Archives for category: Middle East

This is a translation of my responsibility of a PCP document on Syria situation.

The PCP strongly condemns the dangerous escalation of threats against Syria by the governments of the U.S., France and Britain and its allies in the region.

If implemented, direct military aggression of imperialist powers and NATO against Syria is not only the corollary of the covert war already triggered against the Syrian people, and to all the peoples of the Middle East, but an adventure of unforeseen consequences that threatens to ignite the entire region.

A direct military aggression against Syria would be a qualitative leap in contempt international law and the sovereignty of peoples. The belligerent imperialists powers deliberately affront the principles of international law embodied in the UN Charter – beforehand the repudiation of war and respect for state sovereignty – and the proper UN. The replacement of these principles by the law of force is an undeniable objective of the imperialist powers.

The PCP, reaffirming its position as the frontal condemnation of the use of weapons of mass destruction, stresses that it is impossible to ignore the long history of disinformation, fabrications and lies that have served as a pretext for imperialist wars, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yugoslavia or Libya. Consider also to be equally impossible to ignore the long history of crimes committed by armed terrorist gangs, trained, funded and served the imperialist powers – as those who have performed on the ground aggression against Syrian people.

The PCP, considering the necessary full clearance of facts, draws attention to the gravity to convey or accept uncritically a campaign of manipulation of facts which

not only lack of sound evidence – whether in nature, either as to its possible authorship – as witness the above situations are themselves created by imperialist forces. The PCP register the repeated statements of the Syrian government, which denies categorically any chemical weapons attack and attributed to so-called “rebels” to their use, or the statements of various international authorities on existence of evidence to attribute the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict, not to Syrian army but the so-called “rebels”.

The PCP recalls that the imperialist powers who now say they are shocked by the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria have a long history of use of chemical weapons, biological and even nuclear against civilians, including weapons whose terrible effects if felt on later generations (as the atomic bombs dropped on Japan, the

Agent Orange” which devastated Vietnam or weapons based on depleted uranium in destruction of Yugoslavia). It is an unacceptable hypocrisy that leaders of the U.S., France or England invoke this argument to unleash another war of aggression.

The PCP denounces and condemns the role of the most violent and reactionary regimes in the region – Saudi Arabia and Qatar – in the aggression against Syria, the promotion of more barbaric terrorist groups of Islamic fundamentalism and inciting sectarian conflict in many countries of the region, as well as the military crackdown on popular uprisings in fair countries such as Bahrain (headquarters of the U.S. Naval Fleet V) and Yemen.

The PCP recalls the consequences of previous imperial wars, many of them triggered by invoking pretexts “humanitarian”. Hundreds of thousands dead, millions

refugees, countries destroyed, fragmented and reduced to chaos, dominated by armed gangs often connected to sordid trafficking of arms, drugs and people, are the current reality of  Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya or Kosovo.

(…)

The PCP cannot but underline the prominent role that social democracy has played in the active promotion of the most violent assaults of imperialism, confirmed,

once again, the positions of the “socialist” governments by statements of French responsible of PS regarding Syria.

The real reasons of endless imperialist military aggression have nothing to do with the legitimate aspirations of peoples to freedom, sovereignty, social progress and

economic development of their countries but residing in intensions to recolonize the planet and more immediately this region and theires crucial energy reserves as well as ensuring – through the successive destruction of sovereign states with a history of imperialist resistance domination in the region

The PCP requires the Portuguese Government a posture that not only move away from the current climbing and blackmail warmongers, but that strives, as required by the Portugue Constitution, the peaceful resolution of conflicts, intransigent defense of the sovereignty of

people and for the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and international law.

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The fact that the peace process has been long dead is well known and widely recognised. The Palestinian-Israeli dispute has always been about land. “One land for two peoples” is the only possible answer to the problem. For decades, the Israelis refused to acknowledge the existence of the Palestinian people. Theodore Herzl, the spiritual father of Zionism, sent two Austrian rabbis to the holy land in 1897 to explore it. They reported that “the bride is beautiful but she is married to another man”, meaning that there were people living there. Nevertheless, when the Jewish migration started in earnest in the 1920s, the official Jewish line was that Palestine was a land without people for a people without land. The present situation is that there is, in fact, very little land left for one of the two peoples and that too would disappear before long.

When the current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in the American Congress a few years ago that he was ready to accept the principle of a two-state solution, he was applauded in the western world as a great statesman who had made a huge concession for the cause of peace. He has his hand on the pulse of the American people and knows what to say when and where. He says he is ready to talk to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas any time anywhere without preconditions. This sounds very reasonable. However, his conduct ceaselessly imposes conditions which make it impossible for the Palestinians to agree to resume talks. The pace of settlement construction in the occupied West Bank has increased to the extent that it has already become impossible for a viable, secure and geographically contiguous Palestinian state to emerge. The Palestinians argue, reasonably, that they will not talk so long as Israel continues to create facts on the ground in the form of settlements. With great fanfare, Mr. Netanyahu decided to respect the decision of the court to dismantle an illegal outpost with about 30 families in the West Bank but compensated it by ordering the construction of 800 more settlement units.

Sara Roy, an eminent and widely respected scholar of the Palestinian issue with Harvard University, in a recent article in the Journal of Palestinian Studies, has written about the paradigm shifts in international discourse on this subject. For one, the world seems to have reconciled itself to the territorial and demographic fragmentation of Palestine. Secondly, no one talks any more about occupation, the root cause of the problem, declared to be illegal by the United Nations. She points out that settlements control 42 per cent of the West Bank. There are now more than 500,000 settlers in West Bank and east Jerusalem as compared to a little over 200,000 in 1967. This unilateralism of Israel continues unabated, making the two-state solution less and less feasible. The third paradigm shift is the ‘humanitarianisation’ of the problem. By laying stress on the inhuman living conditions of the Palestinian population, especially in the Gaza strip, the problem is reduced only to humanitarian considerations, conveniently ignoring the root cause which is occupation. The Palestinians are being ‘engineered into perpetual beggars’.

Enhanced status

Realising the hugely unequal power relations, and concluding that the Israeli lobby will prevent Democrats as well as Republicans from exercising real pressure on Israel, President Abbas devised a new strategy to inject external pressure, not to undercut negotiations but to enter negotiations from a more balanced position. He applied for an enhanced status for Palestine in the United Nations. His move succeeded in UNESCO but not in New York.

When the phenomenon referred to as Arab Spring broke out at the beginning of 2011, this writer, among others, had expected that the new regimes emerging in the Arab world would be more and more vocally supportive of the Palestinians. This has not happened. On the other hand, every successive ‘revolution’ in Arab countries has greatly strengthened Mr. Netanyahu’s position internally as well as internationally, and weakened domestic Israeli support for any kind of talks or negotiations with the Arabs.

Reacting to the Arab Spring, Mr. Netanyahu said last November that it was Islamic, anti-liberal, anti-secular and anti-democratic. He said history would judge the present leadership very negatively if it engaged in any kind of negotiations. As it happens, in all the countries affected by the new phenomenon — Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen — the Islamists have won the elections. The most consequential of them, the Brotherhood in Egypt, has had the elimination of Israel as a part of its ideology. True, Mohamed Morsi has made statesman-like pronouncements about the peace treaty with Israel; his Defence Minister called up his Israeli counterpart and assured him of Egypt’s continuing commitment to the treaty. The fact that Egypt needs American and western aid and tourists to repair its economy is probably not reassuring enough for Israel, given that the new President of Egypt is a former leader of Muslim Brotherhood. The attack by jihadists in August on an Egyptian military post near the border with Gaza, which caused the death of 16 Egyptian soldiers and who had managed to infiltrate into Israeli territory, even if only for a short while, has convinced the Israeli public that the time is not at all propitious for holding any talks. The events in Syria have further added support to Mr. Netanyahu’s anti-talks stance.

Yossi Beilin, an Israeli left-wing politician, a former minister and someone for whom this writer has high regard for his intellectual integrity, has suggested that the Palestinian Authority should be dissolved. His argument is that the PA has control only over ‘A’ area of the West Bank and even there, Israel has overriding security control. The PA’s writ does not run in the rest of the West Bank. It is widely accepted that according to Mr. Netanyahu, as and when the time comes — and that time is far into the future — the state of Palestine will have no more than 40 per cent of the West Bank. Mr. Beilin believes that it would be better for the Palestinians to make Israel legally responsible to pay salaries of the thousands of PA employees, etc. With the dissolution of PA, foreign funding will cease. The point, however, is that even a person like Mr. Beilin, who advocates the most generous terms of settlement of the problem, seems to have given up on the possibility of a two-state solution.

The Egyptian-brokered reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah has not amounted to anything in practice. However, Israel has categorically stated that there is no question of holding any talks with a government of which Hamas would form a part. The United States has also threatened to cut all aid if Hamas comes into the government. Mr. Abbas has hardly any room for flexibility.

The Quartet, comprising America, Russia, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the European Union, the self-appointed pilots of the peace process, has given up the pretence of attempting to restart the negotiations and to work towards the two-state solution.

President Abbas comes to India at a time when there is very little hope for his people to realise their dream and the inalienable right to have a distinct, sovereign, viable and contiguous international identity of their own. Mr. Abbas’s visit is principally to obtain India’s political support which, of course, he will receive in full measure. India will also renew its offer of economic and technical support for capacity building, etc. We have built the parliament building for the future Palestinian state. As an additional measure, India could indicate a willingness to ban the import of items produced in the settlements; this would be in keeping with international law.

Over the last decade, around the world, China has been buying up mountains and mines, agricultural land, and oil fields at an extraordinary rate. In 2007, a Chinese company bought the mineral rights to two billion tons of copper in a Peruvian mountain for U.S. $3 billion. This was relatively small change; in 2008 the same company spent $14 billion on a stake in Australia’s aluminum industry. Since 2005, China has engaged in nearly 500 direct foreign investments and large contracts, valued at U.S. $505 billion–roughly one billion U.S. dollars per week.

These investments ensure China an upper hand in future struggles over resources. Finite and rapidly depleting supplies of land, water, minerals, and fossil fuels cannot match rising demand, driven by a growing world population, rapidly increasing global wealth, and urbanization. This fundamental supply-demand imbalance will lead to higher commodity prices and an increased risk of resource-driven conflict. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, commodity prices increased 150 percent. And since 1990, at least twenty-four civil wars and violent conflicts have had their origins in commodities. Many more conflicts are likely in the coming decades.

Yet China seems to be alone in adopting a multilateral commodities strategy, relying on trade, investment, resource swaps, and financial transfers to gain resource control. In 2010, China pledged to lay $12 billion worth of railway lines in Argentina, helping to sweeten relations with that country and facilitate export of minerals. In 2009, China loaned Russian oil companies $25 billion in exchange for a twenty-year supply of oil, at 300 thousand barrels per day. These deals benefit both China and its resource-rich hosts

By contrast, many other national governments have adopted a unilateral approach to resource acquisition and control, using a mix of military force to gain access to resources abroad and taxation and export bans to prevent control of domestic resources. In April, Argentina nationalized a majority stake in the energy company YPF, formerly a major subsidiary of the Spanish company Respol, after the discovery of new major natural gas deposits off its coast. Heavy-handed policies to exert control over local resources and commodity prices are not limited to the developing world. In March, Australia introduced a 30 percent tax on iron and coal mining profits, in an effort to grab cash from a local resource boon. Such policies are ultimately inefficient, hamper global production, exacerbate shortages, and force commodity prices even higher.

The predilection of the United States and her allies for military incursions into resource-rich regions such as Iraq, for example, almost always disrupts production and forces commodity prices higher. Political uncertainty can add a risk premium of $10 or more to the price of a barrel of oil.

Despite the serious risks that come with possible global commodity shortages, no unified international body exists to address these challenges. In the absence of such an entity, China’s multilateral approach to the commodity problem is sensible. Ultimately, if the world doesn’t take larger steps to address the imbalance between resource supply and demand, we face higher prices, scarcity, and more resource conflict.

In Portuguese, and a translation (a google one, sorry) of this important article on Syria war and Syria resistance

For whatsoever greater the wickedness of the media campaign, this cannot overshadow the truth of the ongoing war in Syria. A war instigated, architected, financed and conducted from abroad, exacerbating the expression of the class struggle internationally.

Without the criminal action of U.S.,powers aligned with NATO (which pontificates in the colonial revival trio Erdogan, Hollande and Cameron fighting for a greater role and higher profit), Israel and the Gulf petrodollar dictatorships, the current terrorist war in Syria would not be possible.

This is the crucial element that overrides the other. So it isn’t odd the cloak of silence of the media about the character, driving forces and regional and international context of this war. We would not assist the bloody escalation, or the framework of “civil war” in Syria without the fresh trail of imperialist wars in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. In Afghanistan the war drags on. More than 2000 soldiers from the United States lost their life only there. But after the inevitable withdrawal of the bulk of NATO military presence, announced in 2014, the U.S. intends to continue using flammable focus of Afghan instability as blackmail directed to the borders of neighbouring states, including the autonomous province of Xinjiang from China.


As we know Beijing is a major concern already assumed by the US. The sinister retroactive gear of Al-Qaeda terrorism  (a culture of greenhouses CIA in the 80s), the barbaric attacks with unmanned devices operated daily in the territory of Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, etc.  constitute an organic soup of not only military’s own projection of U.S. imperialism, as the forces that destroy Libya yesterday and today is dumped into the reckoning caught in Syria.

All in the name of freedom and democracy. Here we see the modus operandi of promoting religious extremism and network of swarming sects of radical Islam, the fostering of fratricide ethnic-confessional divisions, as already seen in the recent occupation of Iraq.

This is the scenario of fragmentation and destabilization sponsored envisaged in Washington for the region called the Greater Middle East, where important interests intersect to control the world economy and its geopolitical. A vision that is nonetheless symptomatic of imperialist megalomania in the limbo of the world capitalist crisis.

The war “without quarter” against Damascus, the obsession with overthrowing the ‘regime’ of Bashar al-Assad does not forget for a minute the legacy of decades of post-colonial Syria, Arab resistance bastion of anti-imperialist solidarity with the Palestine cause, despite the vicissitudes of a nonlinear route.

Trampling and bury the flag of patriotism and dignity of Arabs, violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, is a vital task for the attackers. The sovereignty of Iran emerges as an ‘obstacle’ background (and one should remember the CIA coup that overthrew Mossadegh in 1952). But the ramp propagation of “conflict” Syrian goes further, pointing also to the multinational Russia (see the recent terrorist attacks in the Caucasus and Tatarstan).

Notwithstanding, the incendiary mission led by the U.S. has no hands free. The Syrian patriotic resistance is an example of courage and dignity deserving of wider solidarity; and the summit of the Non-Aligned freshly held in Tehran, despite the contradictory elements it contained, is an important sign of hope for the people.

here we can read an analysis of Portuguese Communist Party on the situation in Portugal (in Portuguese)

 Prediction: 2013 will be a year of serious global crisis. That crisis is predictable, and in fact has already begun. It will inescapably confront the next president of the United States. Yet this emerging crisis got not a mention at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. We’ll see if the Democrats do better.

The crisis originates in this summer’s extreme weather. Almost 80% of the continental United States experienced drought conditions. Russia and Australia experienced drought as well.

The drought has ruined key crops. The corn harvest is expected to drop to the lowest level since 1995. In just July, prices for corn and wheat jumped about 25% each, prices for soybeans about 17%.

These higher grain prices will flow through to higher food prices. For consumers in developed countries, higher food prices are a burden — but in almost all cases, a manageable burden.

Americans spend only about 10% of their after-tax incomes on food of all kinds, including restaurant meals and prepackaged foods. Surveys for Gallup find that the typical American family is spending one-third less on food today, adjusting for inflation, than in 1969.

But step outside the developed world, and the price of food suddenly becomes the single most important fact of human economic life. In poor countries, people typically spend half their incomes on food — and by “food,” they mean first and foremost bread. When grain prices spiked in 2007-2008, bread riotsshook 30 countries across the developing world, from Haiti to Bangladesh, according to the Financial Times.   A drought in Russia in 2010 forced suspension of Russian grain exports that year and set in motion the so-called Arab spring.

Since the days of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Egyptian government has provided subsidized bread to the population. A disk of round flat bread costs about a penny. In the later 2000s, however, the Mubarak government found it could not keep pace with surging grain costs. As Egypt’s population doubled from 20 million in 1950 to 40 million in 1980 and now more than 80 million, Egypt has gained first place as the world’s largest wheat importer. The price rises of 2007-2010 exceeded the Mubarak government’s resources. Cheap bread vanished from the stores. Discontent gathered. In the August 18 issue of the British magazine The Spectator, John R. Bradley, an Arabic-speaking journalist long resident in Egypt, described what happened next:

“The conversations of tiny groups of Cairo’s English-speaking elites, and their Western drinking companions, were a world apart from talk among the Egyptian masses. … The main hope of those who poured into Tahrir Square was shared by the revolutionaries in Tunisia: that sudden and radical change would miraculously mean affordable food.”

And if food prices surge again? China is especially vulnerable to food cost inflation. In just one month, July 2011, the cost of living jumped 6.5%. Inflation happily subsided over the course of 2012. Springtime hopes for a bumper U.S. grain crop in 2012 enabled the Chinese central bank to ease credit in the earlier part of the summer. Now the Chinese authorities will face some tough choices over what to do next.

Remember when ANC was a terrorist organization under US view, or PLO or Arafat or FARC (this one is a terrorist group yet)…

When the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attacked and killed 24 Turkish soldiers in October 2011, the violence made headlines around the world. But it also highlighted the very different approach the Turkish media takes when it comes to covering highly politicised stories.

The administration of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, is often cited as proof that an Islamic government can exist within a democratic framework. Yet, when it comes to freedom of the press, the Erdogan government has a lamentable reputation – and it is growing worse.

It is not just about article 301, the ambiguous and controversial law that outlaws criticism of “Turkishness”. Nor is the criticism limited to the number of Turkish journalists behind bars.

In Turkey, there is a tacit obligation that the media follow the government’s wish for the PKK to be referred to as ‘terrorists’. However, global media outlets are not so easily dictated to, and Reuters found itself in the firing line when it continued to refer to the PKK as ‘rebels’.

Instead of recognising that the world we lived in, with increasingly sophisticated communications, transportations and weapons systems necessitated sophisticated leadership that would bring the global family together, the then-leaders of the US and UK fabricated the grounds to behave like playground bullies and drive us further apart. They have driven us to the edge of a precipice where we now stand – with the spectre of Syria and Iran before us.

here in Portuguese
Just a day prior to the inauguration of the NAM summit, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his typical cynicism and slammed the attendance of high-profile representatives from more than 120 countries at the summit, saying it was “a stain on humanity.” The cause of Netanyahu’s desperate anger is however quite perceptible.

The 16th NAM Summit which was officially wrapped up in Tehran on Friday concluded a resolution including over 700 clauses. The final resolution which was read out by Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad expressed support for Iran’s nuclear energy program, rejected the US unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic, and called for greater efforts to champion the Palestinian cause and stop racial discrimination across the world. 

The NAM summit addressed a number of thorny issues which the West misrepresents such as Iran’s nuclear energy program or underrates such as the Palestinian issue and the unauthorized US drone attacks which have so far claimed the lives of many civilians in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen. 
(…)
In fact, Washington and Tel Aviv are playing in the hands of the devil in their efforts to divide nations and colonize their countries by creating ‘global enemies’ and ruthlessly mobilizing others against them.

In this regard, the NAM Summit can play a vital role in diverting the destructive role of the US government and other bullying powers in pushing ahead with their globalist agendas to a constructive role under the aegis of the NAM members. In countering the effects of a summit of such substantial significance, western media blacked out on truth and refrained from reporting the facts which in one way or another showed their hidden agenda. The media blackout in the West concerning the Summit in Tehran is well tantamount to the blackout of truth and faith, a morbid sign which clearly indicates why global efforts in achieving peace and harmony are eventually pushed into the abyss of failure. In order to shatter the stranglehold of media mafia, head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Ezzatollah Zarghami has suggested the Non-Aligned Movement set up an alternative media bloc. Such an initiative is indeed commendable and is to be considered an efficacious means to counterbalance the media blind bias.

what a peacemakers: a vivid image of our world.

Since 1967, Israel has practised a range of policies leading to the internal displacement of about 160,000 Palestinians within the occupied West Bank and Gaza. Of these actions, house demolitions are the most visible.

These are carried out by the Israeli army for a number of reasons, including “administrative” demolitions, where Palestinian homes have been built without Israeli-issued permits, as well as punitive demolitions –  where a family member is accused of being involved in militant activity.

The most devastating demolitions, however, are caused by large-scale military operations, such as those during the war on Gaza in 2008-09.

Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) argues that, seen in their totality since 1967, these home demolitions amount to an intentional “policy of displacement”.

Last year, ICAHD presented the United Nations with a report, charging that Israel had a deliberate policy of forcing Palestinians out of East Jerusalem, and that this might constitute a war crime.

The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, dismissed the report.

ICAHD said 2011 was the record year of displacement , with the destruction of some 622 Palestinian structures by Israeli authorities, of which 222 were family homes. This resulted in 1,094 people being displaced – almost double the number for 2010.