Feature

Oil: The New Scramble for Africa

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The US is eyeing up Africa's oil.

In the middle of last month a group of oil executives, US government officials and African politicians met in Houston, Texas, to organise a new carve-up of Africa's resources. The background is a scramble for oil that is reshaping western policy towards West Africa. It could also lay the basis for civil wars, tension between the US and European powers and future military intervention.

Weapons of Deception

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Top of the league for weapons of mass destruction is the US, and the biggest danger in the Middle East is Israel.

A history exam paper might contain the following question: which Middle East country expelled the majority of the original inhabitants, has attacked neighbouring states three times in the last 50 years, accumulated a considerable arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and flouted countless UN resolutions? If you put Iraq the answer would be wrong. The right answer would be Israel.

European Social Forum: A New World for Women

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Like war and the rebuilding of the European left, the question of the role of women in the fight for a different world ran through the European Social Forum. At least half the delegates were women, mainly younger women.

At the first of the massive conferences on the war a majority of the speakers were women. The impact of war on women and their role in the anti-war movement were addressed by several speakers. Lindsey German's support for young Muslim women in the anti-war movement wearing headscarves as a symbol of resistance drew huge applause.

European Social Forum: A Forum for the Future

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The hugely successful Florence European Social Forum showed a new face of politics in Europe.

An elderly man spent his days at the European Social Forum in Florence with his multicoloured umbrella open above his head. It wasn't raining; for most of the time it was bright and cold. But his umbrella carried a message: 'Grazie ai ragazzi' (thanks to the kids). His point, I think, was not so much to celebrate this multilingual, multiethnic gathering. Rather he was acknowledging that this was a gathering of a new kind, with a new vision.

Firefighters - Time to take sides

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The firefighters' strike has put class struggle back on the agenda.

Tony Blair's watchword for industrial relations has always been 'partnership'--problems between bosses and workers can be resolved without reference to strikes or other forms of industrial dispute. But there's nothing like a strike to show the true attitudes of those who preach industrial peace. Partnership works as long as the employers and their allies in the media, the government and among the rich and powerful get their way.

The Alternative Dossier 4: Interview with Ralf Ekeus

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'The inspectors and the directorate of the inspections were pressurised to undertake controversial inspections... and thereby cause a stalemate which could form the basis for direct military action.' Rolf Ekeus

This is an edited interview with Rolf Ekeus on Swedish radio, 29 July 2002. Ekeus was executive chairman of Unscom 1991-97. He was Sweden's ambassador to the US 1997-2000. He is also chairman of the governing board of the Stockholm Peace Conference and OSCE high commissioner on national minorities. We join the interview as Ekeus explains how the US influenced Unscom inspection tours...

The Alternative Dossier 2: Countdown to War

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How the US armed Iraq.

1982

Despite intelligence reports that Iraq still sponsored groups on the State Department's (SD) terrorist list, and 'apparently without consulting Congress', the Reagan administration removed Iraq from the state terrorism sponsorship list in 1982.

Source: New York Times, 28 February 1982.

The removal made Iraq eligible for US dual-use and military technology.

Source: Mark Phythian, Arming Iraq (Northeastern University Press), p34.

1983

War and Resistance: Moving On Up

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The Stop the War Coalition has created the biggest anti-war movement in generations.

The biggest anti-war demonstration ever in Britain. One of the largest demonstrations in Britain ever. The largest multiracial demonstration ever in Europe. The superlatives have mounted up for the massive protest march against war on Iraq and for a free Palestine on 28 September in London. Despite early police estimates of 40,000, around ten times that figure turned up, exceeding the expectations of even the most optimistic organisers.

The Worst is Yet to Come?

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The Afghan tragedy continues.

One year on from the bombing of Afghanistan and you would assume from the spin emanating from Downing Street and the White House that life had returned to normal. The first postwar British tourists even departed recently for a ten-day sightseeing tour of Kabul, Herat, Bamian and Mazar-e-Sharif. But don't go booking your summer holiday in Kandahar just yet.

Industry - Anger into action?

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The firefighters' action has revived talk of the winter of discontent in the 1970s. Chris Bambery and Peter Morgan look at what happened.

Everyone has their breaking point and I'm afraid the FBU has reached theirs.' These are the words of Jim Burge, a firefighter of 15 years based in North London, who takes home just £21,500 per year. He was speaking shortly before the FBU leadership announced that they were suspending their first two strikes over pay after the government hinted that there might be more on offer than the 4 percent on the table.

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