Archive for the ‘War’ Category
With a clear green light from the US today, Israel will not be backing down from its military assault on Gaza. With a dozen dead including two children, and many more injured, the attacks have attracted international condemnation, all except for those in the West who have taken to stressing the need for Israel to defend itself from crude home-made and almost completely symbolic rockets. So escalation on yesterday’s blitz should be expected.
In a clear indication that Obama’s re-election means more of the same war-mongering that characterised his first term, Russia Today has reported:
US Ambassador Susan Rice got behind Israel during the UN session, saying that there is no justification “for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel.”
The breathtaking hypocrisy of this statement, as bombs fall on Gaza and shatter the bodies of Palestinians, will not go unnoticed by the rest of the world. The Russia Today report adds:
Netanyahu’s office said that he “deeply appreciated” the president’s support.
I bet he has. It’s nice being able to call on the leader of the most powerful military force in the world just after you’ve committed indiscriminate murder.
In London, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign have called for a demonstration tonight outside the Israeli embassy. Details here.
Fresh US sanctions against Iran, targeting not only the country’s oil industry but also foreign banks have sparked a furore. China warned Washington of a worsening in Sino-American relations, while Iran said the penalties amounted to “military war.”
The new set of sanctions is aimed at forcing Iran to end its supposed development of nuclear arms. The financial penalties will target the Chinese Kunlun bank and the Iraqi Elaf Islamic bank as they have participated in million dollar transactions with Iranian banks and are as such subject to sanctions.
These banks will be cut off from the US economy in an effort to discourage them from doing business with Iran.
“Today’s action makes it clear that we will expose any financial institution, no matter where they are located, that allows the increasingly desperate Iranian regime to retain access to the international financial system,” President Obama said in a statement.
Additionally, Obama ratcheted up the sanctions on Iran’s energy and petrochemical industries, approving sanctions against any entity that tries to purchase Iranian oil from the National Iranian Oil Co. and the Naftiran Intertrade Co.
Furthermore, Congress has agreed on a final sanctions package that will crack down on institutions that ship or insure Iranian cargo. The Senate is expected to vote on the sanctions before the end of the week.
The new penalties sparked a sharp reaction from China who said the US sanctioning of their banks would lead to a worsening of bilateral corporation between the two countries.
Ahmed Ben Bella, the leader of the Algerian struggle of independence against France, died today aged 95.
The war for freedom from the French colonial power was amongst the most brutal of its kind. Lasting nearly a decade from 1954 to 1962, it was characterised by the use of ruthless techniques by the French occupiers, including the widespread use of terrorism and torture against the civilian population, massacres and the suppression of political and human rights.
The battle of Algiers of 1956 – 57, in which the National Liberation Front waged both paramilitary struggle in the form of guerilla warfare and economic struggle in the form of a mass general strike, was mercilessly smashed by French general Jacques Massu. The events of the battle were later immortalised in the superb film The Battle of Algiers.
It is easy in retrospect to see the war as part of the wave of successful decolonisation struggles throughout the world in the three decades following the conclusion of World War II, but the victory of the Algerians was never a foregone conclusion during the war. The ferocity and barbarism of the French campaign gives the lie utterly to any pretensions of imperialism as a ‘civilising mission’, as some still persist in claiming. Despite being incarcerated by the French for much of the war, Ahmed Ben Bella’s contribution to the struggle for Algerian freedom was considerable.
From a Respect Foundation public meeting yesterday at SOAS in London.
An interesting discussion between Mehdi Hasan and Wadah Khanfar on the Arab revolution and its prospects.