illegal Israeli actions - this triangle of desolation has been masterfully described in a remarkable publication by Chatham House, entitled Aid, Diplomacy, and Facts on the Ground: the Case of Palestine. Its authors - World Bank representatives, UN officials, humanitarian agencies - detail the economic, political and diplomatic strategies by which international donors have (by default or by design) encouraged illegal Israeli practices that have made peace impossible. Without polemics or partisanship, these expert contributors coolly demonstrate the calamity of this approach, and suggest practical solutions to redirect attention towards doing good.

Two of the most treacherous mechanisms of avoidance need highlighting: diplomacy through international negotiations, and the type of economic assistance given to an increasingly impoverished Palestinian people. Since the Oslo agreement in 1993, every subject Israeli governments refused to discuss was removed from the negotiating table. Unfortunately this required excluding the people and issues essential to resolving the conflict: the Palestinians and their right to their land.

First it was the refugees, the majority of the Palestinian people; absurdly, the main victims of the conflict were denied respect, involvement, and participation in peace. Next came the elimination of an entire sector of Palestinian representation under occupation: some assassinated, others now languishing in Israeli jails in their thousands, most of whom want peace - just not one entirely on Israel’s terms. And finally an international boycott of any elected party whose political views unsurprisingly run counter to its enemy’s. An inevitable outcome of these exclusions is that all civic-minded, active and representative Palestinians have quit, in revulsion, the corrupted public space and secret backrooms of such negotiations.

As well as entire sectors of people, political issues Israelis deemed unacceptable have also been pushed off the agenda. This is the ugly shape of the international conference President Bush is seeking to convene in November. Its purpose is to legitimise the intolerable status quo, especially Israel’s recent military conquests. Worse, it will endeavour to demonstrate, through a PR campaign by paid-up pro-Israel lobbyists, that the deal is authentic and supported by ordinary people uniting for peace. Everyone who disagrees will face being smeared as marginal, anti-peace, or dangerously extremist.

The “problem” of Palestine is now restricted to a discussion in purely economic terms. It is not the military occupation, the enforced exile and statelessness of millions of Palestinians, or the daylight robbery of Palestinian land...

The absurdity of proposing to stimulate investment in this hell - where because of Israeli closures and checkpoints Palestinians cannot trade between their own towns much less with the outside world - or the fact that the present economic catastrophe is a direct consequence of the military occupation, gets no acknowledgement here. By avoiding the real issue of Israeli intransigence, and with no plan on tackling it, neither jobs nor justice are on offer to Palestinians. They expect international support to help them win their freedom - or at least not assistance in their oppression.

Karma Nabulsi is a fellow in politics and international relations at St Edmund Hall, Oxford University

“Uniting for peace” is not the answer of course, any more than petty bourgeois pacifism ever stopped war or will stop the crisis driven plunge to World War Three by the imperialist system.

But it is a sign of the enormous impact the growing anti-imperialist hatred of the masses throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world Africa has had – inspired not only by its own rejection of warmongering oppression but by the decades long gritted-teeth determination of the Palestinian people to refuse their total historic destruction (like so many nationalities have been wiped out before by imperialism; Aborigines, Maories, Native Americans, slave-slaughtered Africans, etc etc) – that public opinion is turning even in the West.

Even now a truly outrageous censorship and media manipulation campaign is being coordinated by the international Jewish religious freemasonry to suppress the perfectly valid boycott campaign which has picked up huge momentum among British university teachers appalled at Zionism’s non-stop atrocities.

And as always it is capitulated to by the most disgusting collusion by British class collaborating trade union leaderships and so-called Labourism which is always completely up the fundament of the foulest imperialist interests.

Boycotts are only a symptoms of the real conflicts rising on the planet as the now increasingly out-of-time and desperate Western capitalist system heads for total catastrophic disaster, driven by the onrushing economic and political crisis of its profit-based system (see epsr box).

It is the connections between the gut-wrenching fear which grips the ruling class at every perturbation now of the Stock Exchanges and banks (and graphically revealed in the headless chicken panic of the subprime mortgage collapse over the summer before being covered up again with unctuous slicked over conscious lies – led by the New Labour – that “the economy is fundamentally sound”) and the rising tide of revolt which are completely missed by the entire fake-”left”, which mainly continues to line up with imperialism to condemn the enormous worldwide ferment and insurgency as “nothing but criminal terrorism”.

But the turn to warmongering blitzkrieging and openly fascist mercenary torturing mayhem by imperialism – and the escalating revolt against it – are part of the collapse of the entire world order into the greatest disaster in all history – solvable only by ending totally the capitalist system by revolution. As the EPSR quote above continued:

Such colossal energy and indignation cannot possibly remain purely destructive, resentful, and disorganised for ever.

A sturdy new RED ARMY movement must emerge soon, emulating and surpassing even the mighty feats of China and the Soviet Union.

And it is the West’s own disgust with itself which is a good indicator that the imperialist propaganda trick (of just highlighting the destructive negative anarchy of Middle East anti-imperialism so far) is not going to be the world’s final verdict on what is going on.

The reality of the world movement is of developing revolutionary spirit and struggle by tens of millions however weirdly or oddly expressed and led it is yet.

The fake-“left” will continue to miss the historical point in a big way as they all demonstrated over the anti-Burmese (Myanmar correctly) “democracy” stunt recently attempted by the west (see EPSR 1321).

Despite some wariness at being caught out lining up too obviously with the “freedom” lies and CIA coordinated support being lent to the artificially stirred up “Buddhist movement” by the most overtly anti-communist Western media and politicians (Bush, Brown the Voice of America, the BBC World Service etc, etc) most of the fake-“left” joined in the clamour – as usual condemning the “vicious military” (CPGB) or the “brutality of the Burmese regime” (SWP) or even in the case of left Labourites and the Morning Star “Communists” (CPB) calling for the British and Americans to be “exposed” for “not intervening”.

Can crawl-arsing to imperialism get much worse?

Of course, oozed the Trots, their support for the revolt was for different reasons to the reactionary Western leaderships – they just happened to be lined up full square with them because they supported a “proper” “people’s revolt” since you could not “trust” western governments to “do the right thing”.

What disgusting deliberate reactionary confusion-mongering shysterism.

This is the same lying academic perfectionist game-playing that the Trots and fake-“lefts” have always used, from the original trumped up nonsense of a completely impossible “political revolution” to supposedly restore workers rule in the Soviet Union and which turned out to be nothing but total counter-revolution when it happened, as must have been the case in a workers state (see non-stop EPSR polemics for 25 years) — to going along with every reactionary stunt organised by imperialism from the fascistic Solidarnosc “trade union” counter-revolution in Poland in 1980 to Tiananmen Square in China, and all the anti-Yugoslavian “self-determination” Croatian, Bosnian, Slovenian, Kosovan and such provocations of the 1990s.

It was even used to undermine the heroic and increasingly successful nationalist struggle in Occupied “northern” Ireland with the same notion of a “perfect” working class movement which they supported (or would like to see organised) thereby justifying knifing in the back the real existing movement’s taking on of imperialism.

No such “real workers’ current” was visible in the hysterical petty bourgeois posturing in Rangoon. Even if a full square communist Leninist understanding does exist somewhere in Burma, it would understand that the entire petty bourgeois “democracy” stunt was a total fraud aimed at toppling a bourgeois nationalist but still partially anti-imperialist regime.

It would know that the first position to take would be against the monstrous imperialist intervention, calling for its total defeat.

That would in no way imply support for the Burmese regime or compromise at all a workers struggle any more than the Bolshevik’s stand against reactionary general Kornilov implied at all that they supported the bourgeois parliamentary duplicity of Kerensky.

The issue is if anything even easier. The giant threat to the entire planet comes from late overwhelmingly dominant monopoly capitalist imperialism and its historically outmoded system which can only collapse into chaos and destruction as Marx analysed.

If imperialism succeeded in toppling this Burmese thorn in its side it would only aid its counter-revolutionary warmongering strength (not least by turning up the heat on China – which for all its revisionist shortcomings continues to be a planned workers state economy as the latest Chinese Communist Party Congress just about managed to make clear through revisionist fogginess last week).

And that in turn would be the worst outcome for workers everywhere, including in Myanmar.

There is a huge “real” revolt growing among workers on the planet – exactly the messy crude disorganised one that the Trots so love to condemn.

It will not stay that way and will eventually be forced by the needs of struggle to understand the need for scientific revolutionary understanding and leadership.

The earlier the fight to build such understanding is underway, including exposing the fakeries of imperialism and its petty bourgeois hangers-on, the better.

Build Leninism.

Don Hoskins

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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).

THE ‘DISAPPEARED’ IN BRAZIL — The right to truth and justice

THE wounds left by the murder and disappearance of political activists in Brazil are still open, but the recent publication of the book Direito á memórla e a verdade (The Right to Memory and Truth), and its launch, attended by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, offers some hope to the people of this South American country concerning the truth of the fate of the 400 persons identified as victims of the 1964-1985 military dictatorship, although there may have been many, many more. .

The book, representing 11 years of work by the Special Commission for the Dead and Disappeared, acknowledges for the first time the Brazilian government’s responsibility for the crimes against these individuals, although the number of those identified as killed by the military regime is considered low in this country of 100 million within a territory of eight million square kilometers.

“The fact that the Brazilian state has admitted its guilt in cases of torture, kidnapping and disappearances carried out by the armed forces is a relief to the families,” said Cecilia Coimbra, vice president of the Tortura Nunca Mais non-governmental organization and a political prisoner herself during the period, who is still dissatisfied with what the government has done. The book was launched in a simple ceremony in the Palacio del Planalto, before relatives of the 400 recognized victims of the military repression, with President Lula da Silva in attendance along with Defense Minister Nestor Jobim, demonstrating the government’s desire to recover the historic memory. Leaders of the three branches of the armed forces were absent.

Nevertheless, neither Lula da Silva or Jobim proposed opening the military archives that would give a more exact account of what happened during the so-called “years of lead” in the country, at that time a member of Operation Condor, a sinister group of Latin American dictatorships that exchanged information and detained political activists with the aim of eliminating them.

The book acknowledges that “the repressive apparatus went so far as to function outside of the country.” In

1972, it left its stamp in Bolivia, in Chile and Uruguay in 1973, and in Argentina in 1976,” as well as naming some of the figures within the repressive regime.

During the launch, Marco Antonio Rodriguez Barbosa, president of the Special Commission for the Dead and Disappeared established by the previous administration of Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who promised not to open the military archives for 30 years, criticized the interpretation that has been made of the 1979 Amnesty Law, allowing those guilty of the repression to avoid trial.

During his comments, Lula da Silva acknowledged that “One of the wounds still open is the location of the remains of the victims,” a task he described as a “sacred right,” but he did not promise to unseal military files, as demanded by the families.

The nightmares and grief of families of the murdered and disappeared were summed up in the words of Lorena Moroni Barrosa, whose sister, Jana, was among the victims in the province of Araguia: “This book is an important step forward, but it is only a step. Most important is the clarification of the circumstances surrounding the deaths and disappearances, the location of the bodies and the punishment of those responsible.”


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).

The blockade must be lifted immediately

Cuban foreign minister’s report to United Nations

Economic damage to Cuba caused by the U.S. blockade now totals more than $89 billion, stated Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque during his presentation to the national and foreign media of the report on UN General Assembly Resolution 61/11, The Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial Blockade Imposed by the United States of America on Cuba. The resolution was included in the Assembly’s program, and is to be discussed by that international body on October 30.

During his presentation, Pérez Roque affirmed that the blockade continues to generate growing international opposition due to its extraterritorial measures. And on this occasion, 115 member countries of the UN, as well as an observer State, the Holy See, and 23 agencies, including the UN Development Programme, the Pan-American Health Organization, the Food and Agricultural Organization, have presented their own reports on the negative impact of the blockade. These reports noted that from May 2006 to May 2007, more than 30 countries have been economically affected.

“The blockade is not a bilateral issue,” Perez emphasized.

The Cuban minister noted that in 1992, when Cuba presented the report for the first time, only 59 countries voted to end it. Last year, however, 183 nations did so, a reflection of international opposition to the blockade, which has been implemented to an extent that is “schizophrenic,” he commented.

The report details the blockade’s growing effects in every sector of the Cuban economy, and the suffering it brings to the island’s people. In one paragraph, the report notes that the blockade qualifies as an act of genocide by virtue of the 1948 Geneva Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Article II, paragraph C. It is also considered an act of economic warfare, in line with what was established by the 1909 London Naval Conference.

Likewise, it is part of the state terrorism systematically carried out against the Cuban population, which has cost more than 3,000 lives.

They also not have a single reason to justify the blockade.

Among the actions intensifying the blockade described by the report is the theft of Cuba’s Cohiba cigar and Havana Club rum trademarks, under the pretext of Section 211 of the U.S. Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Law for fiscal year 1999.

The worst effects of the blockade on Cuban society during the period of May 2006 to April 2007 include the impact on its food supply, to the tune of more than $258 million. With that amount, the island could have bought some 180,000 tons of soybeans, 72,000 tons of soy oil, 300,000 tons of corn and 275,000 tons of wheat.

With respect to food products that Cuba imports from the United States, limitations imposed by the Bush administration caused the island to spend $62.8 million more last year than it would otherwise have done.

One of the issues that most affects the population is the blockade’s effects on public health care, in the amount of more than $30 million, including those affecting emergency services, gravely ill patients, operating rooms and others, because of the impossibility of access to diagnostic equipment, the newest medicines, etc. One example is Cuba’s inability to acquire the children’s general anesthesia agent Sevoflurane; this has forced the island’s specialists to utilize substitutes of lesser quality.

Visits and exchanges have also been affected, as have contracts for music groups and participation by Cuban academics and experts in forums and events sponsored by U.S. non-governmental, institutions and organizations.

In the health sector alone, 37 Cuban specialists were prevented from attending activities organized in the United States on the pretext that their entry into the country could negatively affect U.S. interests.

After presenting the report, Perez Roque invited representatives from different sectors of the Cuban economy, health care, education, communications, transport, culture and biotechnology, as well as a leading athlete of the International Special Olympics, to talk to the press about their experiences with the effects of the blockade on their respective areas of work.

All of them provided examples of the harm caused by U.S. restrictions to the better development of their activities, and the difficulties involved with the impossibility of acquiring certain equipment, materials and medicines, as well as the higher costs when they are able to access them.

Particularly striking comments came from Doctor Herminia Valenzuela of the William Soler Pediatric Cardiac Center, and Doctor Alexander Mármol of the Nephrology Institute, about how children and patients with kidney problems are suffering and dying every year. The examples were dramatic.

Foreign journalists later asked Pérez Roque for his opinions on several issues. To a question on how much he thinks the U.S. is losing in possible earnings due to the blockade, he said, “I think that the main element that they should consider is not what they are losing, but how much they are making us, their own citizens and citizens in other parts of the world, suffer and that would be more than enough reason — I would say the main one — to abandon such an absurd, criminal, illegal policy, which faces enormous universal opposition and which makes a country that calls itself a champion of human rights look ridiculous.”

In response to another question, he affirmed that Cuba is willing to hold a dialogue with the United States that is respectful of its sovereignty and rights; on the contrary, it will continue to resist the blockade for another 1,000 years.

The blockade must be lifted immediately and unconditionally, because it is a violation of the rights of the Cuban people, of international law, and of the rights of the U.S. people, he affirmed.

The minister continued: “The U.S. government does not have one single reason to justify the policy of the blockade, a policy of genocide against a people, an attempt to bring to its knees through hunger and disease a small country that does not pose any threat to the security of the United States. •


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World Revolutionary Socialist Review

(edited extracts from a variety of anti-imperialist struggles).
US military steps up a gear


THE FACT that the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks against New York’s World Trade Centre and General David Petraeus’s testimony to the US Congress coincided serves as a reminder of President George W Bush’s attempts to cast the American invasion and occupation of Iraq as part of the larger war on terror, a logical and supposedly unavoidable step to prevent the next 9/11 or avenge the last.

The falsity of the claimed connection was long ago exposed but the Bush administration is still resisting the facts. Now the Iranians’ nuclear programme has assumed the role of Iraq’s supposed ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ of Iraq in the mind of Bush and his acolytes: the perfect excuse for military intervention.

The ‘War against Terror’ was, from the start, a campaign of lies, unsuccessful missions and several other problems.

First it was the promise of democracy, pacification and security of the so-called ‘rogue states’. To this end, the US allied itself with the dictatorships of General Musharraf in Pakistan and the Wahabi dictatorship in Saudi Arabia.

Bush’s ‘democracy’, made impracticable (if ever it was) by the increasing violence and insecurity in Afghanistan and Iraq, has ensured that US companies have made millions of dollars, secured contracts and the oil streams through to the US. However, Bush’s first objective, the capture of ‘International Public Enemy Number 1’, Osama bin Laden,: remains unfulfilled. In fact, Osama has disappeared from the map, reappearing on the worldwide web and satellite TV via his tapes or videos, much to the annoyance of the US. Or is it to their relief, as his apparent freedom allows them to keep pursuing their particular ‘pacification’ agendas of places they find troublesome,


A single force drives all discussion about Iraq. It’s not so much about Iraqis. Washington’s concerns are the future of the US military, US prestige, US access to oil, and broader US strategic interests in the Middle East. Neither Petraeus nor US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker could convincingly claim that the latest Bush strategy, the American military escalation in Iraq, is achieving its original goals. Having assured us last spring that we would learn by September whether the so-called “surge” is a success, according to those benchmarks, the general and the diplomat now ask us to disregard the original measures, look elsewhere for wisps of hope, and give the Bush plan yet another six months.

General Petraeus gave a misleading report to the US Congress when he said “significant progress” was being made in Iraq, including a sharp drop in the number of attacks on American forces and a lessening of sectarian violence.

“What people came away with from the report is that the situation is better for people living in Iraq and that’s just not true,” said Yifat Susskind of the women’s rights organisation madre. “That’s refuted both by the fact that statistics don’t bear it out and in the experiences of the regular Iraqis we speak to on a daily basis.”

In fact, a joint abc/bbc poll showed that 70 per cent of Iraqis believe security has deteriorated since the Bush administration increased the number of troops in Iraq this spring. Some 60 per cent believe attacks on US forces are justified, a number that includes 93 per cent of Sunnis.

According to the poll, only 29 per cent of Iraqis now think the situation will get better, compared to 64 per cent who shared that optimism before the so-called “surge” of troops began.

The survey cannot be said to contain any data from which even the most facile manipulator could make a colourful collection of upbeat charts. The proportion of Iraqis who rate their local security positively (43 per cent) is unchanged since March.

When asked to assess the “surge” overall, Iraqis are particularly negative: more than two-thirds say the stepped-up US military presence has worsened security, worsened the country’s political dialogue, and worsened the pace of reconstruction and economic development.

“One of the most cynical things General Petraeus did was celebrate the fact that there’s a decline in sectarian violence,” Susskind said. “But that drop reflects the success of ethnic cleansing rather than anything the US military has done. The reality is that there are places where killing is down because there’s nobody left to kill.”

A poll by orb, a British polling agency that has conducted several surveys in Iraq, has suggested that the total number slain during more than four years of war is more than 1.2 million.

According to the group Refugees International, nearly five million Iraqis have been forced from their homes since the fall of Saddam Hussein. More than two million people are now displaced inside the country, and an additional 2.5 million have fled to neighbouring countries.

The numbers continue to grow with as many as 100,000 per month newly displaced within the country and another 40,000 to 60,000 fleeing to Syria.


While General Petraeus portrays the eventual withdrawal of several brigades as the result of “success”, the truth is that the US Army, Marines and National Guard will soon reach breaking point.

In addition, two retired US Army generals - Lieutenant-General Robert Gard (who now works at the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation in Washington), and Brigadier-General John Johns (a board member at the non-profit Council for a Livable World) - released a statement arguing the continued American occupation of Iraq is destroying the US military.

“Continued engagement in Iraq’s civil war distracts the United States from our more urgent missions in Afghanistan and enhanced homeland security, stretches the US military to the breaking point, inflicts psychological scars on returning veterans and breaks up their families, causes mounting American casualties, increases the drain on the US Treasury, and erodes our stature in the world,” the generals wrote in a statement.

Gard, who served in combat during both the Korean and Vietnam wars, said that Petraeus’s report and Bush’s speech afterwards reminded him of 1967, when then-Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara told President Lyndon Johnson that he thought the Vietnam War was lost.

“Lyndon Johnson privately agreed, but no president wants to lose a war,” Gard told OneWorld. “So we surged. In 1968, we had lost 24,000 young men. Five years later we had lost 58,000 and nothing was accomplished.

“Now we’re going down the same path,” he said.

“We didn’t alter the outcome by that surge and now you’ve got Bush in office and he isn’t going to be changed unless he’s forced to do so.”


International opinion is now occupied, though, not so much by the surge in Iraq but with the increasing probability of an attack against Iran. With the US keen to push for a third UN Security Council resolution authorising a further tranche of sanctions against Iran, both London and Washington have increased the heat by alleging that they are already fighting a proxy war with Tehran in Iraq.

Perhaps more worrying are the well-sourced claims from conservative think-tanks in the US that there have been ‘instructions’ by the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney to roll out support for a war against Iran.

Pentagon and CIA officers say they believe that the White House has begun a carefully calibrated programme of escalation that could lead to a military showdown with Iran.

General Petraeus’s denunciation of Iran’s “proxy war” in Iraq point out to the administration’s intention to launch the campaign against Iran in the near future - maybe with raids from bases in Iraq.

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