Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is touchstone on which the real understanding and recognition of Marxism is to be tested. V.I.Lenin
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No 1284 January 5th 2006 25p Weekly
Discussion confirmed Sat 14 Jan. Western venue. Pls bring rcpts Zionist confusion, as genocidal war-criminal Sharon reaches a deserved end, reflects the setbacks and blows inflicted on all imperialism by growing world anti-imperialist resistance, as do new corruption and human rights scandals in America. Despite disastrous failure and growing defeat in Iraq, deepening capitalist crisis and the unrepayable debt burdens of Empire leader the USA will relentlessly pressure imperialism into even more desperate moves. Iran, Sudan and other demonisable states are being kept on the boil for further worse yet warmongering. But the monstrosities of imperialism are rapidly educating the world working class. Leninism is now vital.
Imperialism is increasingly in paralysis and dismay over its defeats in the Middle East.
Bush’s announcement that America is to pull out of Iraq without even pretending that it has “transformed the conditions of life from tyranny to freedom and prosperity” - giving up on the impossibly expensive “reconstruction” which was supposed to rebuild the country as another loyal western stooge regime - is a telling admission of how badly setback imperialism’s neo-colonialist plans have been by the nationalist resistance and insurgency it has met, and by the growing difficulties of imperialism’s economic crisis.
It will raise ten thousand further questions in the world’s masses, already in a ferment of hatred and hostility to the entire fraud of the “free world” about the point and purpose any more of the “parliamentary democratic system” and the supposed “only way forwards for mankind” — “victory” over communism.
And it will further expose the universal fake-”left” failure to give any kind of perspective to the growing revolutionary content of world developments, the Trotskyites universally capitulating to the ruling class hysteria labelling all worldwide resistance and struggle as “terrorism” and lining themselves up with imperialism to “condemn” violence everywhere, and the revisionists muddying the water with tepid uncritical episodic support at best for various anti-imperialist nationalists, like Hugo Chavez, or the hodge-podge of ideologies making up the early confused stages of anti-imperialism in Iraq, and producing not a word about revolutionary ferment brewing throughout the planet or any sense of movement and crisis at all, potentially fatally misleading the working class.
Marxist understanding is that the disastrous floundering in Iraq and Afghanistan, neither succeeding in “shock and awe” intimidation of anti-imperialist resistance (and the onlooking world) nor constructing some illusion of “stability and future prosperity” to sustain the “democracy” fraud a bit longer and fool the petty bourgeoisie, is more and more clearly a devastating failure for imperialism with massive historic implications.
Paralysed political infighting, constitutional doubts and dismay, and running corruption scandals in Washington (and elsewhere in Blairism, Zionism etc) reveal a profound turning point in all world history being reached as the capitalist system proves itself out of time.
If there is an “end to history” as smug imperialist circles started crowing in the immediate aftermath of the 1989 Moscow revisionist capitulation to western propaganda, and Gorbachev’s deluded liquidation of the enormous achievements of the USSR workers state which followed, then it is that to the 800 year epoch of capitalism and with it the entire 7000 year development of class war societies from early slave-built civilisation to the modern day wage exploitation,
Mankind’s future progress can only be through building total cooperation and planned national and international development of economy and society, stripping away all the vicious and periodically destructive crises that inevitably plague capitalism — in other words communism.
And the huge transformation of the world into that future is well underway, however long the confused turmoil of violent upheaval and developing revolutionary consciousness takes to mature (including sorting out the errors and mistakes of the first heroic century of brilliant but flawed socialist construction — some still extant and largely inspirational in China, Cuba, Vietnam, North Korea etc).
The embryonic world revolution, erupting in a variety of forms at present, from left populism in South America to Maoism in Nepal, and the widespread militancy currently tied to Islamic ideology (though not caused by it and certainly due at sometime to move well beyond it) will increasingly demand and turn to, and develop, the broadest Marxist understanding of the movement and development of history.
Nothing else can explain these profound historical revolutionary events or provide the crucial clarity of leadership that is ultimately needed to transform human world society.
One first urgent aspect of that understanding is to grasp that the demoralisation for imperialism’s ruling circles, compounded by a world wide rise in hostility and anti-imperialist struggle, will not stop the plunge towards World War Three which is the immediately dominant underlying factor in all world events.
Just the opposite. The Iraqi debacle for the Empire can only further increase the desperation of a crisis ridden system. No ruling class has ever been able to accept its own demise and give way to the obviously more advanced and rising class and capitalism is the most powerful and vicious of all.
Every experience from the past suggests even wilder warmongering forays against “rogue” states are inevitable, as immediately escalated “WMD” (nuclear) scare stories against potential war victim Iran confirmed just 24 hours later. And Sudan is another potential blitzkrieg victim is once again being given the “WMD” scare story treatment by mysterious “intelligence sources” (just as Iraq was).
But how far imperialism, also increasingly paralysed, can get is an open question. The nascent revolutionary turmoil across the planet adds to the chaotic difficulties facing imperialism in getting its warmongering underway. Defeat is defeat.
Every effort to blitz out and then create a pro-imperialist regimes to replace the once-useful, but now maverick, CIA-sponsored Saddam, initially by directly installing other former western stooges to run an “interim” government and, when that failed, by a retreat into merely into bribing and seducing hopefully compliant Iraqi factions via appeals to their special interests - feeding past historical enmities and tapping opportunist trends among the confused mix of Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish nationalist forces within the country - has fallen flat on its face.
Escalating costs in military morale as the body count rises inexorably, in devastating political and social impact in America and around the world, and in the sheer financial expense of maintaining the security and defensive effort to do anything at all in the country has hammered the occupation.
Things have become so bad on the ground that the US soldiery, itself becoming increasingly disgruntled and rebellious, can no longer be trusted to engage in direct patrolling and fighting. Imprecise airstrikes and bombing are being used to attack continued “insurgency”, with indiscriminate civilian “collateral damage” further inflaming the situation as latest capitalist press reports show:
Between six and 14 members of an Iraqi family were reported dead yesterday after US warplanes obliterated a house in the northern oil town of Baiji. Enraged local officials described the attack as unjustified and said it had killed an innocent family, including one member who worked for the Iraqi police.
US forces have increasingly been using air power rather than ground troops to attack suspected insurgents. During the first quarter of last year, such airstrikes averaged five a month but had risen to 50 a month by the final quarter.
“I absolutely confirm there were no terrorists in this house,” police chief Colonel Sufyan Mustafa told Reuters. “Even if there had been, why didn’t they surround the area and detain the terrorists instead?” People at the scene of the blast said seven bodies were recovered from the rubble, including at least two children.
A police official in the regional capital, Tikrit, said six people were killed and three wounded, although an official at the Joint Coordination Centre, which liaises between US and Iraqi forces in Salahaddin province, said 14 died. Officials named the householder as Ghadhban Nahi Hussein.
A statement from the US 101st Airborne Division said troops monitoring images from an unmanned reconnaissance drone on Monday night had observed three men “as they dug a hole following the common pattern of roadside bomb emplacement”.
Two suicide bombers killed at least 80 people in Iraq today as extreme violence continued for a second consecutive day.
The first bomber detonated his explosives near one of Iraq’s holiest Shia sites in central Kerbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad. The blast near the Imam Hussein shrine killed 49 people and injured 52, Kerbala police spokesman Razaq al-Taie said.
Later, a second suicide bomber blew himself up amid a group of police and army recruits in the western city of Ramadi, killing at least 31 and wounding 40. Ramadi, the capital of the semi-lawless Anbar province, is a base for the Sunni Arab-led insurgency. American and Iraqi troops have launched a series of offensives in Anbar over the past few months aimed at securing western Iraq against the insurgents.
Today’s bombings follow a series of attacks yesterday, when at least 53 people were killed around Iraq, including 32 by a suicide bomber at a Shia funeral in Muqdadiya, a town around 60 miles north of Baghdad.
The showpiece Iraqi “election” has cost a fortune, done nothing to calm things and adds new problems in building up other factions like the Shias with their own potentially anti-imperialist (pro-Iranian eg) agendas.
Even if the laughable “reconstruction and prosperity” plans had not anyway collapsed into a completely cynical carpetbaggers dream, with the major western corporations greedily plundering the billions in supposed “help for the long-oppressed ordinary Iraqi people” (mainly funded by syphoned-off revenues from the country’s own oil and other production anyway and not the lyingly suggested “aid” from America and Britain etc) it would have made no difference.
The occasional public relations talked-up success in re-establishing electricity or water here and there, had only underlined the remaining infrastructure chaos, destruction and misery which 13 years of ruthless bullying economic sanctions - killing half a million children - had already begun before the war destruction (aided, some capitalist press stories now suggest, by the invasion forces deliberately encouraging looting and plundering in the days after the initial occupation, in order to put the “re-builders” into a better light for any little they did later).
As the capitalist press reports, things are no better in Afghanistan, despite the western promises (Blair) that its people would “never be deserted”:
Business was booming, said Hassan Saidzada, the manager of a watch shop in Kabul’s glitziest shopping centre. Cabinet ministers, jihadi commanders and newly made tycoons were flocking in again, he boasted.
Business was awful, said Malik Shah, a 26-year-old labourer kicking his heels on the freezing pavement outside. He had been standing there since dawn, he said, hoping for a day’s work that might earn him $4. But so far, nothing had come up.
Another 40 men waited beside him, wrapped in woollen shawls against the penetrating chill. None had been inside the watch shop or Kabul City Centre, the plaza that boasted three floors of heated shops, a cappuccino bar and Afghanistan’s first escalator. “They don’t allow people dressed like us,” said Shah, pointing to his ragged pants.
An angry murmur ran through the crowd. “We’re not looking for anything free, just a chance to work,” said Shah. “Isn’t that what we were promised?”
The reopening of the Afghan parliament on December 19 was hailed as another step towards stability after a quarter century of chaos. But four years after the fall of the Taliban, many Afghans are growing impatient with a democracy that has produced many elections but failed to significantly improve their living standards. And their frustrations are deepened by the emergence of a small but opulent elite of warlords, corrupt officials and drug runners.
The shortcomings of western-led reconstruction - estimated to have cost $8bn so far - are painfully apparent as another icy winter closes in on Kabul. The city is straining under the dual pressures of a burgeoning population and a crumbling infrastructure. Thousands of refugees have returned from Pakistan and Iran but few have found work. Open sewers run through the streets. Most residents have no more than five hours’ power every second night, at most. As temperatures plunge below zero poor families huddle around wood stoves and make their way to bed by candlelight. Unsurprisingly, child mortality rates are among the world’s highest.
Ismail Khan, a former warlord and now energy minister, said Kabul was a victim of its own circumstances. Water levels in the nearby hydroelectric dams remained stubbornly low, he said, standing before a wall of multicoloured power charts. Progress was being made. The city grid was being repaired and deals signed to import 600 megawatts of electricity from neighbouring Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. But building a network of giant pylons to carry power over the Hindu Kush mountains was slow and expensive, he said. Kabul would not have full power before 2008.
The emergence of a small but lavishly wealthy upper class is straining those expectations. On the rutted streets luxury jeeps roar past donkey carts and bicycles. Diesel generators allow the rich to leapfrog the power cuts. A five-star hotel, the Serena, has just opened where the price of a room starts at $275 a night. And the City Centre, which is the latest shopping plaza, offers three floors of polished chrome and Japanese electronics in a city better know for small, grimy shops and cheap Iranian imports...
The most controversial pocket of new money is in Sherpur, a neighbourhood being built near the city centre. Originally a defence ministry barracks, the Sherpur plots were parcelled out to government favourites at a knockdown price two years ago. Now rows of giant, gaudy mansions are springing up along the rutted streets. With towering staircases, chiselled balconies and green-mirrored windows, many resemble giant wedding cakes.
There is widespread cynicism about the wealth behind Sherpur. “The owners are the ones who killed our people and drank our blood,” said Hussain, a construction worker who recently returned from exile in Iran. “But at least it is providing us with work.”
Heroin is fuelling much of the new wealth. According to the latest report of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, opium production and smuggling accounted for $2.7bn, one-third of the national economy, this year. There is also a popular perception that diverted international aid has lined the pockets of the wealthy.
...The only way some Afghans see reconstruction money is by begging it directly into their hands. Every day Haroun, a 12-year-old with an impish grin and impeccable manners, sells chewing gum in the traffic outside the US military compound in Kabul.
Every evening the children pool their takings and return to their mud-walled home in a rundown neighbourhood of petty crime and open sewers. The main room is heated with a small stove that runs off dried animal turds. The only electrical appliance is a lightbulb. “Of course I don’t want to send them to the streets, especially if they miss school,” said their mother, Gul Shah, 35. “But otherwise we will not have enough to eat.”
Kabul had improved a lot since the Taliban, she said, but only in the city centre. “So many changes,” she mused, preparing for another cold evening. “But none of them have reached here.”
Nor much outside Kabul either where the main western activity continues to be concentration camp prisons, torture and the indiscriminate bombing that marks all the imperialist interventions.
In both countries this bludgeoning “shock and awe” blitzkrieging, torture and bloody “arse-kicking” has set the insurgency hornets buzzing like never before – and uniting the Iraqis in one crucial respect at least – their hatred of the American Empire and its tyrannical occupation.
So now far from helping re-establish the network of imperialist control over the Middle East and its crucially important natural resources and labour power, imperialism faces endless resistance, teaching lessons not only to all Iraqis but tens of millions of others equally oppressed and tyrannised all around the Middle East, all cheering on every blow and setback for the US (and its sidekick Blairite UK) - and beyond that uniting and inspiring the hatred of hundreds of millions of the Third World who have suffered generations of poverty, exploitation and oppression.
More than that, every bitter imperialist rival from Tokyo to Berlin will be secretly rubbing its hands in glee at the humiliation and exposed incompetence of the American Empire’s plans to impose “full spectrum dominance” on a cowering planet - the most significant of all the consequences of failure and defeat for American plans, and the world leadership and domination it wants to maintain not only over the working class everywhere but over every other eventually challenging imperialist power.
For the moment the general imperialist fears of steadily growing proletarian hostility to the degeneracy of imperialism keeps the rival imperialism’s knuckling under to the US’s police role on the planet and its insanely labelled “war on terror” – a permanent blitzkrieg counter-revolution.
But as Marxism understands, the growing pressures of potential slump over-production collapse will eventually force the inter-imperialist hostilities into the open, erupting once more in world war.
Understood with this vital perspective, the Iraq blitzing was far more than simply a “war for oil” or “colonial” domination which is the best even the limited and short-sighted revisionist fake-”left” manages to analyse (those that have not already opportunistically and reactionarily lined themselves up with imperialism to denounce “islamofascism” or “condemn terrorism”).
Iraq was intended to be a worldwide demonstration of ruthlessness and fascist destructive power, to intimidate all challenges.
Underlying “overproduction” problems are relentlessly accumulating throughout the “globalised” capitalist production system threatening to break into the open at any second, escalating with unpredictable rapidity, the already festering trade war and currency battles into a throat tearing trade war battle to the finish between the major imperialist powers as markets slump. It can only go all the way open war just as twice before in the twentieth century and earlier in 1870 etc
The already supreme USA intends to maintain its top dog position by getting in first to intimidate and bully all potential rivals from even thinkingabout mounting the challenge, as Bush has repeatedly made explicit in threatening to take out ANY power which comes close to developing the scale of weaponry that could confront America’s overwhelming firepower.
But it has been going disastrously wrong.
Imperialist capitalism is losing its grip. Always piratical, tyrannical, exploitative and bullying, the capitalist system long ago began running into the historical buffers, no longer able to stimulate and develop the scientific, technological and social progress that once gave it cultural, social and economic justification, dragging humankind forwards from the agricultural doldrums of the ossified feudal epoch into the high production of industrialisation.
The driving energy of the profit motive has become the destructive corrosion of monopoly domination and ruthless exploitation. The routine bubbles and collapses of even the early stages of capitalist competition, already regularly devastating the lives of tens of thousands of workers in cyclic depressions of unemployment, factory closures, despair and want, have become the massive international slump nightmares that tear entire countries to shreds in bankruptcy, currency collapse and poverty at best, and waste cities, whole countries and millions of lives in huge international wars.
The supposed magic of the “free market” and its much-lauded capacity to take mankind in the right direction producing economic and therefore social and cultural progress for all eventually was always a giant confidence trick on the vast majority of humankind, obliged to live in grotesque inequality and the ignorance, humiliation and fearful daily uncertainty of wage-slavery.
But it has become a threat to the entire planet as the intractable contradictions of the profit system (analysed brilliantly by Marx, Lenin and other Marxists - see quotes on page 6) return in ever wilder and huge oscillations, plunging billions into starvation, environmental destruction,
The massive over-expansion of dollar credit and the now endless growth of the US deficit - paying ever expanding amounts of ever more worthless paper and electronic IOUs to the rest of the world which technically now owns large portions of America’s assets - has allowed the increasingly parasitical USA to continue its insatiable and unsustainable consumption of the lion’s share of the world’s goods and resources.
It cannot go on. Sooner or later the creditors will come knocking on the door for the real value they have provided, from the major imperialist powers like Japan and Germany to the ranks of newer powers from Brazil to India and, uniquely China, which under a still continuing workers state organisation has become a major challenger economically in world capitalist production.
For the moment they are held back by the even greater fears of tipping the entire unstable entire capitalist trading system over the edge - or in China’s case because it makes sense to benefit from the chance of stunningly rapid growth and building of relative strength in an increasingly dangerous world.
But equally they are held back by the enormous firepower of the American Empire,
The only survival strategy that Washington now sees is to make clear that there will be no proper reckoning up and settling of debts at all, and that anyone who demands proper restitution from their mountains of paper money can expect a taste of the fascist barbarity that is being rapidly re-established as the norm for capitalist existence.
The basic “social contract rules” which notionally guide capitalist trading are being torn up in other words and brute force substituted to sort things out; warmongering threats abroad and imposition of dictatorship at home via the suspension of all pretences about legal rights, democracy and law.
But the world’s masses are no longer the ignorant factory fodder of the past either; despite the ruthless exploitation they are subjected to. Capitalism must simultaneously train and educate the whole planet for its own production purposes producing an ever more street wise and sophisticated worldwide proletariat who more and more ask why they should be willing to tolerate the monstrous tyranny that is imposed on them.
Their hatred of the Empire’s domination grows more palpable by the day.
The tide of militancy that has grown throughout the world, expressed in numerous forms of suicide attacks, anarchic destruction, kidnapping and the like, and describing itself for the time being through variations of puritanical fervour, petty nationalism and religious fanaticism, may be often clumsy and even counter-productive in its tactics, but has even so taken a massive toll from imperialism and its confidence.
No amount of Bush and Blair’s censorship and repression, torture and “rendition” — always the signal of weakness as the Nazi regime was in the slump-crisis years of the 1930s — will stop its relentless growth.
Exactly the opposite — every new attack on “human rights” simply widens the constituency of burning hatred for the ruling order not only in the Third World but into the heart of the working class in even the most “advanced” countries, already reeling as their supposed reformist gains and “steps forward” are torn up too (pension provision, secure jobs, affordable housing, health services and so on, all now under threat or already being dismantled).
And the anti-imperialist movement will rapidly mature. The devastating impact of the now decades of heroic struggle against the foul and fascist occupation of Palestine, the core of Arabic proletarian resistance to the genocidal imposition of imperialist domination within the resource rich Middle East, has not only shattered the fanatical aggressive confidence of the Jewish-Zionist colonisers and their cruel and endlessly expansionist theft of an entire country but has driven increasingly rapid political growth of the resistance.
The majority of Palestinians are turning away from the endlessly shat-on class collaboration of the Arafatite PLO, and its pointless delusions in the unachievable and repressive “two state-solution” (still sponsored by the anti-revolutionary confusion, mindlessness and dishonesty of Stalinist revision and a host of other fake-”lefts”) towards the militancy of groups like Hamas.
Despite doubts by some in the religious ideology of these groups, the fighting spirit of the militants, is attracting ever greater support.
And they are giving every sign of being driven by this growing support and the intensifying contradictions of the crisis in the Middle East, and generally of imperialism, into a deepening of their own political grasp, now using all opportunities to build more coherent leadership, including the election processes forced out of the Zionists alongside their other methods of struggle, despite the most grotesque interference and sabotage such as the monstrously hypocritical “democratic” Israeli blocking of campaigning in occupied Jerusalem (held illegally even by the craven compromising “juridical” standards of the international class collaborating United Nations bureaucracy).
Their struggle has already driven the Zionists into bitterly conceded retreat in pulling out of the Gaza strip, still little better than a slave-labour concentration camp for the desperate Palestinians, and though widely understood to be a cynical cover for the ongoing further Zionist annexations of Jerusalem and the West Bank, still enough to send shockwaves through the murderous Zionist conspiracy, as reflected in the bizarre breakaway from reactionary Likud by arch-massacring war criminal Ariel Sharon ( author of the Chabra and Shatila camp bloodbaths). The deep running upheavals and infighting now caused among the Zionists by his imminent death only emphasise the point.
Sharon has been responding to the slightly less neo-con “diplomacy” wing of American pressure to hold back on the very most provocative genocidal moves by the most fanatical wing of Zionism because of the deepening US concern at the enormous widening impact — and therefore revolutionary implications — across the planet of the endless Jewish repression atrocities against the Arabic population.
The hatred stirred by the specific Zionist knife in the heart of the Middle East is merging increasingly powerfully into the generalised hatred of the entire imperialist system, most obviously in Iran where the Ayatollahocracy is being driven to more and more “outrageous” statements on Zionism by the sheer pressure of the masses underneath as they respond to the strengthening undercurrent of the world capitalist crisis.
The parachuted-in mullahs who headed off the huge spontaneous anti-Shah anti-imperialist rebellion in 1979 (which would have tipped rapidly into all out communism if the Tudeh communist leadership had not been so thoroughly sluggish through years of Stalinist revisionist misleadership and retreat from revolutionary perspectives, missing the boat completely) have always walked a tightrope between anti-communist feudal backwardness, just keeping capitalism in place, and the necessity to respond to ever growing mass understanding and militancy with ever more strident demagogy, even to the extent of ten years of devastating war against the imperialist provoked (and still then compliant) stooge Saddam Hussein.
But the latest eruptions — despite the obvious nonsense of “denying” the holocaust as such, tread closer to a revolutionary line than ever before and in spirit at least capture exactly what the entire fake-”left” still capitulate from with their endless “two-state” solution nonsense for Palestine — that there is no stable future for the Zionist overlordship of Palestine, which can never, and never had any intention of, compromise with the Palestinian nation except as a way of keeping it endlessly locked down in slavery, jackboot on the throat as yet another of the endless examples of Zionist barbarity demonstrates in the capitalist press:
Visitors to the Abu Aishe family in the heart of the biblical and bitterly-disputed city of Hebron either require an army escort to the front of the steel mesh cage protecting the three-storey home or risk assault by a barrage of stones, rotting food and shouts of “Death to Arabs” from the neighbours.
Three generations of the Abu Aishe family are the last Arabs living in their street, defiantly staying on in the face of what international monitors have described as the “cleansing” of parts of Hebron by messianic Jews, with the complicity of the Israeli army, that has driven thousands of people from their homes and businesses. Over recent years, parts of Hebron were all but emptied of Palestinians as their shops were sealed and the streets closed off.
“The neighbours all left,” said Reem Abu Aishe, a mother of six children, who lives in the midst of the small but growing settler enclave of Tel Rumeida which some Jews claim as the original city of Abraham and therefore the world’s oldest Jewish settlement.
“They couldn’t stand the threats and the constant harassment. Their children were attacked, their windows were smashed. Sometimes the Jews even fired bullets into their houses. So they left and the Jews took their houses,” she said. “The settlers don’t want any Arabs in the area. They think it is their neighbourhood. We don’t dare leave the house empty. Someone always has to stay. There is a big risk that any time the settlers see we have left the house they will break into it. One time they came in the back door.”
Palestinian and Israeli communities live closer in Hebron - sometimes in the same street - than anywhere in the occupied territories outside Jerusalem. About 500 Jews live in the heart of the city among 130,000 Palestinians. A short walk away is the settlement of Kiryat Arba, home to another 6,000 Israelis and the crucible of support for the Kach organisation, which is banned in Israel as a terrorist group.
The relationship has always been uneasy. The settlers arrived after the 1967 Israeli occupation of the city, proclaiming the revival of a Jewish presence driven out by the Arab massacre of 66 Jews in 1929. For the Palestinians, there is the more recent memory of the slaughter of 29 Muslims at prayer in Hebron by an ultra-nationalist Jewish doctor, Baruch Goldstein in 1994.
The city was divided in 1997 when the Palestinians took over administration of 80% of Hebron while the Israeli military retained authority in the central market and old city. But the Israeli area was still home to four times as many Palestinians as Jews, regarded as interlopers by many settlers who set about pushing the Palestinians from their businesses and homes, often with the assistance of the military and approval of Israeli officials.
In recent years, more than half of the 2,500 Palestinians who lived in Hebron’s old city have been driven out and many hundreds more have been forced out on the edge of the settlements. Palestinians are now barred from the main commercial road, Shuhada street, where shops are boarded up. Elsewhere they are permitted only to walk and not drive. The UN has counted 101 military roadblocks and checkpoints controlling the movement of Palestinians in central Hebron.
...last year Jan Kristensen, a former lieutenant colonel in the Norwegian army who headed the European monitoring team in Hebron, said it had more to do with a strategy by the army and settlers to drive Palestinians out of the old city.
“More and more people are leaving the area and it is effectively being emptied. The settlers’ activities, which are aimed at causing the Palestinians to leave, and the army’s activities, which impose severe restrictions, create an irreversible reality,” he told Haaretz newspaper. “The settlers go out almost every night and attack those who live near them. They break windows, cause damage and effectively force the Palestinians to leave the area. In a sense, cleansing is being carried out.”
In Tel Rumeida, the Abu Aishes’s immediate neighbours all left in fear. A carpet of broken glass from bottles thrown at the Abu Aishe home leads up to the door. On the other side of the street live settler families. When a new block opened earlier this year, the army locked the Abu Aishe family, including the 71-year-old grandfather, into one room for the entire day on the grounds they were a “terrorist risk”.
“My grandfather refuses to leave,” said Raja, the 16-year-old daughter. “He said he would rather die in the house that has been his life than leave.”
But staying is not easy. Raja runs a gauntlet of abuse and violence on her way to Qurtuba girls school. ”They throw stones, water and old food at us. Sometimes the soldiers try and protect us but they are not always there.”
Raja said she and her brothers had all been injured, including four-year-old Walid, whose arm was fractured.
Qurtuba school has become a rallying point for the settlers who sometimes block the entrance and have ripped off doors. A woman standing outside tells mothers bringing their children to the school: “Go to Auschwitz and take all the Arabs with you.” Someone hung a sign outside: “Gas the Arabs.”
If new president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not articulate the entirely correct sentiment that the only future for the Zionist entity as such is to be thrust into the sea, there is no telling how rapidly a much deeper revolutionary grasp would develop in the millions of Iran,
Small wonder that imperialism is keeping the CIA fed propaganda on the boil against Iran as one of the key “rogue state” targets for the next stage in its unstoppable plunge to war, though plenty of others are being demonised as well as shown by the latest round of mysterious stories from “intelligence sources” and “diplomats” larded with weasel comments about “failed states” (read -cooperating too much with the Chinese):
International investigators and western intelligence have for the first time named Sudan as a major conduit for sophisticated engineering equipment that could be used in nuclear weapons programmes.
Hundreds of millions of pounds of equipment was imported into the African country over a three-year period before the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington in 2001 and has since disappeared, according to Guardian sources.
Western governments, UN detectives and international analysts trying to stem the illicit trade in weapons of mass destruction technology are alarmed by the black market trade.
A European intelligence assessment obtained by the Guardian says Sudan has been using front companies and third countries to import machine tools, gauges and hi-tech processing equipment from western Europe for its military industries in recent years.
But it says that Sudan is also being used as a conduit, as much of the equipment is too sophisticated for use in the country itself.
“The suspicion arises that at least some of the machinery was not destined for or not only destined for Sudan,” the assessment says. “Among the equipment purchased by Sudan there are dual-use goods whose use in Sudan appears implausible because of their high technological standard.”
Western analysts and intelligence agencies suspect the equipment has been or is being traded by the nuclear proliferation racket headed by the Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, who admitted nuclear trading two years ago and is under house arrest in Islamabad.
Khan is known to have visited Sudan at least once between 1998 and 2002, and the suspicion is he may have used the country as a warehouse for the hi-tech engineering equipment he was selling to Libya, Iran and North Korea for the assembly of centrifuges for enriching uranium, the most common way of building a nuclear bomb.
Sudan has been ravaged by internal conflicts for decades, and has until recently been governed by an Islamist regime.
Analysts point out that a “failing state” such as Sudan is an ideal candidate for the illicit trading.
David Albright, who is investigating the various players in the Khan network and tracks nuclear proliferation for the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, said about £20m worth of dual-use engineering equipment was imported by Sudan between 1999 and 2001.
Investigators say the machinery has not been found in Sudan. Nor has it been found in Libya, since Tripoli gave up its secret nuclear bomb project in December 2003. Given Osama bin Laden’s long relationship with Sudan, where he lived before moving to Afghanistan, there had been suspicions of al-Qaida involvement. But the goods have not been found in Afghanistan either.
“A huge amount of dual-use equipment was bought by Sudan and people don’t know where it went to,” Mr Albright said. “It’s a big mystery. The equipment has not been found anywhere.”
While the Khan operation is a main suspect, Iran is also suspected of being behind the Sudanese dealings.
“There is the Khan network and then there is a much bigger network in this, and that is the Iranian network,” the investigator said.
Yesterday, the Guardian reported that the same European intelligence assessment - which draws on material gathered by British, French, German and Belgian agencies - concluded that the Iranian government had been successfully scouring Europe for the sophisticated equipment needed to build a nuclear bomb.
...The likelihood that the machinery was for Sudan is slim, say experts and investigators.
Yeah, right, and Iraq had WMD, and an aspirin factory in Sudan was for “chemical warfare” and had to be cruise missiled...
Why should Iran be arrogantly denied nuclear defence (especially when not a word is ever said about the Zionist nuclear arsenal — deliberately, illegally and secretly fed to them by western imperialism in the teeth of United Nation sanctions)?
The masses of the planet need every ounce of strength they can get to contain the now completely degenerate imperialist system.
Saddam already discovered what happens to those who genuinely haven’t got WMB — instant victimhood.
Capitalism is looking for targets to escalate its warmongering - and in its desperation even nuclear strike (only ever used before by American imperialism — to intimidate the Soviet Union in two unnecessary civilian massacres on Japan) is not ruled out.
But the revolutionary tide is rising fast.
The greatest missing element is revolutionary theory and understanding, blocked out and suppressed by decades of Trotskyist anti-communist “left” posturing and soft-headed revisionist opportunist retreat, still lyingly hidden and undiscusssed by the latest “oh-so-proletarian” parties.
Open honest revolutionary polemic is vital. Build Leninist understanding.