No 1535 18th May 2018
Zionland 70th timing for “fashionable” transfer of US embassy to occupied Jerusalem an obvious encouragement for gruesome butchery of besieged and unarmed Gaza Palestinians by the artificial Nazi-Jewish “state of Israel”. But this provocation goes deeper, egging on an unholy Zionist alliance with corrupt and degenerate feudal Saudis to whip up regional conflict and destruction against Iran. That in turn just part of world intimidation and bullying by US led imperialism ramping up the World War atmosphere it needs as the only way out of total breakdown and collapse. But the turn to ever more aggression and intimidatory bluster teaches the world even more about the fascist reality of Western “freedom and democracy” while simultaneously splitting world bourgeoisie, riven with panic from Catastrophic crisis collapse and the world revolt it is inevitably generating. Europe - US conflict escalates around the trade war. Palestinian heroic sacrifice exposes Goebbels “anti-semitism” propaganda. Revolutionary theory vital to explain and lead
The astonishing self-sacrifices of the unarmed Palestinians heroically storming the Zionist “border” around the besieged hell-hole of the Gaza Strip are teaching the entire world further lessons in the sick depravity of imperialist/Zionist world domination and the ever more barbaric Nazism it is forced into as capitalism’s greatest ever crisis deepens.
But the continuing hopelessness and failure of the fake-“left” of all shades still hampers and holds back the struggle for revolutionary consciousness.
Their universal pacifist handwringing, “democracy” delusions and limited moral “protests” against the sick Nazi-Zionist massacres on the Gazan border are nothing but ineffectual distractions and diversions from the revolutionary politics needed.
The overturn of the whole Jewish-Israeli occupation and the ending of the false “state” of “Israel” is the only way out of this horror, a struggle which needs, and merges with, the whole Middle East struggle and the worldwide fight to defeat and overturn the whole imperialist system.
The Gazans are teaching the world that whatever the cost, the ever-growing hatred and resistance of the proletarian masses to imperialist exploitation will never stop.
Nor can it, either generally throughout the increasingly crisis-wracked monopoly capitalist system, or as it is most sharply expressed in Palestine, as even some of the bourgeois press were obliged to hint at in their reports:
Amid the wail of sirens and the urgent to and fro of ambulances from the front line, Gaza’s hospitals struggled on Monday to cope with the influx of dead and wounded after Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian protesters.
Witnesses described morgues filling up and a sense of panic as hundreds of relatives converged on hospitals seeking news.
Among the 40,000 Palestinians who flocked to Gaza’s border fence, it was clear to many that the day would end with death.
“Today is the big day when we will cross the fence and tell Israel and the world we will not accept being occupied for ever,” said Ali, a science teacher who declined to give his last name. “Many may get martyred today, so many, but the world will hear our message: occupation must end.”
But after weeks of similar protests in which at least 40 Palestinians have died, the violence at Monday’s “Great March of Return” – coinciding with the controversial ceremony in Jerusalem to mark the relocation of the US embassy – was shocking even by the standards of the recent demonstrations.
Within the space of a few hours, at least 55 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, including five minors, in the single most deadly day in Gaza since the end of the last war in 2014.
In line with previous protests in recent weeks that have resulted in dozens of Palestinian fatalities, there were no reports of any dead or injured on the Israeli side.
It was soon clear that repeated calls on Israel to show restraint were being swept away by volleys of teargas and live bullets, with most of the casualties concentrated in the southern Gaza towns of Khan Younis and Rafah.
The violence began as it would continue. In one area, about 150 metres from the border fence, reporters watched two men who tried to advance towards the border fence being shot in the legs by Israeli troops. Scores more were hit in the upper body, according to health workers.
Included among the Palestinian fatalities were three men the Israeli military said it had killed as they tried to place an explosive device near the border fence; 14-year-old Az-Adin Asamak; a medic; and a man in a wheelchair who had been pictured on social media using a slingshot, while Al Jazeera television said one of its reporters had been injured by Israeli live fire.
Israeli jets launched airstrikes against five Hamas outposts and Israel said it was preparing for the risk of retaliatory rocket fire from Hamas in Gaza.
Many of those drawn to the protests spoke of mounting desperation in Gaza where Israel’s blockade has devastated the economy, leaving unemployment for under-25s at more than 60%.
“I’m here because we want our land returned. We have nothing to lose,” said Mohammad Nabieh, 25, who had been burning tyres to provide cover for the protesters.
Nabieh said he was the descendant of refugees from a village near the Israeli city of Ashdod but had never been able to visit the place his family came from. “Nobody cares about us, so why to wait to die slowly. The blockade put us in a big cage – we have to get out. I’m 25 and have almost no work. What am I supposed to do? Rely on aid?”
Said Gherbawi, 28, who was black with soot, had also been burning tyres. “I have no work. This is my work now. We have to keep Israelis bothered by the smoke. I don’t know any better way than this. We have to fight,” he said.
Ismail Radwan, a senior Hamas figure, said the mass border protests against Israel would continue “until the rights of the Palestinian people are achieved”.
As Marx most famously said in the Communist Manifesto, the masses have nothing to lose but their chains.
They can do no other but continue this resistance by every means they can find, until the Zionist Nazis are defeated, overthrown and ejected for good from the homes, cities and lands they have stolen and occupied by ethnic cleansing and bloody terror since 1948, with every single square metre of property returned.
Or the world will have to sit by as the entire Palestinian people, now around eight million strong, dies trying, genocidally eliminated or reduced to the kind of remnants left of native peoples of the American continent, north and south, by waves of ruthless, bloodthirsty and land greedy European settlers over centuries.
No other outcomes are possible in the modern world of anti-colonialism and the growing awareness of the great majority billions still tyrannised and oppressed throughout the world by ruthless imperialist exploitation but brought to a consciousness of their own humiliation, and the possibilities they are denied, by that same exploitation.
The artificial construct of “Israel” so-called, is a complete opposite to this advance in post-war anti-imperialism, (and eventually progress towards communism).
It was, and is, an out of time and place, concrete reversion to old colonialism, with its violent landtheft imposition on another people’s territory.
Its steamrollered creation sanctioned by the “international community” (meaning the major imperialist powers) and their stooge United Nations, can only induce endless resistance and rebellion in such an epoch, from the Palestinians themselves, driven into permanent, ethnically cleansed refugeehood and propertyless exile, and from the entire 250+ million strong Arab world around them, also being bullied and beaten down by this dagger plunged into the heart of the Middle East by US dominated world imperialism (and its sidekicks like the United Kingdom).
And the monstrous Jewish-Israeli occupation is forced to endlessly intensify its terrorising oppression in response, always ratcheting up the barbarity, brutal intimidation and border extensions in order to “protect and survive” (quite apart from endless additional “Zionist” aggressive and self-righteous settlement expansionism and terror-bullying expulsion of “non-chosen” peoples, “justified” by some 3000 year old religious mumbo-jumbo).
It thereby constantly adds to the resentment, hostility and resistance throughout the world, tightening the contradictions that will break finally into its downfall.
The waves of rebellious detestation and hatred caused by the toad-like squatting of the fascist-colonists on the land of these oppressed millions, and the violent suppression of all objections, can only spread further throughout the Third World and through every decent, fair-minded and civilised brain everywhere else too.
Increasingly this never-to-be-ended upheaval merges into the general world revolutionary turmoil of the last decades, which despite its own sectarian confusions and its blitzkrieg suppression by imperialism (taking out whole cities like Mosul and Falluja) in the name of ludicrous “war on terror”, can only continue to increase.
That largely (but not only) “jihadist” turmoil will find its way through the backward and self-defeating religious ideologies which have dominated it for the moment (and sometimes left it open to Western manipulation), eventually developing towards a fully Marxist struggle which will finally overturn imperialist rule on the way to establish worldwide cooperative socialism.
Palestine is a central element.
Instead of seeing and explaining the great rising tide of anti-imperialist hatred as one interconnected response to the crisis-ridden imperialist system, the “left” limit themselves to hopeless reformist responses, treating the Palestinian cause as yet another single-issue to be “protested”.
But Washington and Donald Trump’s deliberately belligerent chauvinist regime (George W Bush’s New American Century on steroids) is itself underlining the connections.
The Zionist intrusion has always been a useful tool for imperialism, (usually) willingly going along with the disproportionate influence and manipulation of the Jewish religious freemasonry within the US and other imperialist countries (to ensure “Israel’s defence” and maintenance is a central part of imperialist world policy) because its smiting and terrorising has helped keep down the entire region for imperialist exploitation and plundering.
Now, as the Catastrophic failure of the profit making system endlessly intensifies, it is being made an even more important tool, a spearhead for the escalation of imperialist intimidation and blitzing which the US ruling class decided at least three decades ago, was the only way out of the complete collapse and failure of its system.
But that has not gone well in the quagmire of Iraq and Afghanistan, provoking and magnifying hugely the resistance, and again in Libya and Syria after the giant street revolt in Egypt.
Zionist aggression has become even more crucial.
And so the US not only deliberately ignores the vile “turkey shoot” butchery and mass maiming of the desperate Gaza enclave’s unarmed protestors, and the endless concentration camp siege it enforces, but essentially sanctions and cheers on this Nazi killing and violent repression, by its outright support for the reactionary Netanyahu belligerence.
Encouragement for ever more crudely depraved war crime smiting and aggression against the Palestinians is the obvious implication of the “recognition” of occupied Jerusalem (occupied even by the “legal standards” of the original UN “gift” of Palestine in 1948) as the supposed “true capital”.
But much bigger questions are raised by the latest events and their deliberate egging on by the grotesque Trumpite provocation of moving the US embassy to Zionist-occupied Jerusalem.
Clearly this tramples across all imperialist pretences of looking for a “fair solution” for the brutally dispossessed Palestinians.
It teaches the world yet another lesson in the complete fascist barbaric reality of US imperialism’s supposed “freedom and democracy” and the ever more glaring inversions of its propaganda pretences.
But this deliberate contempt for the sensibilities of the entire Arab world and the wider Middle East, particularly Iran, goes far beyond the usual hypocrisy; it is an outright fascist threat, using the Zionist enclave as its weapon.
In this it goes hand in hand with the similar collusion and outright “military assistance and advice” for the gruesome barbarities being inflicted on Yemen by the disgusting stoogery of the Saudi feudal “royalty” (next door to the Zionists).
Now at least three years into a vile war this has taken non-stop bombing and missile destruction of innocent men, women and children to grotesque levels of inhumanity and quite deliberately is imposing a “humanitarian disaster” (as the bureaucratic UN and NGO language describes such carnage).
At the last count in the few reports that Western indifference and media suppression allow through, eight million people were facing outright famine and millions more, hunger and devastation, as civilian terrorising continues:
An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition hit a wedding party in northern Yemen, killing at least 20 people, health officials said, as harrowing images emerged on social media of the deadly bombing, the third to hit Yemeni civilians since the weekend.
Khaled al-Nadhri, the top health official in the northern province of Hajja, told the Associated Press that most of the dead were women and children who were gathered in one of the tents set up for the wedding party in the district of Bani Qayis. He said the bride was among the dead.
The hospital chief, Mohammed al-Sawmali, said the groom and 45 of the wounded were brought to the local hospital. Health authorities appealed for people to donate blood.
Ali Nasser al-Azib, the deputy head of al-Jomhouri hospital, said 30 children were among the wounded, some in critical condition with shrapnel wounds and severed limbs.
Footage that emerged from the scene of the airstrike shows scattered body parts and a young boy in a green shirt hugging a man’s lifeless body, screaming and crying.
Health ministry spokesman Abdel-Hakim al-Kahlan said ambulances were initially unable to reach the site of the bombing for fear of subsequent airstrikes as the jets continued to fly overhead after the initial strike.
This was the third deadly airstrike in Yemen in recent days. Another airstrike on Sunday night hit a house elsewhere in Hajja, killing an entire family of five, according to al-Nadhri.
On Saturday, at least 20 civilians were killed in an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition after fighter jets bombed a bus carrying commuters near the war-torn district of Mowza in western Yemen, near the city of Taiz, which has been locked in fighting for three years.
The Saudi-led coalition declined to comment on the strikes when contacted by the AP. The coalition has been waging a war on Yemen’s Shia rebels known as Houthis, who control much of the north, and the capital, Sana’a, to restore the internationally recognised government to power.
According to the independent monitor Yemen Data Project, a third of the 16,847 airstrikes since the war started have hit non-military targets.
Over the past three years, more than 10,000 civilians have been killed and tens of thousands wounded, while more than 3 million people have been displaced because of the fighting.
UN officials and rights groups accused the coalition of committing war crimes and of being responsible for most of the killings. Airstrikes have hit weddings, busy markets, hospitals and schools.
...US and European countries have also been criticised and accused of complicity in the coalition’s attacks in Yemen because of their support for the alliance and for supplying it with weapons worth billions of dollars.
The Saudi depravities are being ramped up for its own purposes, to find a diversion from internal turmoil being driven by the impact of oncoming near state bankruptcy for this throwback reactionary stooge, the result of world economic Catastrophe which has wiped out the once easy money of endless oil sales as Slump has halved international prices.
Desperate reform concessions by this “royal” backwardness to its own population held in feudal repression, such as allowing women to drive, have been made but are not enough to head off the dangers of revolutionary collapse – which have long been festering and which generated the Osama bin Laden revolt in the 1990s, incensed at the corruption, degeneracy and hypocrisy of the royals and their collusion with “infidel” imperialism.
The Saudi royals are now so far lined up with Washington that they have even cynically and contemptuously abandoned their supposed hostility to Zionism and their “Arab family” aid and support for the dispossessed Palestinians:
The Palestinians should either accept the peace plan they are offered at the moment or “shut up” and “stop complaining,” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman reportedly told Jewish organizations in New York.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the heir apparent to the Saudi throne, made the remark during a closed-door meeting with heads of Jewish organizations in New York on March 27, Barak Ravid, a diplomatic correspondent with Israel’s Channel 10, wrote on the Axios website.
Citing an Israeli diplomatic cable, as well as two sources briefed on the meeting, Ravid reported that the prince, often referred to as MbS, was unusually blunt when speaking on the Palestinian cause.
“In the last several decades the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given,” the prince said. “It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the negotiations table or shut up and stop complaining.”
The attendees were more than surprised to hear the bombshell statement, sources told Ravid. “People literally fell off their chairs.”
Prince bin Salman also said that Palestine is not a top issue for Riyadh or Saudi public opinion, adding that the kingdom “has much more urgent and important issues to deal with,” such as countering Iran’s standing in the region.
While lashing out at the Palestinian leadership and President Mahmoud Abbas, bin Salman nevertheless said there needs to be significant progress in the Arab-Israeli peace process in order to mend ties between the Gulf nations and Tel Aviv.
All this is further being deliberately encouraged by Washington’s ramping up of the belligerent threats and bullying towards much hated Iran, (and potentially the Russian presence in Syria which it is associated with) through Donald Trump’s theatrical tearing up of the Tehran nuclear disarmament deal.
This inflaming of Zionist aggression, (already repeatedly bombing Iranian fighters in Syria) is building up into an astonishing (un)holy alliance (literally) of the Saudi Arabians, keepers (and exploiters) of Islam’s holiest sites and supposed supporters of the long-oppressed Palestinians, and the artificial Jewish “state” of “Israel” which ethnically cleansed this Arab people from its land in the first place and has maintained a boot on their neck ever since of bullying repression, routine torture, imprisonment and killings, and repeated all out blitzkrieg slaughter every few years.
The potential is for all-out war with Iran and the Shia axis it now dominates into Syria and Iraq after the failures of the Western Syrian civil war provocations, and against the Hezbollah forces in Lebanon.
The Zionists hold a particularly deep resentment against the latter for the defeat it inflicted on the Israeli Defence Force in 2006 when it was driven out of the occupation of southern Lebanon.
The “invincible” image of an overwhelming Zionist might was shattered forever.
It is Zionism’s own version of the psychologically debilitating Vietnam defeat for America and the issue has rankled ever since.
Appalling destruction is now threatened via this Saudi-Jewish alliance, (backed by the equally “holy” Christian fundamentalism egging on the Trumpites in the White House) and the assorted other allied feudal backwardness and reaction in the Gulf sheikhdoms.
Horrors and inhumanities far beyond even the barbarities seen so far are brought closer; and the (never-mentioned let alone criticised or condemned) Zionist nuclear arsenal could even be a factor.
All the reformists and middle-class fake-“left”s will immediately cry: “But nuclear war is just wild fantasy”.
So why do the imperialists hold and constantly renew their nuclear arsenals - as a hobby????
To posit that such events are unthinkable or even “as yet” unthinkable is to disarm the working class and fail to warn it of the scale of the oncoming crisis and the World War Three it is leading to.
And with this “anti-catastrophist” complacency they will thus prove their complete inability to grasp and understand the paralysing and deadly contradictions that the entire capitalist system now faces (as analysed initially by Karl Marx), and the utter breakdown posed by these worldwide intractable difficulties.
In other words they will demonstrate that they are not “revolutionaries” at all but reformists and opportunists - all of them posturing and preening on the wrong side of the class war fence.
But any analysis has to be made in the context of the Catastrophic crisis now underway and the inevitability of Third World War.
That is the only escape route the ruling class knows to the total mind-numbing dead-end failure of its profit making system, the greatest breakdown and failure of the entire monopoly capitalist order in history.
It is far beyond the Depression collapse of the 1930s as many bourgeois commentators were already saying in the 2008-9 global credit meltdown and will be even worse when the temporary breathing space of trillions of valueless dollars (Quantitative Easing) fails to prop up its total bankruptcy any longer, with a worldwide dollar collapse almost certainly at the centre.
Only revolution, and on a world scale is a solution.
In other words the lessons coming thick and fast from the depravities of the Zionists go far beyond Palestine alone.
These bloodcurdling perspectives being inflated with Trumpite fascist belligerence and bluster reflect an even greater desperation by the failing US dominance than ever.
Decades of war and destruction of country after country from little Serbia onwards and much of the Middle East has solved nothing.
Far from the “shock and awe” of the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions and blitzings intimidating the entire world into continued acceptance of US topdog status and its “rights” to continue exploiting the entire planet at will, they set ablaze unprecedented hatred throughout the Middle East and the Third World too, exploding in the Arab Spring popular revolts and the confused turmoil of the great jihadist and terrorist waves.
And the great question ripping the ruling class apart now is just how it can proceed when two decades of warmongering has not only done nothing to solve its problems but has massively magnified them, costing $trillions, shattering domestic morale and raising hostility both externally and internally.
It has to make war but does it dare?
And will the turn to even cruder fascist Nazi bluster (than Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld etc) in the White House translate into real devastation?
There is no doubt that the WW3 path is the one the bankrupt capitalist system is set on.
But mind-numbing questions are raised about the capability of imperialism to go through with its threats.
A crucial aspect now is the splits within the bourgeois establishment inside America (long speculated on fancifully by EPSR discussions as potentially seeing various state agencies at each others’ throats and now, staggeringly, become a reality, as the FBI etc squares off against the administration) and between the bourgeoisies internationally.
Huge disquiet now exists over once agreed (or at least grudgingly accepted) US leadership, the “topdog” and lead power for taking the world police role, to suppress dissent and rebellion by “rogue states” and mass revolt throughout the Third World particularly.
It has come to a head between the major European powers and the US over the Gazan events and Iran, with the desperate recent attempts by France’s Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to hold back the US moves, each making visits to Washington which have got nowhere.
Some of the bourgeois press describe these diplomatic EU-US splits as a “watershed break”. The tone of some commentaries by bourgeois press insider correspondents, who feed out the establishment line, has been astonishingly vitriolic, like this in the Guardian:
Donald Trump’s torpedoing of the Iran nuclear deal on highly specious and misleading grounds is an act of wanton diplomatic vandalism fraught with dangers. While the 2015 agreement may not yet be wholly sunk, it is holed below the waterline. Many in Tehran will see the sweeping reimposition of US sanctions as a declaration of war. As for Trump, he has once again proved himself the master of chaos.
This aggressive bid to further isolate Iran appears designed to ultimately enforce regime change. In the short-term it will destroy remaining mutual goodwill, undermine pro-western Iranian opinion, empower hardliners, trigger an oil price crisis, and increase the risk of conflict centred on Syria and Israel. It raises the spectre of a regional nuclear arms race, and damages the western alliance to the advantage, among others, of Russia. It is a Crimea-sized blow to the primacy of international law.
Yet Trump’s short-sighted folly, far from being unprecedented, is entirely consistent with a long history of similarly disastrous Middle East policy missteps by previous US presidents. The region is littered with the corpses of momentously misconceived and wrong-headed US policies, spawned by the same noxious mix of ignorance and arrogance now permeating the White House. In this respect, Trump is no different from many of his modern predecessors.
Iran, as ever, is a case in point. The 1979-81 Tehran hostage crisis is usually referenced by those seeking to explain enduring, official US enmity. It’s true America’s national humiliation was considerable, and Jimmy Carter paid the political price. But the Iranian people’s real offence was not the embassy siege. It was their presumptuous overthrow of the shah’s autocratic, pro-American regime in the 1979 revolution.
The US and the UK, after all, had gone to considerable trouble in 1953 to keep Iran in line, covertly ousting its democratically elected government of prime minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. Their loss of influence, consequent on Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s assertion of absolutist clerical rule, was the product of their own machinations. Here was the genesis of lethal US backing for Saddam Hussein in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
The fight to repel Saddam’s invasion took 300,000 Iranian lives. Its cost, and causes, are not forgotten. Close by the Khomeini mausoleum south of Tehran, I once walked among the well-tended, shaded graves of hundreds of “martyrs” interred in Behesht-e Zahra cemetery. The war was a national trauma. Yet there has been no US apology, nor any thought of one. Although the US finally turned on Saddam in 1990, although Iran helped track al-Qaida following the 2001 attacks, and even though the nuclear deal elicited significant concessions, venomously irrational, unmitigated US hostility persists.
Among the many US-fomented catastrophes in the Middle East, George W Bush’s 2003 decision to invade Iraq without a plan was a standout moment, unrivalled in its strategic incoherence and staggering incompetence. It destabilised Iraq territorially and economically. Bush’s “axis of evil” rhetoric and “global war on terror” fuelled sectarian violence and jihadism, playing midwife to Islamic State. And the ensuing, lengthy occupation failed to entrench inclusive democratic governance, as this weekend’s Iraq elections may again demonstrate.
Ronald Reagan used covert Middle East arms sales to fund an illegal war in Nicaragua in the 1980s. Likewise, the US armed the Afghan mujahideen, then blanched as they morphed into the Taliban. George HW Bush liberated Kuwait in 1991 only to betray Iraq’s Kurds and Shias when they demanded liberation, too.
Bill Clinton tried to end the Palestine-Israeli conflict, inspiring great optimism. I recall standing on the White House’s south lawn in 1993 as Clinton physically pulled Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin together for a reluctant handshake that had taken decades in coming. “Enough of blood and tears, enough … The time for peace has come,” Rabin solemnly declared.
But the time had not come. Blood continued to flow. Clinton’s efforts to play honest broker failed, like those of other American presidents, because, ultimately, the just claims of the Palestinians always proved unequal to Israel’s political, emotional, and financial clout in Washington. Far from endowing peace in Palestine, US policy has underwritten a deepening divide, the expansion of illegal settlements, and now the provocative recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Arafat and Rabin are both dead. So too, almost, is the two-state solution.
In the decades after the Suez Crisis in 1956, when Britain and France were shoved aside, successive US administrations war-gamed the Middle East as part of a bigger strategic contest with the Soviet Union. If that meant propping up pro-western dictators such as Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and the Saudi and Gulf monarchs, then so be it. Yet as Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state, conceded in Cairo in 2005, it was a self-defeating policy. “For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region, here in the Middle East, and we achieved neither,” she said.
In another famous Cairo speech, in 2009, Barack Obama promised a “new beginning”. The US had treated Middle East countries as either proxies or enemies, he said. Instead, Obama promised, it would tackle religious extremism, Palestine, nuclear proliferation, democratic deficits and women’s rights. Yet for all that, not much changed in the Obama years. Only the Iran deal marked a clear shift – until Trump wrecked it.
In many respects, the region’s problems have grown steadily worse under American tutelage. Witness Somalia, a failed state-turned-shooting range for US special forces. Witness Yemen, a humanitarian disaster wrought by the US-armed Saudi regime. Witness Libya, anarchic product of made-in-America regime change. Witness Turkey where, in the age of Guantánamo, human rights increasingly count for naught.
Unsurprisingly, terrorism, in many forms, is proliferating, as is displacement, poverty and youth unemployment. And all this without mentioning the post-2011 Syrian holocaust of half a million dead. Syria’s fate symbolises perhaps the biggest US failure of all: its hard-nosed refusal to support the Arab spring uprisings and stand up, despite Obama’s promises, for democratic self-determination.
Know-nothing Trump is the direct heir to this grim litany of catastrophic presidential blundering. But that is not to say Britain and Europe should tolerate yet another avoidable Middle East disaster wrought in Washington. Just as Russia has been told certain actions are unacceptable and incur painful consequences if not reversed, so too should the US.
The European allies must, by all available means, undercut, circumvent and subvert Trump’s attempt to wreck the Iran deal. Closer ties should be pursued with Tehran, while escalating, punitive diplomatic and economic sanctions are levelled at Washington. Joint action should also be taken to censure the US at the UN. A price must be paid for perfidy.
Theresa May can make a start by withdrawing her ill-judged invitation to Trump to visit Britain. With his Middle East warmongering, as with his climate change denial and his other dangerous and divisive policies, Trump threatens British interests and international peace and security.
This piece drips with old-fashioned British imperialist arrogance and contempt for the “upstart Americans” and their alleged “incompetence” in handling foreign affairs.
It sides with the anti-Trump bourgeois wing (around Hilary Clinton etc), particularly in its calls for Western invasion of Syria (which is what “support for the Arab Spring” means), and its anti-Russian “bogeyman” demonisation.
But it usefully spells out the backbiting and recriminatory conflicts tearing open the ruling class over how it is to deal with its deepening crisis and some details and history of the obvious chaotic mess it is creating.
This frantic fearfulness at the “mess being made” goes with basic and more obvious material factors.
It reflects the great underlying economic trade-war conflict brewing between the big powers of the monopoly capitalist world and their huge corporations and banks, all desperate to keep their place in the cutthroat international markets as they become ever more saturated with “surplus” capital, unable to find any investments for making profits (as Marx long ago described the underlying unsolvable problems with the system in Capital).
It is this bitter cutthroat competition which is the ultimately the driving force for all these developments and the underlying cause of all imperialist warmongering (the sole deepdown cause of the war chaos in the world usually blamed on “evil terrorists” or “undemocratic states outside the norms of international decency” etc):
Billions of dollars of deals signed by international companies with Iran are under threat after the US president, Donald Trump, announced he was pulling out of a “rotten” nuclear deal with Tehran.
Iran’s agreement in 2015 to curb its nuclear ambitions led to the US easing crippling sanctions, in a rapprochement in which big firms seized an opportunity to invest in a global top-30 economy with a population of about 80 million.
Within a year, landmark deals were being signed in sectors including oil and gas, aviation and the automotive industry, with firms in France, the UK and Germany among the quickest to invest.
Shares in several large Iranian investors, including Airbus, Renault and the Peugeot owner, PSA, fell in early trading on Wednesday amid concern about the impact on trading, while oil prices reached a three-and-a-half-year high.
A new regime of sanctions means restrictions are expected on many things, from exports of US machine parts to loans made in dollars.
Companies with any exposure to Iran will also have to tread very carefully or face the prospect of huge fines.
In December 2016, Royal Dutch Shell signed a provisional agreement to develop the Iranian oil and gas fields in South Azadegan, Yadavaran and Kish. While drilling is still a long way off, sanctions are likely to put on ice any preparations already being made.
The French oil firm Total is in a similar boat, having agreed to help Iran develop the world’s largest gas field, South Pars. Shell and Total were issued licences to build petrol stations in Iran, too.
In 1935, BP became the first company to extract petroleum from Iran, in its previous incarnation as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. The British oil firm did not rush in alongside Total and Shell, choosing instead to send in staff on a fact-finding mission. However, it could still be affected.
Late last year BP agreed to sell three North Sea gas fields to Serica Energy for $400m (£294m). One of the fields, Rhum, is co-owned by a subsidiary of Iran’s national oil company. That means a licence is required from the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to allow US nationals or companies to work on it.
If Serica cannot obtain that licence because of new sanctions, it faces the risk of being unable to call on US-owned companies, in the event, for instance, of a fire or oil spill, severely restricting its emergency options.
It said: “The company is evaluating the implications of these statements and how they relate to the Rhum field in which the Iranian Oil Company (U.K.) Limited is a 50% partner. We will update the market, as appropriate, in due course.”
Two of the big beasts of aviation, Airbus and Boeing, had deals in place worth $39bn to sell aircraft to Iran. The US treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said on Tuesday that the companies’ licences to export to Iran would be revoked.
The largest deal was an agreement by IranAir to buy 100 aircraft from Airbus. Although Airbus is European, more than 10% of parts and labour used to build its planes come from the US. The company employs about 10,000 people in the UK, at Filton and Broughton.
British Airways resumed direct flights between London Heathrow and Tehran in 2016 after four years, following the lifting of sanctions. The Guardian has approached the parent company, International Airlines Group, for comment on whether the route could be affected.
Several partnerships involving European carmakers may come screeching to a halt due to fresh sanctions, with French firms particularly badly affected.
Renault and PSA, which owns Citroën, Peugeot and Vauxhall, saw their shares fall on the Paris stock exchange on Wednesday as investors digested the impact.
When sanctions were lifted, Renault of France signed a $778m deal to make 150,000 cars a year outside Tehran. PSA signed agreements with local partners to produce hundreds of thousands of vehicles in Iran.
In PSA’s case there was a significant rise in sales in a region where it was once the leading carmaker. PSA has said it hoped the EU could reach a common position on Trump’s new sanctions, without saying what that might be.
PSA was producing cars in Iran as part of a joint venture with a local firm, Iran Khodro. The Tehran firm also signed a deal last year with the trucks division of Mercedes-Benz, owned by Daimler of Germany, with car production slated to follow this year. The German auto firm Volkswagen had also restarted exports to Iran.
Vodafone is working in partnership with Iranian firm HiWEB to roll out and modernise the country’s internet infrastructure, including broadband and mobile internet services. A company spokesperson said Vodafone was “monitoring the situation”.
While not likely to be directly affected, engineer Rolls-Royce stands to lose out as a result if, as expected, Airbus loses its 100-aircraft order with IranAir, because Rolls-Royce is the primary provider of engines to many of those aircraft models.
Donald Trump is prepared to impose sanctions on European companies that do business in Iran following his withdrawal of the US from the international nuclear deal, his administration reiterated on Sunday.
Trump’s most senior foreign policy aides signalled that the US would continue pressuring allies to follow Washington in backing out of the pact, which gave Tehran relief from sanctions in exchange for halting its nuclear programme.
John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, predicted that “the Europeans will see that it’s in their interests to come along with us” rather than continue with the 2015 deal, under which major European corporations have signed billions of dollars of contracts in Iran.
Asked on CNN’s State of the Union whether that meant the Trump administration would impose sanctions against those firms, Bolton said: “It’s possible. It depends on the conduct of other governments.”
US sanctions on Iran reimposed following Trump’s withdrawal not only block American firms from doing business in the country, but also bar foreign firms that do business there from accessing the entire US banking and financial system.
Mike Pompeo, Trump’s secretary of state, said on Sunday wealth created in Iran under the terms of the nuclear deal “drove Iranian malign activity” in the region. He declined to rule out sanctions against European firms.
“The sanctions regime that is in place now is very clear on what the requirements are,” Pompeo said on Fox News Sunday.
Trump’s decision to scrap the nuclear deal was sharply criticised by European leaders, who have pledged to uphold their side of the agreement.
Alarm has been particularly high in France, whose energy giant Total last year signed a $5bn deal to extract Iranian natural gas. Airbus, the French-based plane manufacturer, has already begun delivering jets to Iran Air under a multi-billion dollar contract.
Richard Grenell, the new US ambassador to Berlin, warned this week in a tweet: “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.”
Some European leaders have called for measures to nullify the US sanctions. Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, said last week: “We have to work among ourselves in Europe to defend our European economic sovereignty.”
European Union officials have indicated they may threaten similar measures to those that pressured then president Bill Clinton to give waivers to European companies under US sanctions on countries such as Cuba during the 1990s.
Trump himself hinted that there would be no concessions to European firms during remarks at the White House last week in which he confirmed the US withdrawal, which he promised during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has embarked on a tour of the deal’s other member states. He spoke hopefully in Beijing on Sunday, alongside Chinese officials. Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, said Trump’s decision was a “violation of morals” but said his country would remain in the deal.
“If the remaining five countries continue to abide by the agreement, Iran will remain in the deal despite the will of America,” Rouhani said, in remarks broadcast on state television.
The threat posed by Donald Trump’s administration has been likened to that of China and Russia by Donald Tusk as he condemned the US’s withdrawal from the Iran deal and threat of a transatlantic trade war.
At the start of an EU summit in Bulgaria, the European council president offered a withering condemnation of Trump’s White House. He said: “We are witnessing today a new phenomenon: the capricious assertiveness of the American administration. Looking at the latest decisions of President Trump, some could even think, ‘With friends like that, who needs enemies?’”
Trump’s decision to walk away from the nuclear deal with Iran – to which the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China are co-signatories – is being linked by the EU with the US administration’s refusal to exempt the bloc from steel and aluminium tariffs.
It was clear, Tusk suggested, that Washington could no longer be relied upon.
With member states yet to agree on how to handle the challenges, Tusk called on leaders gathering in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, to unite behind the tough line being taken by key European actors in response to the White House’s actions.
Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel have resolved to stick with the joint comprehensive plan of action with Iran, despite the threats of US sanctions against European businesses.
The European commission is refusing to open talks on wider trade terms with the US, including import tariffs on cars – a bugbear of the US president – until it receives a permanent exemption from punitive taxes on European steel and aluminium.
Before a dinner with EU leaders, including the UK’s prime minister, Tusk said: “I have no doubt that in the new global game, Europe will either be one of the major players, or a pawn. This is the only real alternative. In order to be the subject and not the object of global politics, Europe must be united economically, politically and also militarily like never before. To put it simply: either we are together, or we will not be at all.
“But, frankly speaking, Europe should be grateful by President Trump, because thanks to him we have got rid of old illusions. He has made us realise that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm.
“Europe must do everything in its power to protect – in spite of today’s mood – the transatlantic bond. But at the same time we must be prepared for those scenarios where we have to act on our own.”
Tusk said he wanted the 28 leaders over the next 24 hours to reconfirm that the EU would stick to the deal as long as Iran did. “The deal is good for European and global security, which is why we must maintain it,” he said.
Tusk said the US appeared to be hesitating in hitting European companies doing business in Iran with sanctions, but the bloc still needed to be ready to protect its interests. It was crucial, he said, that the EU stuck to its guns and refused to talk trade with the US until it received a permanent exemption from punitive tariffs on steel and aluminium imposed by Washington on the grounds of national security.
“The EU and US are friends and partners, therefore US tariffs cannot be justified on the basis of national security,” he said. “It is absurd to even think that the EU could be a threat to the US. We need to bring back reality in this discussion, which is not the case today.”
The leaders of the EU member states are in Sofia to discuss the western Balkans and digital innovation, but the agenda has been hijacked by the need to respond to Trump.
Tusk will also be having a personal meeting with May on Thursday to discuss Brexit, as concerns grow about the debate in the UK over the customs union. One senior EU official described the scenes of the British cabinet openly debating the way forward without a clear steer from May as shocking.
The last paragraph interestingly exposes some of the incompetent and disastrous mess that the British ruling class is making of the Brexit debacle too.
A large part of its “case” has been the supposed possibilities of “better trade deals” outside the EU especially the US as the major economic power.
But the Washington visit just made by Boris Johnson proved exactly the opposite, making clear that “special relationship” Britain is treated with as much, if not more, hostility and contempt than the rest of the EU. Johnson, unlike Merkel and Macron did not even get an appointment with Trump and the White House and was obliged to make his points by appearing on a Fox TV programme “which it is thought the President watches in the morning”!!
It will get no better treatment on trade and the economic outcome of the Brexit is looking increasingly dire.
As pointed out before, the reason to stay within Europe for the bourgeoisie was precisely to have some kind of protection within a larger economic bloc as the cutthroat trade war unfolds.
That is not any kind of argument for the working class to take sides however; in or out of Europe it will be hammered by the oncoming crisis, with the only difference being the nature and ownership of the rapacious monopoly combines exploiting it.
The reason the ruling class ploughs on with Brexit, despite the economic costs and risks, is precisely to whip up the chauvinist atmosphere and “blame the foreigners” scapegoating that it needs to divert and mislead the working class, trapping it behind the jingoism and “empire nationalism” which has corrupted and held-back its understanding for more than a century.
It distracts attention from the great crisis of the capitalist system itself which is the cause of the austerity misery being imposed.
But these conflicts will also show more clearly the degeneracy of capitalism.
Turning ever more obviously to Nazi belligerence and bullying is a desperate measure reflecting the weakness of a ruling class that can no longer hold the line with its sophisticated pretences of “freedom and democracy”.
That is the centuries long great fraud which has been the main weapon to control the masses and hide away the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie behind a veil of “having a say” and “gradual improvement in everyone’s lives”.
But the crisis collapse, relentlessly imposing “austerity” and with far greater economic failure collapse due at any time, undermines all that hoodwinking lie (and would do so much quicker without the entire fake-“left” constantly trying to bolster it up, dragging the working class back behind the thoroughly opportunist Labour Party and parliament).
The contrast on even the bourgeois press front pages, between the fashionably fragrant and wealthy pomp of the Jerusalem embassy opening, and the “fish-in-a-barrel” butchery in Gaza delivers priceless material lessons about the sick cynical realities of “peace processes” and “democracy”.
It particularly exposes the Goebbels racket of the Jewish lobby’s “anti-semitism” campaign and its lying pretences that hostility to “Israel” and to the Jewish religious freemasonry is down to some mysterious left version of revived racist hatred.
Let that also expose the Labourites, Blairite pro-capitalists and “left” Corbynite opportunists alike, who have capitulated to this nonsense and given it credence by “admitting” there “is a problem” and then setting up kangaroo court tribunals etc.
And let it also expose the fake-“lefts” who use a false dichotomy between “anti-Zionism” and “anti-semitism” to capitulate to this campaign as well, pretending it is possible to be against reactionary Zionism but still support the continued existence of “Israel” in various ways.
To avoid the issue of the return of all land and property to the dispossessed and the right of all the Palestinians to return home again, amounts to support for some form of continued existence of “Israel”.
So too do “one state solutions” in which the Jewish population has the alleged “right” stay on in a new Palestine or participate in a “sharing out” of the land and property.
There are no such “rights” even for “fourth generation” colonists etc. whether they were “born in Israel” or not.
A new Palestine (which will only be achieved by total revolutionary overthrow) might allow some of the Jewish population to remain if they request it – and given their undoubted skills and talents it would be sensible to have them make a contribution to such a new state – but only after every Palestinian has seen full restitution.
Support in any way for the existence of “Israel” is the essence of Zionism, even if dressed up as liberal or radical “left” “anti-Zionism”, and since over 95% of modern world Jewry essentially either supports, or does not oppose it, there is no longer any essential difference between Jewishness and Zionism as the EPSR analysed 20 years ago (see EPSR Books Vol 20 Palestine, Zionism and “anti-semitism” )
Of course random anti-Semitism is unfair, unjust and no solution to the issue of Palestine.
But there is a fundamental cause of modern anti-Jewish hostility and it is not “racism”. It lies precisely in the ever-more-Nazi atrocities inflicted on the Palestinian people; if that hostility finds expression sometimes in past anti-semitic “tropes” (and barmy conspiracy theories) then blame that on the Jewish religious freemasonry itself for failing not just to dissociate itself from the continuing existence of “Israel” but to campaign actively against it.
And blame the failure of “left” politics of all shades to educate the world in a coherent revolutionary perspective in which the reality of the “Israel” intrusion and its role in aiding and serving world imperialist domination is correctly explained, along with a perspective of revolutionary defeat and overturn for both “Israel” and the entire crisis ridden monopoly capitalist system behind it.
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