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'.

Interview: The Imperial Blowback

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Robert Fisk explains to Simon Assaf why there can be no peace in the Middle East until Britain and the US get out.

You are currently writing a book - what is it about?

It's called The Great War of Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East. It studies the way in which history traps us, and how we are never free to make decisions because we are always caught by history.

Arab Civilisation: Found in Translation

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Modern language, science and culture owes much to the Muslim empire of the early Middle Ages.

'We should not be ashamed to acknowledge truth from whatever source it comes to us, even if it is brought to us by former generations and foreign peoples.' The philosopher Al-Kindi, who wrote those words in 9th century Baghdad, understood better than most how much human history has been shaped by the interaction of different cultures. He was one of the thousands of Arab scholars employed to translate, analyse and develop Greek learning by the Abbasid caliphs, rulers of the great Muslim empire of the 8th to the 13th centuries.

Cairo Conference: Middle Eastern Promise

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The Cairo conference brought to a close a momentous year for the global anti-war movement. Over 1,000 activists from Europe, North America and around the Middle East met on 13 and 14 December at the Egyptian Journalists' Union headquarters to debate strategies for building worldwide resistance to imperialism and globalisation.

Egyptian campaigners told how thousands of protesters took over central Cairo on the first day of war against Iraq. British trade unionists spoke about building the local Stop the War Coalition groups which mobilised millions on 15 February. US activists described launching a mass movement to bring the troops home.

A New Left is Born

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Simon Assaf reports on the anti-war movement in the Middle East.

'Now the anti-war movement has become a movement against occupation in Palestine and Iraq,' the Al Jazeera correspondent declared from the London demonstration on 12 April. Images of the protest, and the millions out across Europe, punctured the mood of despondency that had gripped the Arab world since the fall of Baghdad. The anti-war movement served notice on the warmongers that they will continue to face deep opposition.

Imperialism - Remaking the Middle East

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The history of British and French rule in the Middle East makes uncomfortable reading for Iraq's new conquerors.

'I'll never engage in creating kings again: it's too great a strain.' As they struggle to impose a compliant government on Iraq, Pentagon officials may well reflect on the words that Gertrude Bell wrote in 1921. Bell, an adviser to the British High Commissioner in Baghdad, played an important role in creating a new colonial order for the Middle East. Out of the debris of the Ottoman Empire, the imperialists of an earlier generation fashioned a network of client kingdoms under British and French tutelage.

Oil and the Intifada

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An attack on Iraq will lead to more instability in the Middle East.

The assertion of US power explains in general the attack on Iraq, but there is a more specific reason which helps to explain its timing and gives it added urgency. This is the US rulers' fear of the spread of the spirit of the Palestinian intifada to other Arab states, beginning with Saudi Arabia.

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