Bahrainis Mark Ninth Anniversary of Revolution

 February 14, 2020

http://program.almanar.com.lb/episode/97704 Video link

Bahrainis marked Friday the ninth anniversary of their revolution in face the Manama regime which resorted to the worst forms of suppression against the peaceful protesters who have sought freedom and democracy.

During a conference held in Beirut, the deputy chief of Al-Wefaq Islamic Association Sheikh Hussein Al-Dihi delivered a speech which called on the Bahrainis to preserve the peaceful protests till reaching the revolution’s goals despite all the regime arbitrary acts.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Bahrainis Mark 4th Anniversary of Popular Uprising

Alwaght-The Bahraini people have taken to the streets across the country to mark the fourth anniversary of the popular uprising amid a heavy-handed crackdown by Al Khalifa regime forces to curb the undying anti-government rallies, Press TV reports.

Bahrainis are marking the anniversary of their February 14, 2011 revolution amid soaring tensions in the Persian Gulf country and heavy clashes between police and protesters.

Security forces once again on Saturday fired tear gas to disperse anti-regime demonstrators in Sitra Island, northeast of the Bahraini capital of Manama.

On Friday, people took to the streets and staged mass demonstrations in Manama and several towns and villages across the kingdom, including Sitra, Belad al-Qadeem, and Diraz on the eve of the anniversary of the revolution.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters in Manama while clashes also broke out in several other towns.

Bahrainis have been holding numerous protests in the past few days to mark the fourth anniversary of their uprising against the ruling Al Khalifa regime.

Demonstrators are seeking the downfall of the Al Khalifa regime and establishment of a democratically elected government.

The protesters also called for the release of the main opposition leader, Sheikh Ali Salman, and other political prisoners.  Salman has been under arrest since December last year on charges of inciting regime change.  He denies the charges.

Amnesty International on Friday called on Bahraini officials to observe the citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and assembly ahead of the revolution’s anniversary.

“The Bahraini authorities must uphold the rights to freedom of peaceful expression and assembly and rein in security forces as thousands of protesters are taking to the streets ahead of the fourth anniversary of the uprising in Bahrain,” the rights group said in a statement.

Amnesty also slammed Bahraini authorities for the arrest of a number of opposition figures and activists, including al-Wefaq National Islamic Society Secretary General Sheikh Salman and prominent Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab.

Since mid-February 2011, thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations on the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa family to relinquish power.

On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invaded the country to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on peaceful protesters.

Scores of Bahrainis have been killed and hundreds of others injured and arrested in the ongoing crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.

Yellow Vests reach 1 year: The redemption of France’s revolutionary spirit

 

Yellow Vests reach 1 year: The redemption of France’s revolutionary spirit

November 20, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog (cross-posted with PressTV)

(Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.)

For many years to come France will be divided into two periods – before the Yellow Vests, and after the Yellow Vests. It’s widely believed in France that things can never go back to the way they were.

I’m not sure there can be a better yardstick of domestic success – a better gauge of sociocultural impact – than that?

Outside of France the Yellow Vests have given the world a precious gift, and at a huge sacrifice: nobody will ever view “French-style democracy” with the respect their government arrogantly demands as the alleged “birthplace of human rights”. For a generation or longer, “What about the Yellow Vests?”, will be a conversation-ending question to anyone who claims the moral superiority of the “Western-style” political system.

Systematic repression of the poorest classes are indeed “universal values”, but only within neoliberal and neo-imperial systems. Make no mistake: It has been one year of open Yellow Vest revolt against the economic dictates of that “neoliberal empire”, the European Union, and it’s neo-colonial puppet temporarily occupying Élysée Palace in Paris.

What the last year has testified to is the redemption of France’s revolutionary spirit. Not every country has that, after all.

England, for example, will foolishly “keep calm and carry on” – a perfect summation of change-hating conservatism – until the bitter end, always. This is why reading English-language media coverage of the Yellow Vests was so very similar – “English conservative opposes egalitarian movement in France”. They have been running the same story for 200+ years, going back to Edmund Burke, who founded modern Western conservatism with his (reactionary) Reflections on the Revolution in France in 1790.

France is not England, but 53 weeks ago I don’t think anyone imagined that the French could possibly muster the stamina, dedication and self-sacrifice to protest amid massive state-sponsored repression every weekend for one year.

It’s an amazing achievement, and only those full of spite and hate could deny them a modest present of honest recognition on their birthday.

But Western mainstream media coverage in English and French was just that – they claimed the Yellow Vests achieved nothing.

One thing the French don’t like to be reminded of is: the French Revolution failed, and quickly. It’s as if they forget Emperor Napoleon?

The French Revolution is not like the Iranian, Chinese or Cuban Revolutions, all of which have endured. The American Revolution has also endured – too bad that it was even more aristocratic (bourgeois) and sectarian than the French Revolution.

But the French Revolution occurred in an era of constant regional imperialism, war, slavery, repression of women, religious and ethnic sectarianism, etc. – we would be wrong to say it did not still have positive worldwide ramifications in the most important realms of politics, economics, culture, etc. The USSR – the only empire based on affirmative action – also failed, but we would be wrong to say it didn’t also produce positive changes for their people and also worldwide.

Quickly, here are a few tangible victories of the Yellow Vests: they prevented Emmanuel Macron from presenting a 10th consecutive annual austerity budget, they prevented Macron from de-nationalising the three airports of Paris, and the 10 billion euros in so-called “concessions” was credited with keeping French economic growth in the positive in the last quarter.

However, even if the Yellow Vests have obviously not yet toppled the 5th Republic and set up a new order, their cultural is inestimable. Just as the Occupy Movement of the US in 2011 gave us the slogan and mentality of “We are the 99%”, so will the Yellow Vests stand for something equally conscience-raising.

The Yellow Vests want a French Cultural Revolution, and should lead it

However, a big difference between the two movements is that Occupy was led by many college-educated “do-gooders” – and God bless them – whereas the Yellow Vests are undoubtedly a movement of the most marginalised classes.

Seemingly the most comprehensive survey thus far showed that few Vesters are unemployed, two-thirds of Vesters make less than the average national wage, and an even greater percentage regret a lack of cultural resources and social links. In other words: hard-working, (yet still) poor, isolated citizens who yearn for more cultural enrichment.

This is why I have repeatedly drawn a different parallel: the Yellow Vests are essentially demanding a Cultural Revolution. Only China and Iran have ever had one, and both were state-sponsored.

Cultural Revolutions put the values of the formerly-oppressed classes into power – everything is brought to a halt for perhaps years in order to engage in mass discussions, with the aim of drastically updating a nation’s democratic institutions and general culture in order to accord with modern political ideals. This is precisely what the Yellow Vests want: a long, comprehensive, democratic rethink and public debate over France’s inclusion in the European Union, the eurozone, NATO, and the Americanisation/neoliberalisation of their domestic policies.

Chinese peasants, Iran’s “revolution of the barefooted” and the rural-based Yellow Vests – it’s impossible not to admit the parallels. The West, of course, only insists that both Cultural Revolutions were huge mistakes.

Not true: China’s Cultural Revolution created the rural economic and human capital which laid the groundwork for their 1980s-onwards boom, although the West would have you believe its rebirth sprung only from Deng’s reforms; Iran’s Cultural Revolution swept away the elite’s oppressive aping of the West and created the first modern Muslim democracy.

The Yellow Vests insist that they are the “real” France, and after a year of talking with them I agree – they know as much or more about politics than I do. Politics is not rocket science, after all, but mainly applying common morality to public policy and daily events.

Iran and China already had a government inspired by socialist democracy (and not by aristocratic liberal democracy) when they embarked on their Cultural Revolutions, whereas France does not – thus the repression.

What did the Occupy Movement “achieve”, after all? They prevented no bailouts, they folded after infinitely less state repression and there is no direct movement linked with them today. However, only a Burkean conservative would insist that the Occupy Movement didn’t wake many people up to the struggles of class warfare, and of egalitarian right and greedy wrong. It’s never mentioned in the Western media – which only adores far-right, nativist, anti-socialist movements like in Hong Kong – but Algerians have protested for 39 consecutive weekends as well.

The Yellow Vests have not failed – they have much to celebrate on their birthday, and this article serves as a rare reminder of that reality.

Iranian and Russian media – doing France’s job for them

What’s important to note is that since late June – when France started going on summer vacation – Russian and Iranian media in Paris (including my Farsi- and Spanish-language colleagues) have been the only television journalists openly covering the Yellow Vest demonstrations.

My French colleagues have done the most cowardly thing possible – they quit the field. For many months people in Paris couldn’t believe I had to work covering the Yellow Vests on Saturday: I repeatedly heard, “I thought they were finished?”

With exceptions I can count on one hand, for many months French media has been either totally absent or hidden. There are certainly no reporters doing live interviews (even without a logo displaying whom they work for), even though the presence of live reporters inherently reduces the willingness of police to be violent. Considering the toll of violence – 11,000 arrested, 2,000 convicted, 1,000 imprisoned, 5,000 hurt,1,000 critically injured and the innumerable tear-gassings – it’s no wonder French people hate the media.

In France the vast majority of media are private, with editorial lines decided by a handful of billionaires – that’s just how Western journalism works, sadly. “Free speech”, they call it. However, where are the public media – they are paid by taxpayer dollars to objectively cover their own nation?! Quite pathetic….

This is probably why the Macron administration openly disparages Russia’s RT and Sputnik (we won’t get into their problems with PressTV here): we have spent the past year properly doing our jobs, unlike France’s media.

That’s too bad for France, but the unexpected and undeniable accomplishments of the Yellow Vests speak for themselves. Who knows what they might achieve in year 2?

The Bahrain Gov’t Is Attacking Female Activists – And Trump’s Policies are Emboldening Them

The Bahrain Gov’t Is Attacking Female Activists – And Trump’s Policies are Emboldening Them

By Lucilla Berwick and Bridget Quitter, Ms. Magazine 

In 2017, Bahraini human rights defender Ebtisam al-Saegh found herself sitting in a dark room before a pair of chain smoking officers from Bahrain’s National Security Agency. “No one is going to hear you in this place,” sneered one of the men, who introduced himself as ‘the torturer.’ “No one can protect you here, not the Human Rights Council or any other organization. You know we have a green light from Trump, right?”

It had been a brutal year in the tiny island of Bahrain, the home of the US Navy Fifth Fleet and a key American ally in the Arab Gulf. The government, led by the AlKhalifa monarchy, had begun a severe and ongoing crackdown, which saw all political opposition groups and independent media forcibly dissolved and thousands incarcerated on political charges, amid accusations of rampant torture and due process violations. Ebtisam had recently returned from the UN in Geneva, where she spoke out about Bahrain’s repression.

With her arrest and torture, the government was sending a message: this would not be tolerated.

Women like Ebtisam have long played a central, albeit overlooked, role in Bahrain’s opposition movement. As the government increasingly targeted women for their opinions or those of their relatives, many began to come forward. Our organizations, the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy and Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, have worked with nine women to share their stories. The resulting report, Breaking the Silence, traces the path of these women – from their arrests, through their interrogations and trials, to their detention at Isa Town Detention Centre, Bahrain’s only women’s prison. We uncovered horrific patterns of abuse, from sham trials to torture and sexual violence.

We encountered considerable obstacles to our work from the outset. The Bahraini state is highly resistant to scrutiny, making it virtually impossible to visit the country for research. UN Special Rapporteurs have not been permitted entry since 2006, while human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have been denied access since 2015. However, through regular phone calls with the imprisoned women and their families, as well as analysis of court rulings and medical reports and comments from psychologists and legal experts, we pieced together a coherent picture of their experiences.

As we assembled their stories, the systematic nature of government abuses became clear. During brutal interrogations, the women experienced extreme violence, ranging from threats of rape or death to beatings, sexual assault and witnessing the torture of relatives. To end these abuses, many agreed to sign pre-written confessions, later used by Bahrain’s widely condemned judiciary to convict them. When they attempted to raise their ill-treatment in court, they were dismissed by judges.

Once sentenced, the women were singled out for mistreatment at Isa Town prison due to their political status, as is common across the Bahraini prison system. They reported punitive measures, including restrictions on family visits, religious discrimination, physical assault and medical negligence. Two of the women who remain in prison today, Medina Ali and Hajer Mansoor, have only seen their children once over the past year – a visit that was granted only after significant international pressure.

The legacies of the women’s abuse affect them to this day. Ebtisam reported she can no longer sleep in the dark or tolerate the smell of cigarettes, both of which immediately transport her back to the smoky room where she was tortured. Others reported psychological trauma in their young children related to their prolonged separation. The stigma attached to incarceration also makes returning to society difficult: After being released following an international campaign against her unlawful conviction, Najah Yusuf was fired by her employer who questioned her integrity due to her criminal record.

“Sometimes I speak normally about my ordeal,” Yusuf told us, “but the truth is that I am bleeding from within. It’s painful, and I have no idea when all of this is going to end.”

While abuses in Bahrain may seem distant, the US exerts a huge influence on the country, and American policy has actively contributed to the crackdown. Since Trump’s election, Obama-era human rights conditions on arms sales have been removed and the State Department has approved an unprecedented $8.5 billion worth of arms sales, upgrades, services and training to the country. Despite evidence that some of this funding has gone directly to bodies implicated in the abuse of the women we interviewed, the US places no human rights conditions on its substantial investment in Bahrain.

Trump seemingly gave the “green light” to Bahrain’s crackdown during a state visit in May 2017, where he promised an end to the “strain” his predecessor had placed on US-Bahrain relations. Two days later, Bahraini police opened fire on peaceful protests in the village of Diraz, in what the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights described as among the “deadliest” operations since Bahrain’s pro-democracy uprising was crushed in 2011. The conservative shift in American domestic policy has also encouraged Bahrain’s rights abuses: days after the White House announced the resumption of federal executions in July 2019, Bahrain executed two torture victims amid international outcry; when asked for comment ahead of the executions, the Bahraini Embassy in Washington, DC explicitly referenced the US decision.

Trump’s barely-concealed enthusiasm for authoritarianism is bolstering a climate of impunity in the region. In Bahrain, this means abusers are free to operate without fear of consequences. When Trump received Bahrain’s Crown Prince to discuss arms deals last month, he made the message very clear: keep buying arms, and we will stay silent on rights abuses.

For the women we worked with, the knowledge that they could be seized again at any point is among the most terrifying aspects of their entire experience. It is time for Congress to make clear that these violations cannot be tolerated.

These nine women have broken the silence. Now it is up to us to raise our voices and make sure that their efforts are not in vain.

Bahrain Crackdown: Health of Hunger-striking Detainee Deteriorating

Bahrain Crackdown: Health of Hunger-striking Detainee Deteriorating

By Staff

Bahraini human rights activist Ebtisam al-Saegh reported that the health condition of detainee Osama al-Saghir has been deteriorating as he fainted in the washroom after spending 15 days of an ongoing hunger strike.

Al-Saghir, sentenced to 60 years in prison for political charges, started bleeding after the incident, al-Saegh said, adding that “although the bleeding stopped, he has been injured and in pain, and is still deprived from making phone calls and going out to the courtyard.”

For his part, Osama’s father said that all what his son demands is a private visit, a jacket and a blanket to feel warm.

Not to mention, it has been 9 months since Osama al-Saghir stopped receiving visitors due to the inspection and humiliation of his mother as she comes to visit him. Osama’s mother suffers from a heart disease, and her son demands granting her a private visit inside the prison while respecting her health situation.

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الاستعمار العسكري المباشر هل يعود إلى المشرق…؟

سبتمبر 19, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

دول المشرق تستنجد مجدداً بالمستعمر الغربي لحماية أنظمتها السياسية من الانهيار بتدخلٍ عسكري مباشر ومكشوف يضاف الى سلسلة قواعده المنتشرة منذ سبعة عقود تقريباً في النقاط الاكثر استراتيجية في المنطقة.

هكذا حال كل المعادلات السياسية الضعيفة التي لا تؤمن الا بحراب المستعمر لحماية مشيخاتها وإماراتها وملكياتها وتتجاهل شعوبها بإفقار وتجهيل لا مثيل لهما في حركة التاريخ.

فمن يصدّق ان بلداناً غنية بمستوى الخليج لا تصنع شيئاً سوى احتراف السيطرة على مجتمعاتها بالدين والقمع وقليل من الذهب المنثور، لكن هذه الوسائل لم تعد تكفي، فلا بد اذاً من العودة الى الخدمات المباشرة للمستعمرين اصحاب المصلحة بالدفاع عن مستعمرات تكتنز معدلات قياسية من النفط والغاز والقدرة على استهلاك الصناعات الغربية والموقع الاستراتيجي.

إلا انّ هناك استثناءات على هذه المعادلة في سورية التي تقاتل دولتها ضدّ عودة الاستعمار المتسربل بأدوات إرهاب داخلية وعالمية وإقليمية.

وكذلك اليمن الثائر على استعمار سعودي خليجي يغطي الاستعمار الأميركي الفعلي، والعراق المجابه لاستعمارين مباشرين، الأميركي والتركي واعوانهما من تنظيمات ارهابية وعرقية.

اما إيران فلا تزال منذ اربعة عقود تتصدّى لحملات عسكرية واقتصادية تستهدف إعادة إخضاعها للمستعمرين.

لجهة تركيا فلا تنتمي الى تلك الاستثناءات لانها «تستضيف» على اراضيها قواعد نووية وعسكرية أميركية واخرى لحلف الناتو، على الرغم من تماسك دولتها وقوة جيشها، لكنها آثرت الاتكاء على خدمات المستعمرين بتبرير الانتماء الى حلف واحد في وجه العدو السوفياتي حينه.

للتوضيح فإن الاستعمار العسكري الغربي المباشر رحل عن المشرق محتفظاً بقواعد في معظم الخليج والاردن انما بأشكال مختلفة تقاطعت مع هيمنة اقتصادية كاملة، وهذه هي أهداف الاستعمار الباحث دوماً عن المصادر الاقتصادية المتنوعة.

لذلك بدت بلدان المشرق في السبعين سنة المنصرمة وكأنها مستقلة شكلاً تديرها شبكة من عائلات وقوى منتمية الى محور السياسة الغربية من دون أي نقاش ومع رجحان كبير لمحورها الأميركي.

هذا ما جعل الحماية الغربية المعنوية والمباشرة قادرة على إجهاض اي محاولات تغيير فعلية في المنطقة العربية.

لكن انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي استولد فرصة تاريخية ليحاول الأميركيون إعادة تشكيل المشرق على نحو مستسلم غير قادر على إحداث اي تغيير لمدة طويلة.

فابتدأوا باحتلال افغانستان قافزين مباشرة من آسيا الوسطى الى المشرق باحتلال العراق في 2003 ولمزاعم تبين أنها كاذبة وادت الى مئات آلاف القتلى من دون ان تتجرأ قوة واحدة على انتقاد الأميركيين.

واستكمالاً لخطتهم حاولوا تدمير سورية بالارهاب وقواهم المباشرة والاسناد الاقليمي العربي بالتمويل والتركي بالتدريب والحدود والخدمات اللوجستية والاحتلال المباشر والاسرائيلي بالغارات الجوية.

إلا ان هذه المخططات لم تنجح في سورية والعراق فبدت الحرب على اليمن وسيلة اضافية وضرورية بموازاة خطة تقسيم العراق وإضعافه وسيلة اساسية لحماية البقرة الخليجية الحلوب من كامل الاتجاهات.

بدوره تصدّى اليمن المتواضع الإمكانات والكبير بتاريخه، لأوسع عدوان خليجي عربي أميركي غربي ناقلاً المعارك الى ميادين السعودية بإصابته عشرات المرات لمصافي نفطية ومطارات ومواقع عسكرية وإدارية.

ان مثل هذا القصف وضع الأنظمة الخليجية وتغطيتها الأميركية أمام حقائق مذهلة، فلا سورية سقطت ولا تمزقت وسورية لم تتفتت وتبين بوضوح أن دول الخليج عاجزة عن الدفاع عن انظمتها حتى امام القوى المتواضعة في اليمن، فكيف يكون حالها مع العراق او سورية، وانكشف ان مصر والاردن وباكستان تؤيد الخليج خطابياً لان مشاكلها الداخلية والخارجية لا تسمح لهم ارسال قوات اليه.

هناك قلق أميركي إضافي من احتمال انفجارات شعبية داخلية في الخليج قادرة على بناء تغيير فعلي في انظمته الحاكمة.

لقد تزامنت هذه التحليلات الخليجية الأميركية مع قصف يمني لمصافي بقيق وخريص اللتين تنتجان ستة ملايين برميل اي نصف الإنتاج السعودي النفطي المرتبط بالاقتصاد الغربي بشكل كامل. فوجدها الغرب الأميركي فرصة تاريخية جديدة يلعب بها على الضعف الخليجي بمحاولة رفع مستوى استفادته منه، والزعم انه عائد للدفاع عنه، وهذا يتطلب ارسالاً سريعاً لقوى برية وجوية وبحرية انما ليس بالأعداد الكبيرة لان الحروب اليوم تقتصد في البنى العسكرية البشرية لمصلحة استعمال آليات الحرب الحديثة والمتطورة التي تعتمد بشكل شبه كامل على الوسائل المادية المتطورة. لجهة أنظمة الخليج المذعورة فهي مستعدة للتغطية المادية والسياسية واستعمال فقه ديني تزعم انه إسلامي لتسهيل حركة هذا الاستعمار الجديد ولتوسيع مشروعه، اتهم الغرب الأميركي إيران بقصف المصفاتين على الرغم من ان خبراء عسكريين غربيين أكدوا ان الحصار على اليمن بمنع اي حركة بشرية بحراً وبراً، معتبرين ان خبراء إيرانيين علموا اليمنيين فنون صناعة المسيَّرات بما فيها المتطورة القادرة على اجتياز اكثر من الف كيلومتر وهذا هو التحليل العلمي الصحيح والذي يبرر لليمنيين الدفاع عن وطنهم في وجه أي عدوان خارجي.

من جهته، يستنجد هذا الخليج بالأميركيين عن طريق اثارة خوفهم على مصالحهم الاقتصادية عنده، او بالإيحاء من خطر تغييرات داخلية لن تكون بالطبع لصالح استمرار الهيمنة الغربية على دول الخليج وثرواتها.

يتبين بالمحصلة ان الأميركيين يبتعدون عن فكرة الحرب على إيران مع ميلهم لنشر قوات غربية في مواجهتها على السواحل السعودية والاماراتية استكمالاً لقواعدهم في الكويت والبحرين وقطر والاردن، فبهذه الطريقة يعود الاستعمار المباشر الى كامل جزيرة العرب بنفقات مرتفعة تتحمّل وزرها الدول المحتلة.

فهل لهذه القوات وظائف اكبر؟ يعرف البيت الأبيض انه لا يستطيع ممارسة هذا الدور الا في الخليج، فسورية طردت الاستعمار منذ سبعين عاماً وتواصل طرد ما تبقى منه، والعراق يتحضّر لإبعاده حالياً، واليمن ينجز مهامه التحريرية.

بناء على هذه المعطيات فإن عودة الاستعمار الغربي الى الخليج هي لمهمة وحيدة وهي منع أي تغير داخلي يؤدي الى تحرير ثروات الخليج من الحكام وتغطيته الغربية، ووضعها في خدمة تطوّر دول يصرُ الأميركيون على سحبها من القرون الوسطى.

Saudi Arabia’s Sudden Interest in Sudan Is Not about Friendship. It Is About Fear

By Nesrine Malik – The Guardian

In the days following the ‘Yom Kippur’ war, after the Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, agreed to a ceasefire and subsequent peace treaty with ‘Israel,’ he faced questions at home about his climb-down. When confronted on his capitulation, he is reported to have said that he was prepared for battle with ‘Israel’ but not with America. On the third day of the war, President Nixon had authorized Operation Nickel Grass, an airlift from the United States with the purpose of replenishing ‘Israel’s’ military losses up to that point. In November of 1973, the New York Times reported that “Western ambassadors in Cairo confirm Egyptian accusations that American Galaxies were landing war equipment in the Sinai.”

There was something of Sadat’s realpolitik in the realization over the past few weeks that Saudi Arabia has no intention of letting Sudan’s revolution achieve its objective of removing the military once and for all and installing a civilian government. In the period preceding the revolution, Saudi Arabia had grown relatively lethargic and jaded about Sudan, a country it saw as good only for providing bodies as battle fodder for its war in Yemen. When Sudan’s then president, Omar al-Bashir, fearful of his demise, took his begging bowl to his allies in the region, Saudi Arabia demurred. But this lack of interest evaporated the moment it became clear that there was real power in Sudan’s streets, and Bashir was deposed.

Long gone are the days when the US was the chief meddler in the region. Saudi Arabia has taken its place as a powerful force for the status quo. Gone also are the days when Saudi Arabia’s idea of extending its sphere of influence was to sloppily funnel funds to religious schools and groups across the Arab world and south Asia. The country has now taken on a more deliberate role: to stymie political change wherever possible.

Within days of the removal of Bashir, Saudi’s purse strings loosened. Along with the UAE, it pledged a $3bn aid package to prop up Sudan’s economy and thus the transitional military government. This shot in the arm has been accompanied by an alarming and unprecedented phenomenon, a propaganda campaign launched in Saudi-owned or Saudi-sympathetic media.

Gulf News ran a profile of the current head of the transitional military council saying that “during the war in southern Sudan and the Darfur region, he served on [sic] important positions, largely due to his civic manners and professional demeanor”. “Civic” and “professionally run” are not words many would use to describe the wars in Darfur and the south of the country.

The editorial started with a panicked homage to Sudan as “one of Africa’s and the Arab world’s most strategic countries”, as if the Saudis had just caught on to the fact that Sudan was not the sleepy, pliant, begging backwater they hoped it was. A senior United Arab Emirates minister last week tried to frame the sudden interest and largesse towards Sudan as a wise precaution after the tumult of the Arab spring. “We have experienced all-out chaos in the region and, sensibly, don’t need more of it,” he lectured. But this newfound affection for oh so strategic Sudan and its civic-mannered military leaders has more to do with the Saudi royal family’s heightened insecurity about its own fate than it does with maintaining stability. The danger of a Sudanese revolution is in its optics, in the sense of possibility that it suggests. If Saudi used to care about extending its soft power across the world in order to call on alliances against regional enemies such as Iran or Qatar, today’s aggressive Saudi foreign policy adventurism can be seen in the light of its one overarching fear: regime change.

Despite its economic troubles at home, the Saudi government still sees its sovereign wealth as a massive war chest to be leveraged to the end of its own survival. Even though the Saudi royal family seems to have a total monopoly on power, executing dissenters on a whim on national or foreign soil, Sudan has demonstrated that regime change is rarely about the technicalities. It is never about the firepower that an opposition can wield against an incumbent: it is about popular will. You can’t execute everyone.

The many failures of the Arab spring have been a boon for establishment regimes across the Middle East. No good will come of change, was the conventional regional wisdom for too long. Sudan is messing with that narrative. The army and the royal family are the only two institutions that can be allowed to rule, the logic goes: when civilians enter the fray they bring with them security lapses, terrorism and incompetence. But civilian governments also threaten other nuisances: real democracy, accountability and free expression. Saudi Arabia must prevent this, under the pretense of seeking stability, with the US absent but tacitly endorsing.

And so the Sudanese protesters, still firm in their standoff with the transitional government as they demand civilian rule, can wage war against Bashir and the remnants of his regime that are still in power. But how can they take on Saudi Arabia and its powerful allies in the region, who airlift support to the government? The burden on the Sudanese revolution is now even heavier – but the reward, if it succeeds, is to shake the thrones of all despots across the Middle East.

Bahrain Crackdown: Afghan Judge Revokes 183 Citizenships of Bahraini Nationals!

By Staff

As part of the continued crackdown against own nationals, the Bahraini regime decided to revoke 183 citizenships of native Bahrainis under the alleged pretext of a ‘Bahraini Hezbollah’ case.

Ironically, the judge who issued the verdict that bans original landowners from their homeland, identified as Badr Abdul Latif Al Abdallah is of Afghan origins. Additionally, he belongs to the third generation of a family that was granted a Bahraini citizenship before it added the name “Al” to its title, a habit that is usually taken by families of non-Arab origins in Bahrain.

Following the unfair sentences issued on Tuesday to revoke the citizenship of 138 individuals, the number of similar cases in the tiny kingdom has now reached 985.

Relatively, yearly figures are classified as the following:

2019: 181

2018: 298

2017: 156

2016: 90

2015: 208

2014: 21

2012: 31

Earlier to the sentence, a report published by the Bahrain Mirror stated:

The revocation of citizenship in Bahrain after 2018 has become no more than a symbolic punitive measure- a pattern and part of a clear plan to purge the country of the opposition at any price, or perhaps a plan to change the country’s demographic makeup the quickest way possible, even by the most brutal means.

Following the total elimination of opposition groups and civil society, the arrests of the most prominent political and human rights figures, the complete suppression of remaining voices, and the ongoing imprisonment of thousands every year, without any deterrent, the revocation of nationalities seemed to be the final touch in cleansing process.

The number of citizens who have been stripped of their Bahraini nationality since 2011 amount to about 800, in a country with an indigenous population of 650,000, which is the biggest evidence of this practice.

“To put that figure into context, were the same policy applied to the UK, one million Britons would be made stateless,” says author and political analyst Bill Law.

The authorities have not only withdrawn the citizenships of political defendants in trials, but have also deprived all children whose fathers were imprisoned from having birth certificates and passports issued, as noted by the US State Department said in its annual 2017 report on human rights in countries around the world.

The numbers alarmingly increased during 2018, which recorded the highest number of citizenship revocation affecting 298 citizens, with the total number of citizens stripped of their nationality in Bahrain since 2011 amounting to about 804, according to the statistics of organizations and news reports.

In 2018, a court of cassation issued a final verdict, revoking the citizenship of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, the spiritual leader of the country’s Shia citizens, who was under house arrest before leaving for London to receive emergency treatment.

2018 also witnessed a rare incident in the history of the country’s judiciary, and perhaps in history of all countries of the world, as 115 people were stripped of their citizenship in a single trial, in what was known as the Zulfiqar Brigades case.

News agencies reported on this verdict in surprise, while Amnesty International described the trial as “ridiculous” and “one of the most severe rulings yet, and is further proof that the Bahrain authorities have no regard whatsoever for international fair trial standards.”

The Bahraini Revolution in the Words of its Elite

By Zeinab Daher

With every anniversary of an uprising against oppression, a person recalls a glimpse of hope that the winds of change are blowing again.

Bahrain, the country of Shia-majority ruled by Sunni-minority, was a platform for peaceful popular demands back on February 14 of 2011. Today, there is nothing more honest than the words of those who lived the revolution, its early days, and the impressions they made as such time has passed over the first day since its birth.

In an exclusive interview with al-Ahed News, Sheikh Abo Yasser Abdullah al-Saleh, Deputy Chief of Bahrain’s Islamic Work Association (Amal), listed the many achievements of the revolution atop of which is the clear popular alignment against the oppressive and dictatorial authorities that is a major achievement in Bahrain.

 

“The opposition in Bahrain is deep-rooted, it is nothing new, but the current impression is that the opposition is something new.”

In the 1980s, before and after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, demanding to topple the Al Khalifah regime was a fantasy. Now, however, there is a sort of popular agreement that this family should be changed because it doesn’t deserve to rule the Bahraini people, and that the Bahraini people deserve more just government, that is finer, more aware of the demands of peoples and more independent, afar from any foreign and western alliances.

Additionally, in Bahrain, there became a clear orientation and understanding by all parties that it is necessary to establish a just democracy through inclusive elections that get rid of all kinds of tyranny and appropriation as well as ties to the foreign colonialism practiced by Al Khalifah.

The revolution was able over 8 years to draw attention that there is a major determination by the Bahraini people to reach their rightful and legitimate demands and that it is never possible to play the minds of people and deceive them just like what happened during the 1990s uprising.

“There is total agreement that this authority in untrustworthy and can’t be dealt with by any means, even if it still controls the country.”

Another achievement is uniting the local lines and tending to a true change which wasn’t clear in the past era. This revolution has serious tendency to change the country’s status and make a true shift that suits the Bahraini people.

The Al Khalifah authority treat the opposition as if it is a zero. It is oppressive and try to kill any activism before it is born.

“The glow of revolution didn’t change.”

It is true that the protests in which the majority of people used to participate are not happening now. The figures and major symbols who used to participate in the protests are not there, but the movement itself didn’t stop, even if the momentum has decreased. There are still protests and demands in some places. There are also detentions, since the beginning of the revolutions, detentions didn’t stop. If the authority claims that it has got rid of the revolution, then why it is still carrying out the non-stopping arbitrary detention campaigns.

There are some 930 people, including clerics, symbols, academics, youth and citizens, whose citizenships have been revoked. More than 7824 people are detained by the authority, and the number is still climbing. We sacrificed more than 200 martyrs, scores of victims and thousands of displaced people. But the Al Khalifah authority couldn’t, through all this, to prove that it has got rid of the February 14 revolution. The revolution is being renewed in different ways and remains with the same slogans and demands.

The most important among all is that the Bahraini people didn’t retreat any of its legitimate demands. And the latest statement made by His Eminence Sheikh Isa Qassim was a clear evidence that this people didn’t and will not compromise.

Why remaining peaceful?

The Bahraini people is not a violent one. The people of Bahrain are known for love, peace, mercy, generosity, containing others and coexisting with them.

The rightful demands the Bahraini people are asking for are not new for any people, they are rather part of their basic due rights whether by understanding or another mean. When the Al Khalifah denies the people their rights, it must expect that the people won’t remain silent. And now, they insist to fulfill their demands.

For our people, we would like to stress that the international situation in this particular anniversary is on our side and it is not on Al Khalifah’s and Al Saud’s. They were previously more arrogant and stronger, but the situation in the entire region now carries the promises of a near victory, by God’s willing. It carries the promises of a change in the regional map. The Bahraini people tolerated over many years, but the less has remained. The Al Khalifah authorities are in a bad situation while the morale, practices and rights of our people are way stronger than ever before. The legendary endurance presented by the Bahraini people over the past years is able to drive them towards fulfilling their demands. It is matter of a little patience and we will reach our goals.

We are demanding democracy and inclusive elections in which the source of authority and sovereignty should be the Bahraini people. We only need to be a free people in an independent state.

Normalization

Normalization is nothing new. It has existed since before, at least all Gulf states, most Arab and Muslim countries related to the west, whether the US or the UK, have sorts of ties with the “Israeli” entity. However, ties today became public. What has been under cover, became today public.

Exchanged visits weren’t born recently, they are since the 1950s but they were low. The King Saud’s condition for the UK was that ties with the Zionists should be secret. Today, however, the Zionists set their condition that any price should be paid in exchange of public relations. This is the reason why we notice today public relations whether with the Al Saud or the Al Khalifah governments or others. Zionists now insist on publicized ties, this is why we are witnessing them on the surface.

In the past, the colonial scheme tried to indirectly run its issues in the region. But now, it is being faced by the peoples of the region, which are looking for their interests and trying to build their future the way they want. This is why the government now cannot fulfill the task and this explains with the Americans and the British are coming to the region repeatedly, weighing more and intervening much than before in the country’s internal affairs which is exposing those governments’ betrayal.

To Al Khalifah, the Bahraini people would never accept dealing with Zionists and would never be part of any alliance against its Arab and Muslim state. You can do whatever you want because the decision is in your hands, but the Bahraini people will breach any agreement that would be made with the Zionist entity.

For his part, Bahraini Journalist Hussein Youssef recalled some painful and emotional spots from the time of the revolution’s first days:

Among the most significant of the scenes of the February 14 revolution I recall is the youths’ advance as they were topless against the Bahraini army’s tanks that were supposed to protect the protesters and civilians, however, they were directed towards them and killed martyr Abdul Rida Bou Hmayyed. This scene would never be erased from the Bahrainis’ memory.

Another scene that I could never forget over seven years of the revolution is that of revoking the citizenship of Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ahmad Qassim and the Imam Hussein-inspired speech delivered by Sayyed Maji al-Mashaal.

In between the two scenes, there is the very important event when Sheikh Ali Salman addressed the Bahraini people as the ‘Peninsula Shield forces’ entered the country. He referred to their behavior as defeatist and called the Bahraini people for sticking to peaceful activism until achieving its fair demands.

“Regarding the presence of the Bahraini issue in media, the activism is actually peaceful, political and rightful. There is no direct presence on which media can feed as it wants.”

However, there are other media outlets that are trying to turn a blind eye to the reality of the Bahraini people for certain political goals and reasons. They want to blind what is happening in Bahrain, and most of them are pushed by Saudi and American motives. This is something constant for us. An evidence is that many political and rights events, major protests, political speeches and stances issued by the Bahraini opposition are blinded by such paid outlets.

I don’t believe the regime has succeeded in silencing the opposition. Now, everybody confesses that there is a political crisis in Bahrain. The important evidence on this is that the leader of the opposition His Eminence Sheikh Ali Salman is in prison and sentenced to life. This firstly means that the political crisis in Bahrain will remain as long as such symbols and figures, atop of them is Sheikh Ali Salman, stay in jail. Hence, the opposition movement is non-stopping in different forms and during different circumstances. It is sometimes in Australia, another time in Bahrain… the movement is represented by the rights and political conferences held by the opposition at home and abroad. In conclusion, even if the regime had security-wise tightened the grip on the opposition movement, this doesn’t mean that it will be able to cancel the presence of the opposition and the popular demands.

There are huge numbers over the 8 years of revolution. There has been more than 40.000 protests, in addition to more than 5000 prisoners in Bahraini jails. This number makes Bahrain the most crowded country with political prisoners in the Arab world as per comparison to its population. There are also violations against journalists. Over 8 years of revolution, there is more than 25 years of imprisonment sentences against activists and journalists and even politicians who expressed their opinions. The law is very ‘flexible’ since whoever express their opinion via Twitter are subject to ‘anti-terror’ crimes for opposing the authority.

The international community raises the slogans of human rights in the area of political abuse and not in the place where people do believe in it… the international community is disabled in front of the Saudi-American decision; hence, the political cover baking the Bahraini regime is due to weighing political interests and Gulf oil heavier than human rights and the people’s rights to self-determination.

“All what happened over the previous period (8 years) is a motive for Bahrain to continue.”

The words of Sheikh Ali Salman and Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Ahmad Qassem say there is no way for retreat, and it is necessary to continue with strength and determination to fulfill this people’s demand for reform.

“I do believe that what is waiting the Bahraini people is way better than what the authorities are practicing.”

There is no room for political settlement and fulfilling the national demands without democracy and respecting citizenship in Bahrain, he concluded.

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Bahrain opposition begins armed resistance against ‘Saudi occupation’ – English Subs

February 08, 2019

Note: this is the first time I am posting a video by the Middle-East Observer which has now joined the Saker Community (translations) and who will be providing us Arab-language videos translated and subtitled in English.  Please see under this video how to support the Middle-East Observer and stay in contact.  Please support this work generously!

The Saker

Original description:  A prominent Bahraini opposition leader says his al-Wefaq movement has begun carrying out increasingly sophisticated armed resistance operations against the ruling al-Khalifa government and the “Saudi occupation”. Sayyed Murtada al-Sanadi said that the ruling al-Khalifa monarchy and its Saudi backers gave no opportunity for dialogue or negotiations despite eight years of peaceful protests by the opposition. Source: Etejah TV (YouTube) Date: 24 January, 2019 ———————————————————————————————————–

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Memories Of The Days Of Struggle & Revolution

By Mokhtar Haddad

Iranian journalist Seyed Ismail Alawi Yakana is a revolutionary who lived through the days of the Islamic Revolution. Because of his participation in the struggle against the Shah’s regime, he spent nearly three years in the SAVAK prisons.

He was also an activist during the revolution and educated a number of its men.

During the period of the sacred defense, he was present as a journalist and a fighter along the frontlines. He was responsible for reporting on the sacred defense for an Iranian newspaper during those days. Today, he still works in the same field, seeking to spread the values of the Islamic Revolution and the sacred defense among the new generation.

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Al-Ahed website met with Seyed Ismail Alawi to ask him about the days of struggle and victory.

Q: How would you describe the Islamic Revolution, which you lived through?

A: I must talk about the start of this revolutionary movement and its peak. There are things that led the people to resent and oppose the former regime.

The incident involving the publication of an article that was offensive to Imam Khomeini in late 1977 in a regime-run newspaper was the spark that ignited this popular resentment and anger toward the Shah’s regime.

It is true that Imam Khomeini’s uprising began in 1963, after which he was exiled. But the peak of the popular movement and the start of the final drive that eventually led to the overthrow of the tyrannical regime began after the publication of the offensive article. But before that, there was revolutionary activity by activists, which was suppressed by the Shah and his police system.

Following the publication of the article, the residents of the holy city of Qom rose against this abusive measure. The Iranian people regard the holy city of Qom as a religious symbol. The revolutionaries were religious and the revolution was of religious nature. All the people had religious tendencies.

The demands of the religious revolutionaries represented the demands of all the Iranian people and even the rest of the elites and sects in society.

The former regime had such an experience. On June 4, 1963, when Imam Khomeini was arrested and the scholars were insulted, the next day they carried out a major uprising in Tehran and across various cities. The struggle was ongoing, but the regime was suppressing it.

It is true that the regime suppressed the June 5, 1963 uprising. But the revolutionaries formed a revolutionary nucleus for the political or armed struggle. In the early 1970s, we witnessed the regime’s crackdown on the revolutionaries. But the revolutionaries did not retreat.

Then, in the mid 1970s, the political struggle escalated in universities and mosques.

In late 1977, after the publication of that offensive article, the Shah’s regime was surprised by the reaction of the people.

I remember even some of the revolutionaries believed that revolutionary action needed extensive work. But when the people rose up, everyone was surprised with the speed.  Some did not expect the people to overthrew the Shah that quickly.

Q: Why did the Islamic Revolution accelerate?

A: First, the Shah’s regime did not pay attention to the demands of the people. But there is another important point which is the love for Imam Khomeini. The Iranian people loved Imam Khomeini. This was thanks to God Almighty.

Q: The Shah’s regime was dependent on America and the West. Even Carter, who visited Iran during the regime’s final last months, described the country as the island of stability. Why did the monarchy collapse?

A: The former regime was the front line, countering the influence of the former Soviet Union with the support of the West. During the Cold War, they considered Iran an important state for them. And the Westerners were supporting the Shah.

When the West wanted the help of its allied countries, including the countries in the NATO alliance, it was done through the Shah’s regime since it was trusted by the West and was regarded as the region’s policeman.

The Shah relied on this support and thought that in case of any popular movement he would be fully supported.

Q: In this context, we see that in the final days of the Shah’s regime, Washington sent its special envoy, General Robert Huyzer. What was this man’s mission in Tehran?

A: America sent General Robert Huyzer to maintain the Shah’s regime and carry out a military coup as it did in the fifties. This is all documented, even in the memoirs of this American general.

Huyzer was tasked with supporting the Shah and maintaining his regime. Before that the American spies who used to work in the US Embassy in Tehran had prepared for him all the polls and statistics for him to carry out the mission.

But he saw that the armed forces were not prepared to carry out this mission and massacre the people, so his mission failed.

Many members of the armed forces, including Air Force officers, joined the people.

Q: But America came up with new plans to target the revolution.

A: Using several schemes, Washington wanted to deter the Islamic Revolution because the victory of the revolution had damaged the interests of Washington in the region.

The Islamic Revolution was inspiring to the people. The Zionist enemy was occupying Islamic countries. During that stage, we saw an Islamic awakening that was confronting the Zionist plan. Therefore, we see that the Islamic Revolution has become the inspiration for the resistance, revolutionaries and the people in the region.

This led to growing concerns by the Zionists and the Americans. Washington became concerned about the future and the fate of the Zionist entity.

I remember that in the first months of the revolution’s victory there were rallies in which they were asked to go to Palestine to support the Palestinian people.

We saw the “Israeli” Embassy in Tehran transformed into the Palestinian Embassy in the first week of the Islamic Revolution.

Therefore, we saw that the Americans and the Zionists carried out many plans in the first months of the revolution’s victory in order to limit the revolution to slogans and internal issues. Therefore, they activated the separatist movements such as the events in Kurdistan province in which Saddam’s regime and other regional regimes played a large role. But these projects failed.

After the failure of this project and the revolutionary forces overcoming the internal problems, they came up with another plan, which is to impose Saddam’s war on Iran.

Q: Why did Imam Khomeini from the start of his uprising raise slogans greater than Iran, like supporting the Palestinian people against the Zionist enemy?

A: This is due to the cultural and religious nature of the Islamic Revolution. It was not only focused on internal issues or economic issues. This revolution had wide and comprehensive goals and visions. Imam Khomeini’s first speech during the sixties in the holy city of Qom and the beginning of the uprising is the most evident proof of this. He raised issues such as the Muslim awakening and confronting the colonial and Zionist schemes, etc.

Q: How did you enter the revolutionary work and why did the Shah’s regime arrest you?

A: Religious circles were directly related to the revolution and the revolutionaries. When a person participates in the activities in the mosque, Hussainiya or places where the Holy Quran was taught, his sense of fighting the corrupt regime of the Shah strengthens since Islam and the Quran both stress the importance of standing up to the oppressor. We saw that the policies of the Shah’s regime were contrary to the teachings and objectives of Islam.

When I started the revolutionary work I was 15 years old during which I experienced this atmosphere. I met the leaders of the revolution during those days, including Ayatollah Khamenei, martyr Ayatollah Beheshti and engineer Mahdi Bazarkan. We learned and were inspired by them. So, I entered the revolutionary work. We worked in the mosques and Hussainiyas, spreading the ideas of Imam Khomeini and distributing His Eminense’s statements and messages.

Then we founded a revolutionary student group. We were, then, arrested by the SAVAK and spent about three years in prison.

In prisons, revolutionaries were subjected to the most severe forms of torture. There were people in the SAVAK who specialized in the implementation of systematic torture.

In 1971, the Shah established a joint committee between the SAVAK and the police to counter sabotage as he claimed. The committee had a very scary prison that housed the revolutionaries who were arrested. They were also tortured.

I was detained for a while in that prison.

Q: What sort of relationship did the SAVAK have with the Mossad and the CIA in confronting the revolutionaries?

A: It is natural that there be a relationship between the SAVAK and the Mossad and the CIA because the Shah had a close relationship with the United States and the Zionist entity. So, both the Mossad and the CIA used to transfer their security experiences to the SAVAK.

As you know, some of our revolutionaries used to go to Palestine and Lebanon for training. So the Mossad sent these people’s information to the SAVAK.

Q: Do you have some memories of the last days before the victory of the revolution and the day Imam Khomeini returned to the country?

A: I was one of the members of Imam Khomeini’s reception committee. I was in the third circle to safeguard the security of the Imam. We were positioned in the Paradise of Zahra (PBUH) cemetery where Imam Khomeini was supposed to deliver a speech honoring the revolution’s martyrs. We were there for 10 nights and days. We had concerns of acts of vandalism that might be carried out by the regime during the Imam’s reception ceremony.

And I remember one of the brothers, a Lebanese revolutionary. His name was Shaher. He trained our group, which was made up of 100 people, in order to maintain the security of the Paradise of Zahra (PBUH).

Imam Khomeini’s reception was historic. Millions of people lined up from Maharabad Airport to Freedom Square and Revolution Street until the Paradise of Zahra (PBUH). It was the final victory of the revolution. I still remember the happiness and joy on the faces of the people that day.

AI: Verdict on Bahrain’s Salman Is Bitter Blow to Freedom of Expression

Local Editor

Amnesty International slammed Bahrain’s verdict on opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman.

Responding to the news that Bahrain’s Court of Cassation has upheld the conviction of opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman, Amnesty International’s Middle East Campaigns Director Samah Hadid said:

“Today’s verdict is yet another nail in the coffin for the right to freedom of expression in Bahrain and exposes the country’s justice system as a complete farce. The decision to uphold Sheikh Ali Salman’s conviction and life prison sentence following an unfair trial highlights the authorities’ determination to silence critical voices”.

She went on to say, “The Bahraini authorities must quash Sheikh Ali Salman’s conviction and release him immediately and unconditionally. They should also rescind the decision to dissolve the two opposition political groups, al-Wefaq and Wa’ad, and guarantee the right of everyone to freedom of association”.

Sheikh Ali Salman has been repeatedly arrested and charged for his perceived critical views of the authorities.

On 4 November 2018, he was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of alleged trumped-up spying charges. Two other al-Wefaq members, Ali al-Aswad and Sheikh Hassan Sultan, were convicted in their absence during the same trial.

On 28 January 2019, Bahrain’s Al Khalifa regime’s Supreme Court upheld a life term over the alleged “spying” for Qatar.

Source: AI, Edited by website team

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نقاط على الحروف تحية للمبادرة الشيوعية… إلى الأمام

الشيوعي ينجح في تحرّكه الأول: نحو العصيان؟

ديسمبر 17, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– لبنانيون كثر لا يشاركون الحزب الشيوعي اللبناني الكثير من مواقفه ونظرته للكثير من الملفات أثلجت صدورهم مبادرة الشيوعيين للخروج المنظم إلى الشارع لرفع البطاقة الحمراء للنظام السياسي والاقتصادي أمام أزمة اجتماعية خانقة، تدقّ أبواب الفقراء وذوي الدخل المحدود والشباب العاطلين عن العمل، بيد قاسية مع اقتراب مواسم البرد والشتاء. والفرح بالمبادرة الشيوعية نابع من عوامل عدة على الشيوعيين الانتباه إليها والاستثمار عليها، للمضي قدماً وصولاً لتحقيق غايات لا يجهضها خروج الحكومة إلى النور، ولا تجعل صرختهم مجرد ومضة عابرة.

– في البلد يقين بأن المعالجات للشأن الاقتصادي والمالي والاجتماعي منحازة بقوة إلى جانب حيتان المال، ويقين بأن الفساد يخترق أغلب القوى السياسية الممثلة في السلطة، بما فيها تلك التي هي قيد الولادة، وبأن التقاسم للمغانم والمكاسب والمناصب، في خلفية أغلب الخلافات السياسية، بما فيها تعقيدات ولادة الحكومة المنتظرة منذ شهور، ويقين بأن شيئاً جذرياً لن يتغير بولادتها سوى الحركة التي يمكن أن تدب نسبياً في آلة الدولة الصدئة والمعطلة، يقابل ذلك قلق من أيّ تحرك تقوده قوى غامضة، ربما تنتهي في أحضان المسؤولين سياسياً أو اقتصادياً عن الأزمة برشوة هنا أو مكسب فئوي هناك، أو تنتهي بفوضى تجعل كل حراك واسع صندوق بريد للرسائل في الداخل والخارج، أو تنتهي بتصنيف طائفي أو فئوي للحراك يقيد انفتاحه على كل الشعب اللبناني. وهذه مخاوف لا يطمئنها لكون التحرّك بقيادة الشيوعيين، الموجودين خارج جنة الحكم والمصالح.

– المطلوب من الشيوعيين وقد حازوا من الذين لم يشاركونهم تحرّك الأمس، لكنهم صفقوا لهم بقلوبهم، إدراك الحاجة للمواظبة والمثابرة، كل أحد على حراك مشابه، سينضم إليه المزيد فالمزيد كلما أظهر الشيوعيون قدرة على إثبات ما ينتظره منهم اللبنانيون، طغيان لبنانيتهم على شيوعيتهم، اي العلم اللبناني والنشيد الوطني اللبناني، والهتافات الجامعة للبنانيين، والترفع عن الحزبية العصبية، وكلما أظهروا استعداداً للانفتاح على قيادة جماعية للتحرّك تسعى لضم كل من يبدي استعداداً للمشاركة، وخصوصاً الخصوم العقائديين والسياسيين للحزب، فالكثير من العقائديين القوميين والإسلاميين والكتائبيين كانو أمس يصفقون للشيوعيين عدا الكثير من القيادات النقابية والشعبية ومنظمات مدنية. وهذا لم يحدث من قبل، والتقاط اللحظة يستدعي توجيه دعوة منزهة عن الكسب الضيق للجميع، الجميع دون استثناء وبأسمائهم، وقياداتهم، ليكونوا قبل الأحد المقبل في لقاء تشاوري جامع واسع عنوانه: كيف نطلق حراكاً هادفاً للتغيير الاقتصادي والاجتماعي لا يخضع لمساومات وصفقات جانبية مع النظام السياسي والاقتصادي، وتحديد المطالب الواضحة والفعالة التي لا تراجع دون نيلها، والدعوة بنهاية اللقاء وفقاً لبيان يحمل تواقيع الحضور، لأحد لبناني يجمع الساحات من 8 و14 آذار، تحت العنوان الاجتماعي، حيث الشيوعيون ضمانة عدم الانقسام كما عدم التطييف وعدم التسييس، والأهم عدم الذهاب إلى خراب الفوضى.

– الفرص التاريخية تأتي مرة واحدة ولا تنتظر، وقد دقّ الحزب الشيوعي باب فرصة تاريخية أمس، ستجعل له مكانة في كتابة تاريخ جديد للبنان، إن أحسن التعامل معها، وأول شروط التقاط الفرص التاريخية، السرعة والترفع والتواضع والصدق، وتلك ميزات لا ينقص الشيوعين إدراكها أو توفيرها، فهي بعض مما يُنتظر منهم.

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France: Thousands of ’Yellow Vests’ Hit French Streets in 5th Week of Protests

Local Editor

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of French cities on Saturday in the fifth weekend of nationwide demonstrations against French President Emmanuel Macron’s government, despite calls to hold off after a gun attack in Strasbourg earlier this week.

In Paris, police were out in force to contain possible outbursts of violence.

Numbers were down compared to Saturday last week, a police source said.

Teargas was fired at small groups of protesters in brief clashes with riot police near the Champs-Elysees.

The ‘yellow vest’ movement started in mid-November with protests at junctions and roundabouts against fuel tax increases, but quickly became a wider mobilization against Macron’s economic policies.

Successive weekends of protests in Paris have led to vandalism and violent clashes with security forces.

The Interior Minister said around 69,000 police were active on Saturday with a reinforced presence in the cities of Toulouse, Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne.

A police source told Reuters some 16,000 protesters had been counted in France, excluding Paris, by 1100 GMT, compared to 22,000 at the same time on Dec. 8.

In Paris, where groups of hundreds of protesters marched in splintered groups in several neighborhoods, 85 had been arrested by around midday, according to a Paris police official.

On Friday, Macron called for a return to calm in France after nearly a month of protests by the so-called ‘yellow vest’ movement against his government’s policies. The demonstrations have hit growth and caused widespread disruption.

“France needs calm, order and a return to normal,” Macron said, after a meeting of European Union leaders in Brussels.

In a televised address to the nation earlier on Monday, Macron announced wage rises for the poorest workers and tax cuts for pensioners in further concessions meant to end the movement but many said they would maintain pressure.

The French government, as well as several unions and opposition politicians called on protesters to stay off the streets on Saturday, after four people were killed in a gun attack at a Christmas market in the historic city of Strasbourg.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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The revolutionary chaos is a French heritage الفوضى الثورية ميراث فرنسي

The revolutionary chaos is a French heritage

ديسمبر 12, 2018

Written by Nasser Kandil,

It is enough to notice the chaos and violence which accompanied the French Revolution from 1789 to 1793 including incursions, executions, clashes, thefts, burning of palaces, buildings, shops, and closing of roads to discover the association of violence and chaos with every revolutionary action in the history of France. It is not a source of astonishment or a strange thing far from the French “civilized” scene that has empty-headed language that finds its roots in glorifying France and Paris in particular as a city of lights, perfumes and fashion.

In the French history, the revolutionary events were associated with chaos and violence till the chaos turned into a theory of European- French,-Russian- German origin but with dominant French roots. The revolutionary events usually have two accompanying conditions; First, their relation with major external events and transformations in a status of a great country as France that has colonial policies and a party in the international wars. Second, the presence of social leaders and groups who came to France from non-French nationality, they appear among the ranks of rebels and they often occupy a leading position among them. Therefore, the analysts fell into naivety in reading the revolutionary event due to the difference of nationalities and their positions in the revolutions as a reason for describing the revolution as a coup on behalf of external parties once German and many times American.

The French history from the French Revolution to the Revolution of 1870, the birth of Paris Commune as the first popular government that run the French capital or the global capital for sixty years, and the student protest in 1968 made the scene of Storming of the Bastille and the escape of prisoners and the accompanying chaos an associating scene in every revolutionary action. Furthermore the voice of Marie Antoinette the wife of King Louis XVI who said as narrated by Jean-Jacques Rousseau if the poor do not find bread , they can eat cake can be heard at every revolutionary action in the streets of Paris, even if the end was not dramatic as it was with the execution of Marie Antoinette.

Whenever there were revolutions in the history of France, they ended with the restoration of the traditional regime but in new form accompanied by difficult changes in the international situation of France and the inability of the rulers to provide a situation that preserves the French dignity and keeps France away from the humiliation of refraction which is accompanied by chaos and violence. The non-French people were playing a pivotal role in mobilizing, organizing, and leading them through considering Paris a global capital not as a capital of global country. Poverty, hunger, protest of students and trade unions and the attempt to innovate a new life style, new organization, and a new theory were always there, but the most important thing was the presence of a ruler who was promoted as a dazzling phenomenon that reveals intolerable vanity.

The Yellow vests movement in France is a reaction of the natural law, because every action has a reaction of the same kind and strength but in the opposite way. This exactly applies on the elements of surprise, mystery, and speed between Emanuel Macron and the Yellow vests movement. Violence, chaos, the difficult situations of the French external policy, the social crises resulting from the decline of the colonial status of France, the emergence of poverty and hunger, and the presence of non-French groups in streets are French features of every revolutionary situation of a global capital. But what is new is that this phenomenon is an interpretation of the development of the communication media and the revolution of information in making the revolutions of the twenty-first century and a French popular fragrance that will be a global trend in this century.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

الفوضى الثورية ميراث فرنسي

ديسمبر 10, 2018

ناصر قنديل

تكفي العودة لمستويات الفوضى والعنف التي لازمت الثورة الفرنسية الأم عام 1789 والتي شهدت في محطاتها المختلفة وصولاً حتى العام 1793 اقتحامات وإعدامات وتصادمات، وخلالها جميعاً سرقات وإحراق قصور ومبانٍ ومتاجر وإقفال طرقات، لاكتشاف متلازمة العنف والفوضى مع كل عمل ثوري في تاريخ فرنسا. وعدم أخذ هذا البعد كمصدر للذهول والحديث عن غرابته على مشهد فرنسي «حضاري» مستمدّ توصيفه من لغة بلهاء تجد جذورها في تمجيد فرنسا وباريس خصوصاً، كمدينة ليلية للأضواء والعطور والأزياء.

في التاريخ الفرنسي تلازمت الأحداث الثورية مع الفوضى والعنف حتى تحوّلت الفوضوية إلى نظرية ذات منشأ أوروبي فرنسي روسي ألماني، لكن بجذور وتفسيرات فرنسية طاغية، لكن الأحداث الثورية لم تكن يوماً بعيدة عن شرطين مرافقين لها، الأول هو اتصالها بوجود أحداث وتحولات خارجية كبرى في مكانة دولة كبرى كفرنسا، ذات سياسات استعمارية، وطرف في حروب دولية، والثاني وجود قادة وشرائح اجتماعية وافدين إلى فرنسا من غير الجنسية الفرنسية يظهرون في صفوف الثوار، وغالباً ما يحتلون مكانة قيادية بينهم، وفي الغالب أيضاً يقع المحللون في سذاجة قراءة الحدث الثوري بخلفية جنسياتهم، ومكانتهم في الثورات، كمدخل لتوصيف الثورة كعمل انقلابي لحساب خارج ما، ألماني مرة وأميركي مرات.

في التاريخ الفرنسي أيضاً من الثورة الفرنسية الأم إلى ثورة عام 1870 وولادة كومونة باريس، كأول حكومة شعبية أدارت العاصمة الفرنسية، أو عاصمة عالمية، لستين يوماً، ومن بعدها ثورة الطلاب عام 1968، ما يجعل رؤية مشهد اقتحام الباستيل، وخروج السجناء وما رافقه من فوضى، كخلفية متحركة في كل تكرار للوضع الثوري، وما يجعل سماع صدى صوت ماري انطوانيت زوجة الملك لويس السادس عشر، صاحبة القول، كما رواه جان جاك روسو، إن لم يجد الفقراء خبزاً فليأكلوا الكعك، في كل محطة من محطات التحركات الثورية في شوارع باريس، حتى لو تكن النهاية درامية كما هي مع إعدام ماري أنطوانيت.

في تاريخ فرنسا ليست هناك دائماً ثورات، لكن كلما كانت هناك ثورات كانت تنتهي باستعادة النظام التقليدي لحيويته بصيغة جديدة، وكانت ترافق محطاتها حالات التغير الصعب في ظرف فرنسا الدولي وعجز الحكام عن تقديم تأقلم يحفظ الكرامة الفرنسية ويجنب فرنسا ذل الانكسار، وكان يرافقها الكثير الكثير من العنف والفوضى، وكان يلعب غير الفرنسيين دوراً مفصلياً في تحشيدها وتنظيمها وقيادتها، باعتبار باريس عاصمة عالمية وليس بصفتها مجرد كونها عاصمة لدولة عالمية، لكن دائماً كان هناك الفقر والجوع والطلاب والنقابات، ومحاولة ابتكار لأسلوب جديد، وتنظيم جديد، ونظرية جديدة. والأهم أنه كان دائماً هناك حاكم تمّ تسويقه كظاهرة مبهرة وتكشف عن صناعة مريبة وتفاهة لا تحتمل.

السترات الصفراء في فرنسا هي استجابة للقانون الطبيعي، أنه لكل فعل رد فعل من النوع والقوة ذاتهما ولكن باتجاه معاكس. وهذا ينطبق تماماً على عناصر المفاجأة والغموض والسرعة، التي تجمع بين ظاهرتي أمانويل ماكرون والسترات الصفراء. أما العنف والفوضى والظروف الصعبة للسياسة الفرنسية الخارجية، والأزمات الأجتماعية الناتجة عن تراجع المكانة الاستعمارية لفرنسا، وظهور الفقر والجوع، وحضور الجماعات غير الفرنسية الأصل في الشارع، فكلها لا تفيد شيئاً في تفسير الخصوصية، لأنها سمات فرنسية لكل وضع ثوري في تاريخها كعاصمة عالمية. الجديد هو أن الظاهرة ترجمة فرنسية لتطوّر شبكات التواصل وثورة المعلوماتية في صناعة ثورات القرن الحادي والعشرين، ونكهة عطر باريسي شعبي سيصير موضة عالمية في هذا القرن، ولعله يكون مناسباً لكل من يريد الدخول على خط هذه الثورات، ويقوم بشراء الماركة وبيعها في أسواق جديدة.

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France’s Yellow Vests: Fuel Tax Hike Triggers Poverty, Finances War and Repayment of the Public Debt

Global Research, December 10, 2018
Global Research 9 December 2018

Updated, December 10, 2018

The Western media in chorus upholds France’s President Macron against the Yellow Vests Movement, which it describes as “Climate Deniers”.

The New York Times casually describes the fuel tax hike as a carefully formulated economic policy to fight global climate change.

It’s a lie. 

Hikes in the fuel tax applied Worldwide in more than 120 countries are part of a package of deadly macro-economic reforms which serve to impoverish large sectors of the World population. 

The hike in gasoline prices translates into increases in the price of food, transportation and essential goods and services. It undermines the productive structure. It leads to the collapse of the standard of living.  

The Yellow Vest protests in France against the fuel tax increase are described by the media as “the biggest obstacle yet to attempts to encourage conservation in alternative energy use.” Strong statement!

Taxing fuel is presented as a means to “alleviate climate change to the benefit of humanity.” (NYT, December 6, 2018).

What nonsense!

Washington Post headline, December 4, 2018

The public is misled. The climate change issue (an objective in its own right) is being used as a smokescreen, a pretext to repress the protest movement.

What is the Unspoken Objective of the Fuel Tax:  Debt Servicing and the War Economy

President Emmanuel Macron is an instrument of the financial establishment, a former staff of the Rothschilds, acting on their behalf, enforcing a profit driven macro-economic agenda as well boosting the revenues of the military contractors.

The tax on fuel serves the interests of powerful creditor  institutions. The tax proceeds will be channelled into servicing France’s spiralling public debt which is  estimated at 2.2 trillion euros, equivalent to 96.8 percent of GDP. Annual debt servicing obligations of the French Republic are staggering. The entire fiscal structure is in crisis.

“War is Good for Business”

The tax on fuel will also serve to finance mounting military expenditures (in excess of 30 billion euros per annum in 2017) in support of France’s participation in NATO’s various  “peace-making” initiatives  in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Clamping down on the Yellow Vest protest movement is intimately related to the War Economy, which is sustained by neoliberal austerity measures. On July 13, ironically one day before Bastille Day, President Emmanuel Macron signed into law the 2019-2025 military budget law “clearing the way for a funding boost for procurement for the Air Force, Army and Navy”(Defense News, July 15, 2018). This thrust in military expenditure was in large part in response to pressures from Washington:

This was a “military budget law of growth,” he said in a speech to the officers and personnel who would take part in the parade the next day. The spending would be at a level unseen for decades, …  and the move comes at a time when the domestic budget was under strain. (Defense News July 15, 2018, emphasis added)

Under the provisions of the military budget law, the Macron government confirmed that defence spending would increase by more than 40 percent. The amounts of money that need to be collected from tax revenues (including the fuel tax) to finance France’s war economy are colossal. In turn the hike in military expenditure is to be supported by drastic austerity measures directed against all other categories of (civilian) expenditure:

 “The defence ministry plans to raise its spending by 1.7 billion euros a year (2019-2022), increasing to 3 billion a year (2023-2025” (France 24, August 2, 2018).

US-NATO Diktats

Profit over people. What is at stake is a process of lucrative military procurement through France’s Direction Générale pour l’Armement under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense.

In turn, this multibillion war economy under NATO auspices, controlled by the Pentagon and directed against Russia, is destroying France’s social fabric, its Welfare State, leading to poverty and social despair.

Guns versus Butter: This mechanism of NATO sponsored social destruction (coupled with neoliberal austerity measures) is operating relentlessly throughout the European Union.

Fuel Taxes: A Worldwide Process

Fuel taxes are being implemented in over 100 countries.  In developing countries the hikes in fuel taxes are imposed by the World Bank on behalf of creditor institutions. They are part of the so-called structural adjustment program (SAP) under the helm of the IMF and the World Bank.

The hike in fuel prices leads almost immediately to an increase in the prices of food and transportation, hikes in the price of social services.  Bitter “economic medicine”: The result is widespread poverty as well as the bankruptcy of local producers.

Gasoline Prices: Let’s Look at the Numbers

While the price of gasoline at the pump is spiraling (as a result of retail profit markups and hikes in fuel taxes), the actual cost of a litre or gallon of gasoline is abysmally low.

Look at the distance between the cost of a liter (or gallon) of gasoline and the retail price paid at the pump. 

The cost of crude oil varies. As low as $10 a barrel in Saudi Arabia.

The quoted price of crude oil is currently between US$52.6 (WTI) and US$61.67 (Brent)

.

A barrel of oil is equivalent to 158.98 litres, or 42 gallons, which suggests that the cost of  WTI crude oilis less than 35 cents US a litre, or $1.25 a gallon.

In France the cost of crude oil is Euro 0.27 a litre. At the pump, petrol is selling at Euro 1.47

Consumers in France are being charged Euro 1.47 a litre, more than five times the litre cost of crude oil.

The refinery costs associated with the transformation of crude oil into gasoline are minimal.

SUPPORT THE YELLOW VESTS

Oil is a multibillion dollar operation. The oil giants have overlapping interests in banking and the military industrial complex.

They have a vested interest in collecting the public debt as well as enabling the state to finance the war economy.

Taxes on fuel constitute a safety net for both the creditors and the military industrial complex. 

The climate change pretext is a lie.

Support the Yellow Vests.

A major thrust is required to counter the tide of media disinformation.

French Lessons

Yellow vests mass protests against the rise in fuel prices in the French capital of Paris

Finian Cunningham

French people are standing up for their rights and speaking out for many others around the world who are sick at the injustice of capitalism. None more so than people of Western states who have had to endure decades of economic austerity while a tiny elite become ever more obscenely wealthy.

In addition to the irrational malign distribution of wealth that capitalism bestows, Western states — that is, the oligarch-serving politicians — spend and waste inordinate financial resources on militarism and waging criminal wars.

READ MORE: Yellow Vests Revolution Drives Beyond France’s Borders — Author

For the fourth weekend in a row, the French public have taken to the streets of Paris and other major cities to demand economic justice.
They also want President Emmanuel Macron to resign. Macron has so far kept his usual aloof silence on the protests, leaving it up to his prime minister Edouard Philippe to placate the angry nation.

Bringing the country to almost a standstill by blocking transport links and fuel supply, the French have demonstrated “people power” and what can be achieved when we organize for our rights.Macron’s government has caved in to scrap plans for tax hikes on the transport fuel. Those proposed price hikes is what triggered ordinary people’s fury, donning the now symbolic “yellow vests” that all drivers in France are obliged to carry in vehicles for safety reasons.

The French public say the new taxes would hit their livelihoods.
Macron claimed the new fuel levies were for raising government funds in order to pay for transition to a more ecologically sustainable society.

However, ordinary citizens point out that Macron — whom they disparage as “president for the rich” — recently abolished taxes for the very wealthy. That giveaway could have been used instead by the government to fund whatever green projects it is planning.

Macron’s administration is also planning major tax reductions for big business and corporations. Again, that move shows the elitist priorities of this president and his ministers. The Élysée Palace is intent on making the majority of working people pay for social changes, rather the rich class who could easily afford it.

READ MORE: Yellow Vests Protests: Paris Police Countermeasures Reportedly Leaked

In addition, the French state spends about $50 billion a year on military. If that expenditure was, say, halved, then there would be no need for austerity and arbitrary cuts in public services and welfare.
The French extravagance on military is typical of all Western states and NATO members in particular. If they slashed their militarism, then other countries like Russia and China would also be able to reduce their military budgets, which are maintained out of defensive posture owing to the aggressive stance of Western states.

The French yellow vest movement appears to be at a momentous turning point. It could go either of two significant directions.Already, the Macron government has capitulated over its brazen tax burdens on ordinary citizens. There is a sense that the elitist president and his administration are teetering to stay in office. For the French people their protest movement has gone beyond fuel levies.
They are questioning the entire neoliberal capitalist system, and why they have been made to endure decades of economic exploitation and oppression.

Moreover, there are signs that the yellow vest movement is inspiring the public in other European countries to likewise take to the streets and finally hold the oligarchic system to account. There are reports of similar solidarity protests taking place in neighboring Belgium. We can be sure that governments across Europe are wary of a tidal wave of people power.

There is also a more ominous, sinister direction. A foretaste of that was seen last week when French riot police arrested dozens of high school students rallying against education reforms, and made them kneel on the ground, hands on head. Some of the students were forced to kneel with their faces against a wall.

That scene has horrified many people in France and further afield. It bore the actions of a police-state dictatorship and the abrogation of legal rights. Some commentators even remarked that the detained students cowering in front of armed officers looked like a mock-execution scenario.

This weekend ahead of the planned protests in Paris, hundreds of people traveling to the capital to join demonstrations were arrested “preemptively” by police, and taken into custody. The French authorities claim they were preventing “trouble makers” from inciting violence.

Though many other French citizens fear that what is really going on is the beginning of repressive crackdown by the state against democratic rights to free speech and public assembly.

READ MORE: 950 People Detained During Yellow Vests Protests in Paris — Reports

Recall too how only a few weeks ago, during World War One commemorations, President Macron sparked a hue and cry when he praised former General Philippe Pétain for his battlefield bravery. Pétain later became the leader of Vichy France which collaborated with the German Third Reich during World War Two. Ignominiously, the French state functioned as a fascist regime, rounding up tens of thousands of its citizens, and dispatching them to Nazi death camps.

Arguably, capitalism is an irrational, anti-democratic system that always has a tendency towards oligarchy, militarism and fascism. When the economy is doing relatively well, then the system tolerates forms of “liberal democracy”. But when the system is running on empty, then more extreme powers are exercised to control the restless masses.Decades of economic austerity and mass impoverishment across Western states show that capitalism can no longer disguise itself as liberal democracy. The people are rightly becoming restless and angry for their human rights: to have decent jobs, salaries and public services.

The rebellious French are inspiring all people to demand what is their natural rights and to overthrow the injustice of capitalism. That could go in an historic progressive direction, not just in France, but across all Western oligarchic states.

There again, the powers-that-be may, out of desperation to retain their privileges and wealth, go full fascism. The liberal mask of Western democracies appears to be slipping to reveal the brute force beneath.

We seem to be at a historic juncture.

The views and opinions expressed by the contributor do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

‘How the West Eats Its Children’

JPEG - 55.6 kb

By Thierry Meyssan

For Thierry Meyssan, by taking to the streets, the French have become the first Western population to take personal risks to oppose financial globalisation. Although they do not realise it, and still imagine that their problems are exclusively national, their enemy is the same force that crushed the region of the African Great Lakes and a part of the Greater Middle East. In order to understand the project which inextricably unites these apparently disparate events, we have to take a step back.

The cause of Western recession

International relations experienced a profound change with the paralysis of the Soviet Union in 1986, when the State was unable to control the civilian nuclear incident in Tchernobyl [1], then with the revocation of the Warsaw Pact in 1989, when the East German Communist Party [2] destroyed the Berlin Wall, and finally, with the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.

At that time, the President of the United States, George Bush Sr., decided to demobilise one million soldiers and devote the efforts of his country to its own prosperity. He wanted to transform US hegemony within its zone of influence, and expand it into that of the leader of the world, the guarantor of world stability. With that, he laid the foundations for a « New World Order », first of all in the speech he gave side by side with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, at the Aspen Institute (2 August 1990), then during his speech to Congress (11 September 1990), announcing operation « Desert Storm » [3].

The world of the après-Soviet Union is one of free circulation, not only of merchandise, but also world capital, under the unique control of the United States. In other words, the passage from capitalism to financialisation – not the triumphant culmination of free exchange, but an exacerbated form of colonial exploitation of the whole world, including the West. Within the space of a quarter of a century, the major US fortunes have multiplied many times, and the global wealth of the world has increased considerably.

By allowing capitalism to run wild, President Bush Sr. hoped to extend prosperity to the world. But capitalism is not a political project, it is simply a system of logic designed for creating profit. The logic of the US multinationals was to increase their profits by delocalising production to China, where it is now possible, and where workers are the lowest paid in the world.

Those who were prepared to measure the cost of this advance for the West were few and far between. New middle classes began to appear in the third world, and although they were, of course, far less wealthy than those in the West, they enabled new, mainly Asian states, to play a rôle on the world stage. But simultaneously, Western middle classes began to disappear [4], meaning that it became impossible for the democratic institutions they built to survive. Above all, the populations of entire regions were to be entirely crushed, starting with those of the African Great Lakes. This first regional war caused 6 million deaths, in Angola, Burundi, Namibia, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Zimbabwe, and was met with general incomprehension and indifference. The aim was to continue to seize the natural resources of these countries, but to pay less and less for them, which meant dealing with gangs rather than with the States who had to feed their populations.

The sociological transformation of the world is happening very fast and is clearly without precedent, although we do not have the statistical tools available today to evaluate it with precision. However, everyone can witness the increase in power of Eurasia, (not in the Gaullist sense of « Brest to Vladivostok », but that of Russia and Asia without Western and Central Europe), which seeks liberty and prosperity, while the Western powers, including the United States, are slowly and progressively declining, limiting individual freedom and ejecting half of their population into zones of poverty.

Today, the percentage of imprisonment in China is four times inferior to that of the United States,while their purchasing power is slightly higher. Objectively therefore, with all its faults, Chine has become a freer and more prosperous country than the United States.

This process was predictable from the beginning. Its application was studied for a long time. So, on 1 September 1987, a US forty-year-old published a page of counter-current publicity in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Boston Globe. He warned his compatriots about the rôle that President Bush Sr. was planning to allocate to the United States – to assume and finance out of their own pockets the responsibility for the developing « New World Order ». People read it and laughed. The author of these texts was real estate promoter, Donald Trump.

The application of the economic model to international relations

One month after the attacks of 11 September 2001, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld nominated his friend Admiral Arthur Cebrowski as Director of the new Office of Force Transformation. He was tasked with changing the culture of the entire US military in order to enable it to respond to a complete change in its mission

There was no longer question of using US armies to defend principles or interests, but to use them for a reorganisation of the world by dividing it into two parts – one one side the states integrated into the globalised economy, and on the other, the others [5]. The Pentagon would no longer fight wars in order to steal natural resources, but to control access to those resources by the globalised nations. A division directly inspired by the process of globalisation which had already trashed half of the Western populations. This time, it was half of the world’s population which was to be excluded [6].

The reorganisation of the world began in the political zone known as the « Greater Middle East », that is to say stretching from Afghanistan to Morocco, with the exception of Israël, Lebanon and Jordan. This brought about the alleged epidemic of civil wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Syria and Yemen, which has already caused several million deaths.

Like a monster eating its own children, the global financial system based in the United States faced its first crisis in 2008, when the subprime bubble burst. Contrary to a commonly-held belief, this was absolutely not a global crisis, but a Western problem. For the first time, the NATO states experienced the first consequences of the policy they were supporting. Yet the upper Western classes changed nothing in their behaviour, as they witnessed with compassion the wreck of the middle classes. The only notable modification was the adoption of the « Volcker rule » [7], which forbade banks from profiting from information obtained from their clients in order to speculate against their interests. But while conflicts of interest enabled a number of crooks to get rich fast, they are not the root of the problem, which is far more wide-reaching.

The revolt of the Western populations

The revolt of the Western middle and working classes against the globalised upper class began two years ago.

Aware of the Western recession as compared with Asia, the people of the United Kingdom were the first to attempt to save its life-style by leaving the European Union and turning to China and the Commonwealth (referendum of 23 June 2016) [8]. Unfortunately, the leaders of the United Kingdom were unable to conclude the agreement they hoped for with China and experienced great difficulty in reactivating their links with the Commonwealth.

Then, witnessing the collapse of their civil industries, a part of the United States voted, on 8 November 2016, for the only Presidential candidate who was opposed to the New World Order, Donald Trump. He spoke of a return to the « American dream ». Unfortunately for his voters, although Donald Trump began to question the rules of globalised commerce, he had no team with him apart from his family, and was only able to modify, but not change, the military strategy of his country. Almost all of the general officers had adopted the Rumsfeld-Cebrowski ideology, and could no longer imagine themselves in any other role than defenders of financial globalisation.

Aware of the collapse of their national industry, and certain that they would be betrayed by their upper class, the Italians voted, on 4 March 2018, for an anti-system party composed of the Ligue and the 5-star Movement. These parties built an alliance in order to implement social policies. Unfortunately, they were rejected by the European Union [9]. In France, tens of thousands of SME’s (small and medium-sized enterprises), subcontractors of industry, had gone bankrupt over the last ten years, but their compulsory tax deductions, already among the highest in the world, increased by 30 % over the same period.

Several hundreds of thousands of French people suddenly took to the streets to demonstrate against abusive financial measures. Unfortunately for them, the French upper classes have been contaminated by the very idea that was rejected by the United States, and therefore did their best to adapt their policies to the popular revolt, but not to change its basic causes.

If we look at each of these four countries separately, we will find four different explanations for what is happening there. But if we analyse the situation as a single phenomenon affecting different cultures, we will discover the same mechanisms across the board. In these four countries, consecutive with the end of capitalism, the middle classes disappeared more or less rapidly, and with them the political system that they incarnated – Democracy.

So either the Western leaders abandon the financial system they have developed and return to the productive capitalism of the Cold War, or they will have to invent a different organisation that no-one has so far been able imagine. Failing that, the West, which has directed the world for five centuries, will sink into a long period of internal chaos.

The Syrians were the first non-globalised People capable of surviving and resisting the destruction of Rumsfeld-Cebrowski’s infra-world. The French were the first globalised people to rise up against the destruction of the West, even if they are not aware that they are fighting the same unique enemy of all of humanity. President Emmanuel Macron is not the man for the situation, not because he has any responsibility for the system that preceded him, but because he is pure product of that system. In response to the riots in his country, he spoke from the G20 in Buenos-Aires, declaring that the meeting was a success in his eyes, (which it was not), and that he intended to advance more efficiently than his predecessors – in the wrong direction.

How to save privilege

It appears that the British ruling class has its solution – if London in particular and the Western nations in general are no longer capable of ruling the world, it will be necessary to cut one’s losses and divide the world into two distinct zones. This is the policy implemented by Obama in the final months of his presidency [10], then by Theresa May, and now by Donald Trump, with their refusal to cooperate and their ready-made accusations, first of all against Russia and now against China.

It also seems that Russia and China, despite their historical rivalry, are aware that they will never be able to ally themselves with these Westerners who have never ceased trying to carve them up. This is the source of their project, the « Eurasian Economic Union » – if the world must be split in two, each participant will have to organise its own. In concrete terms, for Beijing, this means abandoning half of its « Silk Road » project and its redeployment with Moscow only in Greater Eurasia.

How to determine the line of demarcation

For the West and Greater Eurasia, it will be necessary to determine the split line as fast as possible. For example, what side will Ukraine choose? The construction by Russia of the Kertch bridge was aimed at separating the country, absorbing the Donbass and the Azov Sea basin, then Odessa and Transnistria. On the contrary, the incident at Kertch, organised by the Western powers, is aimed at enrolling all of Ukraine into NATO before the country fractures.

Since the ship of financial globalisation is sinking, many people are beginning to save their personal interests without any care for others. For example this is the source of the tension between the European Union and the United States. As far as this game is concerned, the Zionist movement has always had a length’s lead, which explains the mutation of Israëli strategy, which has abandoned Syria to Russia, and turned to both the Gulf States and East Africa.

Perspectives

Taking into account what is at play here, it is obvious that the insurrection in France is only the beginning of a much wider process which is going to spread to other Western countries.

It would be absurd to believe that at a time of financial globalisation, a government, whatever it might be, could resolve the problems of its country without first of all questioning international relations and at the same time regaining its capacity for action. But precisely, foreign policy has been kept on the sidelines of the democratic field since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It is both necessary and urgent to resign from almost all of the treaties and engagements of the last thirty years. Only the states which are able to re-affirm their sovereignty can hope to recover.

Translation
Pete Kimberley

[1] According to Michaïl Gorbatchev, this was the event that made possible the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union in so far as it delegitimised the State.

[2] Contrary to a commonly-held belief in the West, it was the nationalists from the East-German Communist Party (and the Lutheran churches), and not the anti-Communists (and pro-US movements), who broke down the symbol of Soviet domination, the Wall.

[3] The main purpose of the invasion of Iraq was not to liberate Kuwaït, but to use this affair to build the strongest coalition possible under US command, including the USSR.

[4Global Inequality. A New Approach for the Age of Globalization, Branko Milanovic, Harvard University Press, 2016.

[5] “The US military project for the world”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 22 August 2017.

[6] It is obvious that the wars of Bush Jr. and Obama were never intended to expand the Empire. First of all because by definition, democracy can only come from the People, not imposed by bombs. And then because the United States was already a plutocracy.

[7] The ex-president of the US Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker, is on the other hand, one of the architects of global financialisation. It is Volcker who took legal action on behalf of the UNO against the people and entities who had helped Iraq to bypass the UN embargo (the « oil for food » affair). Volcker is one of the principal personalities of the Pilgrim’s Society, the trans-Atlantic club presided by Queen Elizabeth II. As such, he became the main economic advisor to President Barack Obama, and organised part of his cabinet.

[8] “The new British Foreign Policy”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 4 July 2016.

[9] Replacing the European Common Market, which was originally a system for cooperation between states, the European Union, as defined by the Treaty of Maastricht, is a supranational

[10] “Two separate worlds”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Al-Watan (Syria) , Voltaire Network, 8 November 2016.

The worst unrest in 50 years hits the French capital – Learn More about France’s ’Yellow Vests’

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Western lawmakers call for ‘free elections’ in Bahrain

The file photo, taken on December 26, 2014, shows a Bahraini man holding up a placard reading in Arabic, "Your government and your parliament are without legitimacy," during an anti-government protest in the village of Jannusan, west of the capital Manama. (Photo by AFP)

The file photo, taken on December 26, 2014, shows a Bahraini man holding up a placard reading in Arabic, “Your government and your parliament are without legitimacy,” during an anti-government protest in the village of Jannusan, west of the capital Manama. (Photo by AFP)

Fri Nov 9, 2018 03:47PM

The government of Bahrain has come under fire by Western lawmakers against the backdrop of a ban on an opposition party from contesting the upcoming elections in the Arab country.

Bahrain is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections on November 24.

A cross-party group of British lawmakers, including Conservative MP Peter Bottomley, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, and Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake, said in a letter to the Foreign Office that Bahrain “effectively bans major opposition figures from holding political office.” They added that a countless number of Bahraini individuals have been “incarcerated on charges that criminalize free expression and assembly.”

“Free and fair elections can only take place if citizens are able to express their views.”

The British lawmakers also referred to the forcible closure of the only independent newspaper, Al-Wasat, back in 2017 and the detention of at least 15 journalists and Bahrain’s most prominent human rights defender Nabeel Rajab for comments deemed critical of the Bahraini state.

“Bahrain may be a key strategic ally to the UK but human rights and democratic values are fundamental pillars of our society and foreign policy”, the letter concluded.

In Ireland, a cross-party group of lawmakers involved in foreign affairs urged the release of all political detainees in Bahrain and permitting international bodies to observe the elections.

Members of the European Parliament also slammed the Bahraini regime for missing the opportunity of the elections “to ease tensions and allow space for open dialogue to take place.”

Some 40 members of the European Parliament composed a letter addressed to Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah which is to be published next week.

The letter also points to “the enactment of increasingly repressive measures.”

“Under these conditions, Bahrain’s elections cannot be recognized by the international community as free, fair, or legitimate.”

Last week, US Congressmen James McGovern and Randy Hultgren, who are co-chairs of the bipartisan Tom Lantos human rights commission in the US House of Representatives, stressed that it would be difficult for the international community to recognize the upcoming elections as legitimate, noting that Manama “has dissolved two major opposition political societies, barred all members of the societies from running for office on an individual basis, and imprisoned a number of key figures, as well as writers and civil society leaders.”

“In addition, Bahrain’s electoral infrastructure inherently disadvantages the political opposition. There is no independent electoral commission and, to date, there has been no commitment by the government to permit either domestic or international observers,” the letter added.

In May, Bahrain’s parliament approved a bill barring members of the al-Wefaq from running in elections, the latest step in Manama’s political crackdown.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters have held numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the kingdom on February 14, 2011.

They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and let a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.

Manama has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.

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The reinstatement of North Korea: What effects on the ‘story’ of socialism?

 

October 25, 2018

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker BlogThe reinstatement of North Korea: What effects on the ‘story’ of socialism?

It seems unlikely – as it defies 73 years of ongoing aggression, warfare, the near-warfare of constant tap dancing on the border, starvation-creating sanctions, false promises, broken promises, racist caricaturing, hysterical knee-jerk anti-socialism, and more besides – but what if Washington finally allows North Korea to reintegrate into the multinational world?

North Korea has been so politically oppressed from without that they are less integrated into global affairs, regional affairs, and even local & national affairs (their country was forcibly divided, after all) than any nation. They are even less integrated than the other few nations which have sustained modern (and thus socialist-inspired) popular revolutions, such as Cuba, Iran, Eritrea, mighty China and their fighting Vietnamese comrades.

We are told that we don’t really know anything about North Korea! We are also told to believe nothing from Pyongyang, and that the “Hermit Kingdom” is the most inscrutable of all those very-inscrutable East Asians. But I reported from Seoul and the DMZ border in 2013 and learned some interesting things (5 of them are here).

If I had to give the two most important ideas, they would be: no People have lived with more meddling exterior menaces since the year 1945 -North Koreans are bordered by and/or threatened by the US, South Korea, Russia, China and Japan); and the second point would be that the reunification of an $8 trillion mineral-richwell-educated(darn those socialist countries with their not-for-profit education programs) North Korea with South Korea would almost IMMEDIATELY create the world’s 5th-largest economy, trailing only the US, China, Japan and Germany. I hold these truths to be self-evident, and move on to the point of this article….

Let’s conjecture that Korea is still not allowed to reunite but that North Korea is allowed a global reinstatement on the level of China and Vietnam, leapfrogging poor Cuba and lonely Iran (but who is lonely when they have God?): How would that affect socialism on a global-historical scale?

What do I mean by that? I mean: socialism is a historical-political movement which covers 200 years, which is nearly as faith-based as Islam or Christendom, and which is nearly as economically influential as the era of industrialisation (an era which has lasted 250 years because many colonized countries have never even finished the First Industrial Revolution) and reinstatement for North Korea means a North Korean victory…and a victory for North Korea HAS TO impact the “narrative of socialism”, no?

Right now the narrative since 1992 is that “History is over”, per Francis Fukuyama, and capitalism has defeated socialism until the end of time…except that Fukuyama himself just backtracked on that with a recent interview“At this juncture, it seems to me that certain things Karl Marx said are turning out to be true.” Ah, really Frank? By “juncture” you mean roughly 1848, right?

It’s 2018 and we’re talking North Korean reintegration, old F.F. is having doubts and Donald Trump is in the White House – what is the world coming to?!

Trump, God bless his Nobel Peace Prize-deserving soul (hey, Obama re-set the bar, right?) seems willing to do what the smartphone-loving world demands: end the Cold War on North Korea…in order to start exploiting the Jongju superdeposit, the world’s largest rare earth metals cache, and which may contain double the world’s known rare earth element resources. Money talks with capitalists, not ideology/morality/history….

So what does it mean for socialism if North Korea is allowed to allow people in?

Here’s what I’m picturing: Much like Iran, foreigners come visit and realize: this place is far more modern and put together than often ignorantly assumed. After all, North Korea seems to have the ideological cohesion of Cuba combined with a high-tech skillset & wealth volume closer to Iran (Cuba’s “wealth volume” is limited by population size, containing only sugar and nickel, and by being an island (blockade-busting is thus harder)). With reinstatement the world will slowly realize and accept that North Korea is indeed a socialist success – just like China and Vietnam. Unlike Iran, there is no Islamophobia for the Christian-Atheist West to use as a deflection.

Reinstatement means Asians run socialism like Westerners run capitalism

A North Korean victory means we are talking about the four biggest socialist success stories, certainly from an economic standpoint, being from Asia.

Concurrently, European socialism is not even close to being revived: it’s hard to shock back into life someone who has drunk hemlock (events of 1989-1991) and also asked to be shot (the Eurozone & European Union). Asia turns to its left, sees Iran, mumbles (but not disapprovingly), stands on its tiptoes and shakes its head while discussing “revisionism” and “the lack of a Cultural Revolution”.

Here is the fundamental question at the heart of this article: The West writes the history of socialism because they are the “victors” and history is written by the victors.

The West is the “victor” in every way possible, of course – one can never question that. They are the “victors” in what “socialism” is, means and should be…which is paradoxical, because they have undoubtedly always been the “victors” in capitalism-imperialism and are the current victors in neo-imperialism.

Western paradoxes are there only to be ignored, so I’ll continue: They are also the “victors” in which rights are “human” and which are not; they are the “victors” in what is “freedom” and what is not; they are the “victors” in which economics are successful and which are not. All of these are absolutely without a defensible factual foundation – especially the more-mathematical last one – but I contend that the West believes, and much of the rest of the world is also persuaded, that the West are the “victors” in achieving the greatest amount of “socialist victory”. (For the record, I do not believe nor am persuaded by any of these claims.)

Again, socialism is a movement which is so long and so enduring that it forces us to extend our viewpoint: If North Korea is added to the list of socialist victories…what does and what should the world do?

Save a few Latin American countries, only one of which is stable (Cuba); save a few African countries, only two of which are stable (Algeria, Eritrea); it must be admitted that Asian socialism is currently victorious in the “global-regional competition”.

Therefore, I insist an integration of North Korea allows me to declare the “end of history”: Asian socialism is the only acceptable model, and all must follow Asia henceforth.

LOL, but such a declaration is not “socialism” at all because socialism (like Islam) cannot be forced: it would then cease to be democratic, and socialism is the most class- and citizen-inclusive sociopolitical model ever created in human history. This type of a declaration can only be made by capitalists, who impose by force the ideas of one person (or of an oligarchical few).

Obviously, the actual ramifications of a North Korean success on the “narrative of socialism” is multi-faceted, complicated and boring to many, but the ramifications are real, impactful, undeniable and unavoidable.

What do Western socialists ‘learn’ from a North Korean success?

Is the West capable of learning from a North Korean success?

Past behaviour is the best indicator of future behaviour, so my answer is “no”: The West will make it a point to remain the “victors” (in their view) and thus learn nothing from North Korea’s success, just as they have learned nothing from the successes of China, Iran, Cuba, etc.

The West will try to co-opt North Korean success by the same lie – that North Korea is an anti-democratic mullah-ocracy…no wait, a one-family dictatorship like Cuba – that works better.

They will deny the existence of North Korea’s undeniably socialist rules, laws, history and martyrs. They will also deny the words and experiences of actual North Koreans because the Western “victors” can and should speak for everyone: The Western tongue is the “one, true” tongue.

Above all they will assert – on the Western left and the Western right – that North Korea never was socialist at all, or that it could possibly be “socialist” now. Sadly, Western socialists often do the work of the imperialist-capitalists for them; they, paradoxically are “socialists” despite espousing the exact same (nonsensical, uninformed, self-referencing, self-centered, self-interested) views on North Korea in 2018 as right-wingers.

But for the true socialists living in the Western countries – and I am talking about perhaps as many as 14 people – a North Korean success should be applauded loudly. After all – no other socialist nation has endured more to win sovereignty, freedom and their own form of socialism. Of course, this public applauding will make us even more socially-isolated in Western society to the point where we will have even greater trouble finding that elusive 15th comrade….

It’s undeniable, at least to me, that socialism can be divided into 3 distinct eras: West European dominance (Marx, Paris Commune), East European/Slavic dominance (USSR, Eastern Bloc) and Asian dominance (China, Vietnam, Iran…North Korea?). A North Korean integration means that we are STILL living in this mostly-unappreciated 3rd historical era of Asian dominance in socialist thought and practice. Reinstatement also implies that the long-awaited “Latin American dominance era”, to be led by Cuba, remains unmaterialized (due to the continued domination of the “Monroe Doctrine era”).

Of course, most Western leftists don’t want to hear any analysis which relegates the West to 2nd fiddle, as they are still the “victors”…and they are: in living in a tired, nostalgic, decidedly un-revolutionary fashion.

Trump has certainly said and done crazy things but the re-integration of North Korea follows as much capitalist logic as the re-integration of China (consumer demand, loans/bond buying, formerly low- but now mid-cost labor (providing mid-cost labor is the function Eastern Europe currently serves for the German neo-imperialism of the Eurozone)) and Vietnam (low-cost labor):

Without access to North Korea’s rare earth metals China will have perhaps as great a chokepoint on the modern global economy as any OPEC nation save Arabia (which I refuse to call “Saudi”, as only Western governments believe/want the house of Saud to be synonymous with the People of Arabia). Furthermore, due to their educational advancements, North Korea can obviously serve the same function for South Korea as East Germany did for West Germany upon their reunification: cheap but smart labor.

(Iran might have oil instead of rare earth metals, but how can they serve this capitalist labor function when they are (due to imperialist throttling) the most populous, most advanced economy in the Middle East? Even if a counter-revolution happened in Iran, who would make them their mid-cost labor hub – Russia, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt? None of those will work. This is why toppling Iran (combined with their anti-imperialist & anti-Zionist stances) is Washington’s continued project, in contrast to this floated reinstatement of North Korea. The US, being capitalist, runs on lobbies and money – somebody is obviously greasing the policy wheels (exercising their “free speech”) in favor of Pyongyang, and to hell with Korean War veterans groups or anyone else.

But that last is a bold statement – North Korean reinstatement…seriously? Sounds great – Koreans are certainly all for that, and they deserve Korean socialism…or at least to be #5 instead of pawns in a four-way game.

What does “socialism do” if North Korea becomes a success story – acknowledge it or ignore it? It seems like the answer depends on what part of the world you live in, but that is certainly a response which is “bad socialism”.

Socialism’s recent past and its present remains centered in the East, but socialism’s future remains open to anyone with common sense, a disposition for equality, and the courage to speak out.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

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