Middle East

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”.

The use and abuse of the Arab Revolt

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In June 1916 thousands of Arabs rose up against the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled over the region for four centuries. They fought with the backing of the British and French governments, not realising they were being used as a weapon in the First World War, writes Simon Guy.

On 5 June 1916 the ruler of Mecca, Sharif Husayn, called for an Arab uprising against Ottoman rule. The goal, agreed with the British High Commissioner in Egypt, was to unite the Arab people, establish and then rule an independent Arab kingdom, ending 400 years of Ottoman domination of the Arab world. Britain promised funds, guns and grain in return for helping to defeat the Ottomans as part of the First World War.

Discontent rises in Arab world

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A crisis caused by uncollected rubbish has triggered the biggest popular protest in Lebanon for a generation. And in Iraq, discontent over electricity shortages has galvanised a movement for an end to corruption and the sectarian wars.

The fast pace of neoliberal reforms in Egypt has pushed workers in the civil service to call for a million-man protest march in September, while low-ranking police officers have staged a series of strikes despite the threat of harsh penalties.

Imperialism and the new wars in the Middle East

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The decline of US imperialism in the Middle East is fuelling rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Simon Assaf looks at the region as it plunges deeper into violence and uncertainty.

In the heady days of the Arab Spring revolutions, tens of millions of people took to the streets in vast movements for change that raised the possibility of a deep transformation of the region. The retreat of these revolutions has been marked by a return of repression and the unleashing of horrific sectarianism.

Palestine, Arab Revolutions and Global Solidarity

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Gaza demo London

Israel's punishing war on the Palestinians has left the Gaza Strip in ruins. But the Israeli military failed in its main objective, to break the spirit of resistance and cow the population.

The carnage and scorched earth policy unleashed by the Israeli war machine on the Gaza Strip over the summer marked a grim end to the era of hope that began with the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions in 2011. Yet despite its brutal military superiority, Benjamin Netanyahu’s government failed to defeat the Palestinian resistance.

Can Arab and Jews live together?

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Jerusalem, 2001

This question might seem absurd in the light of the appalling slaughter of Palestinian civilians by Israel in the past months. Indeed hasn’t the entire history of the Israeli state since its foundation in 1948, and of the British sponsored Zionist colonial project in the earlier part of the 20th century, been all about the forced dispossession of the Palestinian people from their own land — what the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe called the “ethnic cleansing of Palestine”?

Iraq: torn apart by imperialism

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The dramatic military advance by Isis militants in the Sunni Muslim areas of Iraq in the early part of the summer pushed the country back towards civil war. The US war and occupation sowed the roots of sectarian division in Iraqi society.

The declaration of the formation of an Islamic Caliphate by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) and its lightening offensive in both countries has sent shockwaves around the world.

The Caliphate (known as the Islamic State) stretches from the Syrian city of Aleppo to the Iraqi suburbs of Baghdad. By effectively abolishing the Iraqi-Syria border, Isis has in one move trumped the rhetoric of every Arab ruler since the 1917 Anglo-French Sykes– Picot agreement drew the modern map of the Middle East.

Lebanon: Some Things That Money Can't Buy

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The US's attempt to "democratise" the Middle East - or, to put it bluntly, to create puppet regimes - has had two spectacular failures recently.

In Iraq this democracy has created sectarian chaos, while in Palestine the US-backed elections produced a victory for the Islamic movement Hamas - not exactly what George Bush had in mind when he mapped out his grand plan for democracy in the region.

But the US administration thinks that Lebanon could be the silver lining of some very dark clouds. Last month George Bush stated in a meeting with Lebanese prime minister Faud Siniora that "there is no question in my mind that Lebanon can serve as a great example for what is possible in the broader Middle East".

Gay Rights: Who are the Real Enemies of Liberation?

The bigoted outburst by the magazine of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association calling Islam a 'barmy doctrine' is the clearest example of the co-option of many in the gay liberation movement into the barmy doctrine of the clash of civilisations.

That homosexuals around the world face oppression on a daily basis is as true of the US and Europe as it is for those living in the Muslim world. Yet, some have chosen to shift the struggle into a racist argument against Islam.

Listening to Western activists speak about 'Islamofascism' and, in the same breath, justify holding the 2006 World Pride in occupied Jerusalem should be a clear indicator. The apartheid wall alone makes a mockery of the pride's slogan of 'Love Without Borders'.

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