Middle East

Tuesday, 01 December 2015 00:00 Gerardo Otero and Efe Can Gürcan Editorial Dept - Middle East
Our goal is to formulate ten theses on what we believe constitutes the historical background of the Syrian refugee crisis within the context of the Arab Spring. One central argument is that Western meddling in this process was turned into a violent contest for state power that has resulted in grave human tragedy. The recent Paris attacks with over 100 fatalities – resulting in a state-of-emergency declaration and arson of refugee camps in retaliation – indicate that the Syrian refugee crisis has already taken on a greater importance for global politics.

1. The Arab Spring was initially a hopeful phenomenon of social mobilization against authoritarian regimes. It started in December 2010 in Tunisia, with mobilized working class and civic organizations after the self-immolation of a street vendor repressed by police forces. Social mobilization became so vigorous that the president had to resign after three weeks.

2. Similar mobilizations began to take place in several Middle Eastern and North African countries including Egypt, Libya and Syria, but in each of these nations the degree of civil-society organization was different and the extent of meddling by Western powers also varied considerably.

Tuesday, 09 June 2015 20:59 Gregory Shupak Editorial Dept - Middle East
Expanding the U.S.-led ISIS War to Other Countries - According to a 29 April report in The New York Times, leaders from the U.S.-led coalition at war with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will meet in the coming weeks to consider broadening the mission to other countries. At present, the Obama administration is attempting to secure congressional support for a measure that would authorize expanding the war to such nations as Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen. Extending U.S.-led military operations would be disastrous and should be resisted.

Western military intervention is not the way to solve the ISIS crisis. Thus far it has made few gains against the group and ISIS is still strong – despite the coalition being at war against them since the U.S. began carrying out airstrikes in August of last year. The coalition has gone on more than 3,700 bombing runs in Iraq and Syria but still ISIS holds important territories such as Mosul in Iraq and Deir Ezzor in Syria.

Recently ISIS has advanced on Damascus and attacked both Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's Anbar province, and Baiji, Iraq's largest oil refinery. There is also evidence that the number of people leaving Europe to join ISIS has actually increased in recent months. Meanwhile, there are signs of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra working together at Yarmouk, the Palestinian refugee camp in Syria. Therefore, coalition bombings are facilitating cooperation between ISIS and al-Nusra, as some earlier reports also suggest.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013 18:49 Iraqi Social Forum Editorial Dept - Middle East
The Iraqi Social Forum will take place in Baghdad, from the 26th to the 28th of September, the first large gathering in Iraq based upon the World Social Forum Charter of Principles. It will include more than 140 activities organized by hundreds of Iraqis and some international activists. Participation is open to everyone who shares the principles of the World Social Forum.

The Forum Includes: An official opening and Sports Against Violence activities at the University of Baghdad on Thursday morning (9/26), and parallel activities in Al-Qushla and at the Baghdad Cultural Center on Friday and Saturday (9/27-28).

Solidarity activities are being organized around the world. The Extended Iraqi Social Forum started with events in Bangladesh and Pakistan on the 17th of September and will close with a week of events in Italy on the 1st-5th of October. Many international organizations will connect with activists at the Iraqi Social Forum through Skype (contact: isf.extensionteam) and watch several session on streaming (check the streaming window on http://www.iraqsf.org/).

Tuesday, 17 September 2013 15:33 The Syrian Democratic Forum Editorial Dept - Middle East
Throughout Modern History, several radical extremist organizations have emerged, taking advantage of the lack of development and the loss of hope for better future in a number of countries.

These organizations have been used for a variety of purposes by different countries, including the Syrian authorities. Several countries have played roles in supporting, in secret or in public, these organizations and arming them, in addition to creating other extremist groups with opposing doctrines.

The Syrian regime has mobilized some of these organizations to serve its own interest, sometimes in Lebanon and others in Iraq. Then, it has proceeded to divert the Syrian Revolution toward violence and sectarianism and forced it to beg foreign powers for support, as a reaction to the regime’s brutality and its insistence on its military and intrusive security approach.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013 10:17 Roger Annis Editorial Dept - Middle East
The following article is based on a speech given by Roger Annis to a rally in Vancouver on August 17 that was convened by Egyptian-Canadians in the city to condemn the coup d'état in Egypt of July 3 and the police and military violence that has continued in the country. The original speech has been slightly edited to include several additional points.

Friends, I am here today to express our shock, anger and outrage at the violence of the military regime that took power in Egypt last month in an illegal and unconstitutional coup d'état.

We express our solidarity with the brave and courageous people across Egypt who are standing up to this regime and its bullets. We join them in calling for a return to constitutional rule.

Sunday, 16 June 2013 21:46 Sungur Savran Editorial Dept - Middle East
After days of hesitation and negotiation, the government has finally decided to evacuate the Taksim Commune, where thousands camped in Gezi Park and which tens of thousands visited every night.

Police attacked Gezi Park yesterday evening (June 15) and after evacuating it using tear gas and, as a novelty, water cannon apparently supplemented with a special kind of chemical since it burnt the skin of everyone it touched, razed the tents, the infirmary, the kitchens and the library established there to the ground.

One focus of resistance crushed meant a thousand flourished. Immediately, in a series of neighbourhoods of Istanbul and in many cities around the country, people came out in their thousands and sometimes in their tens of thousands spontaneously and started to chant the common slogans of the already fifteen-day old rebellion.

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