Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

Russia’s Move in Syria Raises the Stakes and Alters the Board

Just two weeks ago, we pointed out that Turkey was playing a dangerous game as inter-imperialist rivalry was intensifying in the Levant. We discussed the fact that Russia was now raising the stakes by placing their military assets in the Levant. Over the years, we have discussed the fact that Russia was not going to abandon its only warm water Mediterranean military base at Tartus.

Though Qatar did want to build a natural gas pipeline through Syria that would have ameliorated Turkey’s, and the rest of the EU’s, reliance on Russian gas, Syria said no and so began the need for regime change. The US, Jordan, Turkey, and the Gulf Cooperation States (GCC), especially Saudi Arabia, then turned what would have been a minor uprising at best into a full blown civil war along religious lines. Communists know that all religions are different types of false consciousness meant to make the working class submit to the ruling class and tolerate the horrors of modern day capitalism. The imperialists are now using religion as a divisive form of nationalism to get the working class to slaughter each other in a proxy war over borders and pipeline routes.

Turkey was trying to play a dangerous game, and it looks like it blew up in Ankara’s face. The delusions of the Ottoman past made theme think that they could be a regional player pushing a “no fly zone” in support of al Qaeda in Syria (who used to be the bad guys) and a “safe zone” in support of Islamic State and against the Kurds to the north. Well, as of now, it looks like that isn’t happening. As we discussed, Russia has offered Turkey one heck of a deal with the Turkish Stream pipeline and Russia continues to supply almost 60% of Turkey’s natural gas. Well, winter is coming and with it will be cold weather, the need for people to cook, and all of the other things the working class depends on for natural gas. Russia has shown through the example of Ukraine how it will shut off natural gas if it needs to for political leverage.

So, Turkey is caught on the horns of a dilemma: it can directly engage militarily with Russia in Syria, thus breaking international law and possibly inciting WWIII due to the currently existing status of forces agreement that would require China to intervene on Syria’s behalf as well as Iran and Russia or they can just continue to arm and fund al Qaeda and its allies in the region. On top of that, the US is basically ignoring Turkey’s calls that the Kurds are the real enemy and ISIS is just a useful enemy by arming the “from Iraq, to Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters who in recent months have pushed the Islamic State from a major portion of northern Syria along the Turkish border.” So, the place where Turkey wanted to put a no Kurd “safe zone” along the border will most likely now be part of a US backed Kurd offensive against ISIS.  In the face of its current impotence, Ankara is having a complete shit-fit.

The bosses’ press in the US is carefully leaving out the fact that the majority of the “rebels” are actually fascists. Even the Free Syrian Army (FSA) has bedded down with al Qaeda. These fascists, like all fascists before them, will murder workers who do not fit their narrow ideas as to what constitutes the right type of national or racial identity. Like the Nazis, al Qaeda groups like The Army of Islamic Conquest or Jabhat al Nusra will murder whole villages who are a different religion than them. Again, the ideology of religion has just as much of a material basis as race, nationality, and gender – all of which are socially constructed, generated, and reinforced because capitalism needs to divide the working class, get us to identity with a certain group of bosses, and fight amongst ourselves for their benefit.

It’s quite ironic and completely illustrates the tragedy of history and the horrible effects of the fall of the Old Communist Movement (OCM) that the US is having a temper tantrum as Russia bombs the snot out of its moderate jihadist fascists as the Taliban are in the process of overrunning Kunduz. The historical parallels of Afghanistan are now being echoed in Syria. In Afghanistan, it was the then fully revisionist and imperialist USSR being invited in by their allied government to fight the fascist mujahedeen who were armed to the teeth by the US and its allies. These “few stirred up Muslims” have been the cause of death for thousands and thousands of workers, many in the US, around the world. This pattern is now being illustrated as Russia is now sending in “advisors” and “trainers” as well as a wide array of mechanized forces and some pretty devastating air power. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) forces have not been fully eroded and the Iranian backed militias in Syria like Hezbollah and the National Defense Forces (NDF) still have enough man power to fight on the ground for now, so there is technically some truth to Russia’s assertion that they don’t want to put troops on the ground in Syria now, however, as change is the only constant, and should the SAA lose ground to the US/NATO/GCC backed “moderate” al Qaeda allied Islamist groups heretofore dubbed “the rebels” then Russia is more than willing to sacrifice blood and treasure for oil. China is waiting in the wings and has intimated that they are willing to send in troops to keep the “East Turkistan” Uighur movements from gestating fascist terrorists who have murdered hundreds in the Xinjiang Province.

It is the working class that will continue to suffer when they are given choices like which murderous fascist regime to support in Syria, the US backed terrorists or the Russian backed butcher. It is our children that will be sent to fight and die for oil pipelines, big money geopolitics, and Exxon/Mobil/BP/Shell/Lukoil et al’s profit margins. Workers in The US, Turkey, Russia, Syria, Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Europe, and China, just as workers all over the world, have the same enemy and the same fight against capitalism.

The US’s nightmare scenario is playing out as the EU “will try to bring Russia and the United States together to resolve the Syrian situation in tandem. It looks like the Ukraine and Syria crises will be inexorably linked with broader negotiations, just as Russia had planned, whether the United States is ready to admit it or not.” So, as the US metaphorically continues to play checkers like a cowboy outside of a burned Native American village, confident of its superiority and ever-expanding empire, Russia continues to play chess and use simple moves to change the balance of power on the global board. The US has been constantly trying to lead and shape the world events in order to encircle and blunt Russia’s growing power, but, as of now, they are now in a reactive mode. They are not leading, but they are reacting and attempting to shape a narrative to the working class (in other words, lie lie and lie) in order to get us to support their support for the very same kind of fascist scum that blew up the Twin Towers, has butchered thousands in Nigeria, sells preteen girls into sex slavery in Iraq, and is currently in a major offensive in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Russia has taken the initiative, for now, in shaping world events and negotiations.

So, as Israel gets ready to send more troops and settlers to the Golan Heights simultaneously with al Qaeda taking more territory there, and Russia and the US bomb more and more cities so workers there continue to die as collateral damage, Communist revolution is more needed than ever. We need a real choice, not which fascist or imperialist to support, but an answer to the never-ending wars that capitalism requires due to imperialist expansion. The US empire will defend itself with our blood, just as Russia will. It is up to us to join and build the Progressive Labor Party in order to end this bloodshed once and for all.

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A Statement on the Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood Recently Killed in Egypt

The politics of the class struggle must be primary in any analysis of the recent attack by the state on the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. Politics are always primary. A dialectical analysis of the situation illustrates a contradiction between two ideologies that both support Capitalism’s ability to control the state and for different particular imperialists and regional powers to hold sway over whatever group of bosses emerges as the dominant group. Though it is a tragedy that hundreds of workers have been killed over the past two days, the real tragedy continues to be the fact that the working class is still being mislead into supporting one or another group of bosses’ ideology.

The Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters have begun to shoot back and are coopting the language of the left as they try to paint their religious fundamentalism with a progressive veneer. They have regional allies with Turkey and Qatar, both hegemons that are arming and supporting one rebel faction in the imperialist proxy war in Syria. No religious ideology will ever emancipate the working class from exploitation, not Islam or Catholic based liberation theology. The politics that one particular mass is supporting and being killed for will only subjugate them further and empower regional players like Turkey.

This massacre further illustrates the hypocrisy of the US. The US is in a win win situation. If the state completely fails and chaos reigns, then they don’t have to go through the hassle of bombing it into oblivion and then shrugging their shoulders as they say they have to carry on with the rebuilding and fight terrorism as their actions with their humanitarian imperialism has illustrated. If the state does not fail and the army maintains power, then they have an ally that will function as counter weight to the Saudi’s rival, Qatar, and a loyal and submissive client state.  Either way that his resolves, we will probably see US troops stationed in Egypt – either under the auspices of the UN, some ad hoc alliance, or outright as part of the over 1.3 Billion dollars in military aid they currently receive.

 

The Progressive Labor Party does grieve for the innocent workers who have been killed over the past few days by the state, but we do not support the political aim of those workers nor do we support their ideology.  We are further grieved by the lack of a mass Communist Party capable of turning the tables on capitalism and beginning a Communist revolution for the true liberation of the working class by setting up a wageless egalitarian society.  The friends and allies of PLP in that part of the world as well as anybody interested in creating a lasting change need to intensify the struggle for Communist revolution so that we can bring this dark night where hundreds of workers are slaughtered for false consciousness to a close. 

 

 

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N. Africa to Mideast to Asia:Capitalism’s Survival Undercuts Workers’ Revolt; Wider Wars Loom

Tens of thousands of workers and youth are waging a political battle to overthrow U.S.-backed corrupt fascist dictators, cutting a wide swath throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Many have taken up arms and risked their lives fighting brutal attacks by the rulers’ cops and armies, whose tanks, guns and tear gas are marked “Made in USA.”

The rebels are also going on strike against the ravages of capitalism — skyrocketing food prices and massive unemployment — demanding jobs.

Unfortunately these courageous workers and youth will wind up with the same capitalist system that has produced this mass poverty and fascist conditions. What leadership that does exist is not fighting for workers’ power — communism — which would destroy the profit system and its ruling bosses. This only highlights the necessity to build the Progressive Labor Party to develop the kind of leadership that would make a fundamental change, a real revolution that would toss out the old ruling class and put the working class in power.

However, the U.S. may very well be playing both sides. While the rebellions oppose dictators backed by the U.S., their replacements might be U.S.-backed also. Some student rebels have been trained by CIA front groups on a 2008 organizing conference at Columbia University in NYC) as well as a union movement trained by the AFL-CIA.

Significantly these struggles are raging in and near the heart of U.S. rulers’ energy-based global empire, raising big questions: Will pro- or anti-U.S. bosses gain long-term advantage from the conflicts? And now that many Arab lands are, or could be, under shaky new management, how can Exxon Mobil and its Big Oil buddies hang on to critical oil fields and shipping routes?

Iran’s ayatollahs made their opportunistic aims clear by sending a pair of warships through embroiled Egypt’s Suez Canal into the Mediterranean, long controlled by the U.S. Sixth Fleet. Meanwhile, Obama & Co.’s response involves expanding the scope of liberal President Jimmy Carter oil “Doctrine”:

“An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force. (Carter’s 1980 State of the Union Address)

Today’s revolts could spread to Carter’s obvious focus, Saudi Arabia, U.S. imperialism’s most vital energy interest. So Obama’s actual and possible combat theater protecting U.S. bosses’ “vital interests” now stretches from the mountains of Pakistan across the Gulf to the North African coast. And now the U.S. military has admitted its Afghan strategy is failing, and is withdrawing from strategic areas in that country. (NY Times, 2/25)

Liberal Bosses Want 20,000 Troops for Libyan Bloodbath

Libya, where dictator Qaddafi’s thugs have killed hundreds, and Exxon and U.S. ally BP have had to suspend drilling for crude oil, is especially worrisome to U.S. rulers. The NY Times summed up these risks: “The worst-case scenario, should the rebellion topple him,…is…a failed state where Al Qaeda or other radical groups could exploit the chaos and operate with impunity.” (2/27)

Michael O’Hanlon, military expert at the liberal Brookings Institution, urged the Pentagon to prepare a ground force, contrasting Libya with U.S. inaction in the 1994 crisis in Rwanda: “It would have taken closer to 20,000 troops, or more, to do the job right. There could well be a similar requirement here.” (Brookings website, 2/25) Obama booster O’Hanlon even provides the outlines of a body count: “We could lose one of our soldiers or Marines for every 10 enemy fighters we had to take down. If Qadhafi loyalists numbered in the thousands…we could lose hundreds of U.S. troops.” O’Hanlon would no doubt recommend the same treatment for al Qaeda sympathizers in Libya.

But Saudi Arabia, as the world’s greatest petroleum source and ExxonMobil’s biggest supplier, poses far graver concerns for U.S. bosses — so grave, in fact, that they resort to code to speak about it publicly. Michael Levi, a fellow at the influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), funded by Rockefeller, Exxon and J.P. Morgan Chase, wrote: “If unrest actually migrated to the desert kingdom…Riyadh [Saudi’s capital] would probably impress on the world that it needed support if they didn’t want to see prices get out of control. That would be a credible threat, and could result in a very concrete set of responses”(CFR website, 2/25/11).

“Concrete response” means “invasion.” Two main groups seek to benefit from Saudi regime change: swelling ranks of unemployed youth and those capitalists not part of Saudi’s royal family, shut out of the fabulously lucrative oil racket. Osama bin Laden, a member of the latter, has united elements of both into the anti-U.S. al Qaeda.

Interestingly, Saudi’s ruling king, fearing an uprising, and to calm oil interests, just allotted $36 billion for reforms in his kingdom. But rather than “calming” the situation, those oil interests see his concerns as evidence of a further threat to the region and can very well provoke even more oil price hikes.

Top U.S. Warlord Visits Big Oil States and U.S. Bases

To hammer home the U.S. invasion vow, Admiral Mike Mullen, the U.S.’s top military chief, recently visited Kuwait on the pretense of commemorating the 20th anniversary of Desert Storm. In 1991, a U.S.-led coalition of 750,000 soldiers ousted Iraqi invaders from Kuwait. But the display of U.S. and allied firepower demonstrates Obama’s promise of a repeat performance to defend Saudi Arabia.

Covering the February 26 celebration, Stars and Stripes, the U.S. brass’s mouthpiece for GIs gushed:

“Tanks, troops, armored vehicles, helicopters and barrel-rolling [combat maneuver to elude adversaries] fighter jets…passed in formation before Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and other dignitaries including Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs in 1991, and Spain’s King Juan Carlos. It was a spectacle rarely seen in the world today. Saudi, Kuwaiti, French, British, and other troops joined the relatively small contingent of roughly 175 Americans thundering down the road.”

Saudi Arabia’s participation indicated its coming turn for potential U.S. invasion.

Powell’s presence signaled the future use of his “overwhelming force Doctrine.”  The Spanish, French and British showing demonstrates that Obama, more like the Bush, Sr. than Bush, Jr., understands the U.S. need for broad military coalitions.

Mullen landed in Kuwait after a five-day Gulf tour of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Djibouti and Bahrain. These seven states either produce vast amounts of oil or house major U.S. military bases that defend the U.S. strategic stranglehold on its distribution. A Mullen spokesman reassured Saudi king Abdullah that Obama intends to keep him on his throne:  “The aim of the 1991 Gulf War was not to democratize Kuwait.” (Agencie French Press, 2/25)

But where would U.S. rulers find the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of troops needed for a Saudi invasion that would probably draw in Iran? Restoring the draft in present circumstances remains unthinkable. Gary Hart, a leading imperialist strategist, thinks the solution for U.S. imperialists lies in tying the liberal side of the fight over workers’ rights now centered in Wisconsin to a patriotic movement that would back U.S. rulers’ war plans.

Hart was co-chairman of Clinton’s 1999 Hart-Rudman Commission that drew up blueprints for a centralized U.S. police state, while both fearing and welcoming a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Hart figures this could galvanize mass U.S. support for a Saudi invasion, just as it did for the eventual invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the latter war now the longest in U.S. history. (See box)

Opportunities to Build the PLP

The uprisings and U.S. rulers’ reactions to them offer many valuable political lessons, about which we will write in coming issues. But for now we point to the first and foremost: Don’t trust the liberal bosses.

Meanwhile, PLP members and friends must back solidarity with — participate in — any rising working-class struggles, to be in position to guide them towards the goal of workers’ power and away from the liberals’ dead-end war aims. Recent anti-government working-class resistance to ruling-class attacks, both in the U.S. and abroad, show that politics are increasingly motivating workers. This can be advanced to demonstrate the need for a communist party, the PLP, a central role for our Party in the immediate period.

Liberal Gary Hart Seeks to Turn Wisconsin Protests to U.S. War Aims

Writing about Tea Partiers trumping U.S. imperialist policy from Madison to Tripoli, imperialist strategist Hart says, “There are lessons to be learned meanwhile about the limits of …American power. The struggle here is whether we will return to a pre-New Deal America with many fewer ladders of opportunity, safety nets for the poor and elderly, and regulatory protections for consumers, workers, and the environment.” (Hart’s weblog, 2/21) Hart wants a new New Deal, with even more ladders and nets. He understands U.S. rulers’ need to somehow recreate Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. FDR ran an alphabet soup of social programs, from the militaristic CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) to the job-creating (though slave wage) WPA (Works Progress Administration). It was these, along with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, that helped overcome Tea Party-style 1930s isolationism by luring workers into the arms of a war-making government.

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Oil $$$ Put U.S. Rulers in Iraq for the Long Haul

Most everyone has come to understand that the U.S. rulers’ invasion of Iraq was all about oil. But not even the oil barons knew just how much was up for grabs. Now it’s revealed that Barack Obama has 8.2 million reasons not to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq anytime soon. That’s how many barrels of oil companies like Exxon Mobil claim they can pump every day — if it ever becomes safe for them to operate there.

Stunning production targets emerging from Iraq’s ongoing oilfield licensing talks with major firms put it on a strategic par with oil kingpin Saudi Arabia. The rising stakes underlie the recent upsurge in Iraqi factional violence and guarantee not only a permanent U.S. military occupation but future deadly “surges” to help Exxon & Co. realize their goal. Production today stagnates around 2.3 million barrels a day (mbd).

Invading Iraq was the brainchild of U.S. Big Oil. Occupation plans took shape in a high-level joint project of the Rockefeller-led Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the James A. Baker Institute, imperialist think-tanks both closely linked to Exxon Mobil and J.P. Morgan Chase. Just before the 2003 invasion, the CFR-Baker cabal issued a report, “Iraq: The Day After,” promising that “U.S. and allied military forces will quickly occupy, control, and protect oil fields” in order to “achieve more significant increases — say, to 6 mbd by 2010.”

When the Bushites bungled the invasion by sending too few troops, the liberal, imperialist wing of U.S. capitalists blamed renegade neo-cons like Cheney and Rumsfeld for launching a misguided “war of choice.” But U.S. imperialists cannot afford to walk away from the 8 mbd windfall that new technology makes possible.

Saudi Rulers Unreliable Allies for U.S. Rulers

Controlling 8 mbd of Iraqi crude would sharply reduce U.S. dependence on shaky Saudi Arabia as the world’s sole “swing producer,” meaning a country having enough spare capacity to adjust production in an economic or military crisis.

But Saudi royals rule a powder keg. Though they profit from the most lucrative long-term deal in capitalism’s history, serving as Exxon’s biggest oil supplier, their 30 million subjects receive nothing from this bonanza. They sympathize more with al Qaeda and Hamas than with Washington. Prince Turki al-Faisal, former chief of Saudi intelligence, in an op-ed piece in the NY Times (9/13/09), said it would be unwise for his country to normalize diplomatic relations with U.S. ally Israel. The prince fears that Saudi workers’ anger at Israel’s concentration-camp treatment of Palestinians may dethrone his oily dynasty.

So Exxon Mobil-led groups have bids in for 6.3 mbd, or almost four-fifths of Iraq’s potential [See Table]. Meanwhile the U.S. war machine remains ever poised to invade Saudi Arabia to prop up its ruling princes if the masses were to rebel. The Pentagon has massive bases to the north (Iraq), to the east (Bahrain and Qatar), to the west (Djibouti) and to the south (Diego Garcia).

However, Exxon & Co. shouldn’t start counting their Iraqi chickens just yet. Iraq still has no national law governing oil contracts. And no sooner had Iraq held its first oilfield auction in June, “the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government condemned it as unconstitutional.” (Energy Intelligence, 9/7/09)

More ‘Surges’ On The Agenda?

Fighting among rival Iraqi Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, and attacks on U.S. bases have intensified since the oil projects were revealed. The NY Times (9/13/09) suggests that U.S. troops may have to seize the streets again: “After the withdrawal of most American combat forces from Iraq’s cities on June 30, violence has remained a constant, with attackers able to plant and detonate bombs….seemingly with impunity.”

U.S. rulers and their allies are ready to worsen an already sickening equation: over one million dead Iraqis and more than 4,000 dead GIs “in exchange for” eight million daily barrels of crude.

We need a sharpening fight against U.S. imperialism — in the shops and unions, the communities and churches, among GIs, and in all mass organizations — to mount militant battles against the U.S. bosses’ deadly goals. Out of these class struggles, tying the mountainous racist and economic attacks on the working class to the need to exterminate the profit system, we can build a mass PLP that can lead a communist revolution to destroy capitalism and its endless oil wars.

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