Simon Assaf

Middle East spins deeper into crisis

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Foreign intervention is pushing the Middle East into a series of wars with no end in sight.

The war in Syria and Iraq is threatening to spill into a war between the Saudis and Iran, Turkey is preparing to crush the restive Kurdish regions, while the prospect of a defeat for ISIS threatens a deeper and bloodier struggle over its old strongholds.

A complex mess of wars without end

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Donald Trump’s “America First” is fanning trade wars across the Atlantic and Pacific, a confrontation with China over North Korea, and hot wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The complex conflicts pitting global and regional powers against each other mark a military fault line that has terrifying consequences.

Welcome to the new age of the neo-cons

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Will Trump return to the go-it-alone imperialism of the Bush years, asks Simon Assaf

The crisis for US and Western imperialism can only intensify with the advent of a Trump presidency. The go-it-alone policy Trump advocates, which was pioneered by George W Bush’s “new American century”, failed bitterly in Iraq. According to one commentator the coterie who will be running the new US foreign policy will make Bush’s neo-cons seem like “a bunch of old history professors”.

Letter from Beirut

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Unprecedented electoral success for a new left alliance in the Lebanese capital has shaken up politics

The elections in May for control over Beirut proved to be a major breakthrough for the popular discontent that has been simmering in Lebanon since the advent of the Arab Spring.

Local elections are traditionally dominated by sectarian parties that reflect the religious makeup of the capital’s many neighbourhoods.

Laws dictate that inhabitants who moved to the capital over the past 40 years can only register to vote in their home villages. As such the electoral base does not reflect the city’s population today.

Syria: signs of hope

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The Syrian regime’s capture of Palmyra, the historic Syrian city taken by ISIS last summer, has been hailed as a significant victory and a vindication of Russia’s intervention in Syria. In a deft manoeuvre Putin, a key ally of Assad, announced that he would scale back Russian military forces in Syria — a move designed to reduce tensions with Turkey and the West.

The Egyptians

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Egypt’s 25 January revolution in 2011 was a moment in which history flipped upside down. It was a period of momentous events that are far from over. The counter-revolution of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who seized power in May 2013, appears to have put the lid back on the street movements, strikes and protests that were unleashed by the Arab Spring.

Egypt: five years on, discontent still flares

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On the fifth anniversary of the Arab Spring revolutions the rumblings of discontent continue to cause panic in the regimes. Arab rulers remain terrified of the ghost of revolution.

As Egyptian security forces moved to clamp down on any event to mark the uprising, protests in Tunisia erupted once again, sparking memories of the 2011 Arab revolutions. The demonstrations, which began in the city of Kasserine and spread to other Tunisian cities, demanded “Work, freedom, dignity”.

Syria: from inter-imperial rivalry to inter-imperial crash

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Welcome to Syria

Last month Britain joined the many states dropping bombs on Syria. Simon Assaf talks to Socialist Review about the causes and implications of a crisis in which none of the players have control.

With such a messy situation in Syria, where do we even start?

It’s always a difficulty when you have deep complexities on the ground to start with what’s going on there, it just becomes more and more complex. So I think the best way to view it is from the top.

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