Category Archives: Tunisia

Ex-Jihadist tells Tunisian TV why he left pro-imperialist FSA in Syria

Standard

The following video was an interview done by Delta TV with 29-year-old Ali Garbousi, who resides from Gafsa, Tunisia. He is an ex-rebel of the pro-imperialist terrorist group Free Syrian Army (FSA). During the interview, he goes into detail how he was smuggled into Syria by way of Turkey, how the FSA provided little to no medical treatment of their own, nor any mercenaries who fought with them, and how the FSA burned to death over 120 Libyans and Tunisians in Homs in the attempts of framing it on the Assad-led Syrian govt.

Pro-Syria protests in Tunisia, against the enemies pretending to be ‘Friends of Syria’

Standard

February 24, 2012

Recent pro-Syria protests in Tunis, Tunisia, against foreign interventions in Syria:

19 February 2012

21 February 2012

24 February 2012

Source

Unveiling French hypocrisy

Standard

by Mohammed Khan
April 11, 2011

Nicolas Sarkozy's government is implementing a ban on wearing the face veil in public.

In one of my earlier pieces on the Arab revolutions (Tunisia’s tide of defiance), I cautioned those brave souls risking life and limb for the cause of freedom in the Arab world to “beware the French” by being vigilant against their “behind the scenes machinations and manoeuvrings”.

Remarkably, my fear of French deceit has been realised far quicker than I imagined. After first colonising and then propping up for decades some of the worst despots in North Africa with economic, financial and political support, the French government found itself wrong-footed by the overthrow of Tunisia’s long-running autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Let us not forget that just days before Ben Ali was deposed in January, French officials – in the form of the now discredited former foreign minister Michele Alliot-Marie – offered the Tunisian regime security assistance in quelling the protests, while the same officials were making merriment in Tunisia on private holidays paid for by Ben Ali’s cronies.

To quote again from my previous article: “How often are the French wont to proclaim liberté, égalité, fraternité as their most fundamental values? As far as French policy in North Africa is concerned, we may add another: Fallacy.” As recent events have unfolded, however, I admit that I erred by overlooking one more very official French value: Hypocrisy.

In an effort not to be completely left behind by the massive political convulsions currently shaking the Middle East region, French political cunningness has been on ample display recently under the guise of offering French support to downtrodden Arab populations. At the receiving end of French ire have been the forces of Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. The French political and military establishment has been desperately trying to redeem itself from its earlier Tunisian debacle by attempting to take the lead in bombing Gaddafi’s forces, albeit under a UN mandate, and thereby advertising its humanity.

However, the irony of the French unleashing their prestigious Rafale fighter jets on Gaddafi’s forces, the very same jets that France sought to sell Libya following a $6.5bn arms sale in 2007, is glaring. Back then, Gaddafi was obviously a good guy and selling him sophisticated weapons was nothing but a noble enterprise, especially when so many business opportunities were at stake. Besides, it was not like Gaddafi was going to use the planes against his own people, right?

A faux pas (if indeed that is what it was) by the French interior minister, Claude Guéant, has not helped the French cause: He boldly described his country’s military action in Libya as a “crusade,” a choice of words that will not be lost on Libyans and Arabs, more widely. The French and other Europeans have carried out many a ‘crusade’ against the Middle East throughout history, leading to the deaths of millions of people. It is not for nothing that modern Algeria is known as balad el million shaheed in honour of the million or so martyrs who perished at the hands of the French during the war of independence in 1954-1962.

Given France’s penchant for selectivity, therefore, was there really any surprise when the Polish prime minister, Donald Tusk, condemned Europe’s participation in bombing Libya as “hypocrisy”? Tusk said such actions gave the impression that Europe only intervened when oil interests were at stake. Perhaps the French establishment would concur.

Where is the liberté at home?

Now you would think that given France’s belated rush to save North African, and mostly Muslim, lives, the country was a model of solid social relations and stability at home. Suppose those Libyan civilians fleeing daily barrages from Gaddafi’s tanks fled to France, they would enjoy a peaceful future there free from stigmatisation and social isolation, right? Well, no. The men may get by but the women, if they choose to wear the niqab, had better stay in Libya.

As of today, the French state will forbid face coverings in public, a measure which, while couched in generalisations, is aimed specifically at outlawing some 2,000 or so Muslim women from deciding how they dress and conform to their religion.

The government of President Nicholas Sarkozy has pledged the full force of the law to enforce these measures. Furthermore, in a bid to outdo the fascist tendencies in the country, Sarkozy’s ruling party, the UMP, has gone to such extremes as to question the role of Islam in republican France. Apparently Islamic values and practices are not compatible with the French way of life.

Beware Libyans, Tunisians, Egyptians and a whole plethora of other political refugees currently battling repression. If you are thinking of escaping to France, know that your “alien” values may not be welcome there.

The startling thing about France’s actions is not just the audacity with which these policies are pursued but also the belief that such measures will have no bearing on external relations.

While the two faces of France are now on public display, this hypocrisy barely raises any questions at home.

Sarkozy’s arms dealer and business acquaintances will rush to the Middle East, to the Gulf, to North Africa, at the next available opportunity to sign multi-billion euro contracts. Here they will intermingle with Muslims, male and female (yes females also step out of their homes in the Arab world) who, lo and behold, may be veiled.

Why are they veiled? Not because their husbands beat them into covering their heads and faces but because they have chosen to do so. (Is it really so hard to believe that they can decide for themselves?) Now France may well have a problem with such a choice. Then it should make a point by breaking all relations with this region, so that the rest of the world knows what the French feel about the practice of niqab, and, for that matter, halal food and Islamic finance. And, for good measure, perhaps male circumcision too. It is always good to know where people and governments stand on certain issues. Sarkozy and his coterie should have enough courage to declare publicly their animosity towards Islamic practices, if indeed that is what they harbour.

French government policy will not create some form of ‘moderate Islam’ by forcing women to uncover their faces. If it has achieved anything, it has successfully unveiled French hypocrisy and bigotry towards Muslims. The people of the Middle East are not fooled by France’s diversionary tactics in pretending to back human rights in Libya.

Lest anyone ask how Gaddafi’s brutality should be dealt with if not militarily, that is not the point of contention. The Gaddafi gang rightly needs to be defeated with broad international, including Arab, military support. Suffice to say that France need not overexert itself in this endeavour given how bankrupt its recent policies have proven. A tiresome, hypocritical, wannabe global power will not redeem itself so easily.

Source

Tunisia dissolves Ben Ali party

Standard

March 9, 2011

Pro-democracy protesters have been calling for the party's dismantling since Ben Ali was ousted.

A Tunisian court has dissolved the former ruling party of the country’s deposed leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The court in Tunis, the capital, announced the end of the Rally for Constitutional Democracy (RCD) on Wednesday, but the party said it would appeal against the decision.

The chamber “decided to dissolve the Rally for Constitutional Democacy and to liquidate its assets and funds,” the court said in its ruling, triggering a burst of applause.

Pro-democracy activists have been demanding the party’s dismantling since Ben Ali was ousted on January 14 after a popular uprising, that triggered unrest across the Arab world.

The RCD was suspended from official activities in February by the interior ministry, after Ben Ali fled the country.

The party, which claimed a membership of two million people out of a population of around 10.4 million, was accused of violating the constitution to set up a one-party “totalitarian regime” under Ben Ali.

Since it was created in 1988, the party had never been audited and had never filed annual accounts, the interior ministry said.

Source

Tunisian PM resigns amid protests

Standard

Sun Feb 27, 2011

Tunisia's interim Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announced resignation on Feb.27, 2011.

Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi has stepped down after security forces shot dead three pro-democracy protesters in the capital, Tunis.

“I have decided to quit as prime minister,” Ghannouchi told a news conference.

“I am not ready to be the person who takes decisions that would end up causing casualties,” Ghannouchi said.

“This resignation will serve Tunisia, and the revolution and the future of Tunisia,” he added.

The resignation comes after fresh clashes in Tunis left three people dead and dozens more wounded. Over 100 others were detained on Saturday.

Police also used tear gas to disperse demonstrators out to demand the resignation of Ghannouchi’s transitional government.

Ghannouchi – the premier of the ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali — had been tasked with leading a caretaker government until elections are held.

His resignation was one of the main demands of protesters, who fear their revolution could be hijacked by Western-backed figures.

Ghannouchi’s government has announced, in response to the growing protests, that it will hold elections by mid-July.

They say they do not want any members of the ruling party in the post-revolution government.

On Friday, tens of thousands of Tunisians took to the streets, calling on Ghannouchi to step down and hand over power to an elected government.

The revolution that ousted Ben Ali after 23 years in power has sparked off other popular uprisings in North African and Middle Eastern countries. One of them led to the downfall of long-time Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

Source

Libya and the Arab revolt in perspective

Standard

By the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL)
FEBRUARY 24, 2011

Imperialism has nothing to offer the Middle East

The Arab world

“From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli, we fight our country’s battles in the air, on land, and sea.” So begins the official hymn of the U.S. Marines, setting out in one short sentence the long history of U.S. expansionism and intervention across the globe. Tripoli, the current capital of Libya, has a special place in this history because of the Barbary Wars, the first wars waged by the U.S. government in the early 1800s to protect its commercial interests in the Mediterranean Sea.

Starting in the 1940s, the Middle East and North Africa—which hold two-thirds of the world’s known oil reserves—again assumed a central place in U.S. foreign policy and geopolitical strategy. Reading statements from the State Department and the White House, one might think that all Washington cares about is peace, democracy, human rights and freedom of speech. They have continuously expressed “alarm” and “disapproval” at the incidents of violence.

A quick review of U.S. foreign policy in the region reveals that the government has never had an interest in peace, democracy or universal rights. They care not one whit about the Arab masses. Every word out of their mouths, no matter how it is sugar-coated, flows from their desire to retain U.S. political and economic hegemony.

To maintain access to the region’s vast natural resources, the U.S. government has propped up the most violent dictatorships of all kinds, from secular to religious. It has poured in hundreds of millions of dollars to buy politicians and influence elections. It has carried out countless covert operations—sabotage, assassinations, infiltration—to undermine popular figures and movements that have resisted U.S. domination. It has armed the colonial-settler state of Israel to the teeth, allowing it to strike out against its Arab neighbors and suppress the Palestinian people’s struggle for self-determination. It has helped divide nations, artificially created new ones, fought against all attempts at real Arab unity, and worked tirelessly to prevent any strong, independent countries from emerging in the region.

Washington imposed sanctions that took the lives of over one million Iraqis, including hundreds of thousands of children before 2003. Well over 1.3 million Iraqis have died as a result of the current war and occupation. In addition, there are 2 million people displaced inside of Iraq, and 2.5 million who are refugees in neighboring Syria and Jordan.

There are no figures available for the number of Iraqis wounded, but the most conservative estimate would be twice the number killed. Altogether, nearly one in three Iraqis have been killed, wounded or displaced since 2003. The spirit of resistance has not died in the Iraqi people, but their nation has been torn apart.

A third wave of Arab revolution

What is taking place across the Middle East and North Africa is the third great wave of revolts and revolutions against colonialism, neo-colonialism, and the regimes installed and sustained by imperialism. It is a reaffirmation that there is indeed an Arab Nation divided into many countries. While there are many differences between (and often within) Arab countries, there are also powerful elements of shared nationhood: language, common territory, culture and so on. How else can it be explained that the upheaval that started in Tunisia in January has spread to at least 10 other countries in the Arab world—and none outside?

The first revolutionary wave following World War I fought the takeover and division of the Middle East by British and French imperialism. The revolts were so strong in Egypt and Iraq that the British granted nominal independence to Egypt in 1922 and Iraq in 1932, while in reality retaining colonial control of both.

The second wave followed World War II with the overthrow of the old dependent regimes and monarchies in Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Libya in the 1950s and 1960s, the victorious anti-colonial wars in Algeria and Yemen in the 1960s, the rise of the Palestinian revolutionary movement in the late 1960s, and the civil war in Lebanon in the 1970s, where the progressive Lebanese National Movement/PLO alliance was on the verge of victory until Syria intervened against it. There were also mass Palestinian intifadas in 1936-39, 1987-1991 and 2000-2002.

During these first two waves, the U.S. government and its allies were able to preserve the police-state hereditary monarchies in Jordan, Morocco, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and, above all in their estimation, Saudi Arabia. Starting with Anwar Sadat, and especially with his successor Hosni Mubarak, the U.S. government was able to buy off Egypt and bring it decisively into their sphere of influence.

These states became strategic beachheads for U.S. imperialism, especially important in checking the influence of Iran after its popular, nationalist revolution of 1979.

Taken collectively, the protest movements and uprisings today in the Arab world have threatened this whole arrangement of power. They have proven once again—to the dismay of Washington—that it is the masses of people who make and change history. The U.S. government is not in control of events, but is desperately trying to influence them behind the scenes to guarantee the preservation of its political and economic interests.

Yemen and Bahrain

While the U.S. government now speaks about “universal rights” and “freedom of expression” in Yemen, just last year they were bombing it with drone attacks. In 2009, special-operations commandos began training President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s security forces—the same forces now firing on protesters.

In 2010, the U.S. government pumped in $155 in military aid to help the Yemeni president fight against two separate rebel movements. While all of this was justified under the “war on terror,” the U.S.-backed airstrike in December 2009 killed 42 civilians, the vast majority of whom were women and children. A released Wikileaks cable from 2009 revealed that Saleh gave the Pentagon an “open door” to launch bombing assaults on any person or group deemed a “terrorist” by Washington.

The absolute monarchy in Bahrain has been fully backed by Washington for its entire existence.

Bahrain was a long-time protectorate of Britain, which exerted all of its pressure to keep the country from holding democratic elections. The majority Shia population occupies the lowest rungs in the Bahraini economy and is disenfranchised in every way. Until 2002, women could not vote. All political opposition has been suppressed. But the United States has protected the kingdom throughout. Why? Because of Bahrain’s oil wealth, its increasingly important role in regional and world finance, and its location on the geo-strategic Persian Gulf.

Does Washington care about democracy in the Middle East? Hardly!

The White House declares its concern for the protesters only to protect their own image and mythology. In reality, it is an enemy of the Arab masses who have taken it upon themselves to reclaim their countries and their destinies. To the extent that the people succeed in defeating the dictatorships and replacing them with freer and more just societies, they will have to confront the Empire. It will not, and cannot, be an honest partner in this process. The Arab people, of course, know this all too well. From Tunisia to Yemen, the deep skepticism and hostility toward Western governments is well-deserved.

Western powers bring death and destruction, nothing else

This must be a starting point for activists located in the United States and Europe when it comes to the Libyan revolt.

Unlike in Egypt, where it was clear that all of society with the exception of a tiny comprador elite opposed Mubarak, there is comparatively little information about the remaining base of support for Col. Moammar Gaddafi. If it is substantial, the country could fall into civil war with a scale of violence that far exceeds that seen in Egypt. If such a tragedy ensues, a variety of political forces—from liberal to neoconservative—will begin to call for the United States government to “do something.” This could take the form of sanctions, U.N. intervention, or the imposition of no-fly zones.

Already some, like neoconservative Paul Wolfowitz, an architect of the Iraqi genocide, are advocating for such a “pro-active” approach. Sen. John Kerry, another pro-imperialist politician, is calling for sanctions, despite the horrific toll such a policy took on the Iraqi people during the 1990s.

Such threats must be absolutely rejected by progressive people. For one, the West would love to get boots on the ground in the region, with which they could influence and pressure the emerging Arab revolution. Secondly, these measures would be perceived as, and amount to, acts of war. The “peacekeeping” missions of the United States in Somalia and Yugoslavia were nothing other than bloody and destructive wars that widened conflict instead of solving it. Ask the people’s movements in Haiti or Palestine if the United Nation’s blue-helmeted occupations are any better.

The language of “we have to do something” is based on a fundamental misconception; the U.S., U.N. and NATO militaries are not “ours” to begin with, so “we” cannot use them for progressive aims.

The Libyan revolt

The revolt in Libya appears to have started among the long-time opposition to Gaddafi in the city of Benghazi. Initial reports indicated that the movement in Libya was not primarily composed of youth, as in Egypt and elsewhere, but of lawyers, judges, doctors and police officers. Very early on, it appeared that the defection of police and military units provided the anti-Gaddafi movement with arms. The fact that they have now reportedly “seized” entire cities in both the east and west of the country reflects a high degree of military sophistication.

Libya sits between Tunisia and Egypt, and it was only natural that the Arab revolt would draw in and inspire discontented youth in Libya. Their protest against Gaddafi undoubtedly has different roots than that of the middle-class opposition, which for decades resented Gaddafi’s formerly anti-imperialist stances. Like their counterparts elsewhere, they are in the streets because of high unemployment, inequality, and to demand a more open political system. The Libyan state’s military response—which, according to Al-Jazeera, included indiscriminate bombing of certain sections of Tripoli where protesters had gathered—appears to have only intensified opposition to the regime. As we write, the revolt appears to have control over broad sections of Libyan territory.

At present, the revolt has not produced any organizational form or leader that would make it possible to characterize it politically. It does not appear to be led or directed by “foreign forces.”

The National Front for the Salvation of Libya, an exile group that has been interviewed constantly by foreign media as a leading opposition force, was for decades trained by the CIA. They are loudly demanding that the imperialist countries “take action” against Gaddafi, and have appeared frustrated that the West has so far only issued statements. It is unclear what the NFSL has on the ground in Libya, and what role they are playing in the revolt.

Protesters have hoisted Libya’s first national flag, that of the exploitative, U.S.-backed monarch King Idris (1951-1969) over the areas they have seized. Some in the Libyan exile community consciously call for the return of the Idris monarchy, but it is unclear how deeply this sentiment runs among those in revolt.

Until the 1969 revolution, Libya was home to the U.S. Wheelus Air Force base—the largest airbase in the world at the time—and the average Libyan lived in dire poverty. For these reasons, there was essentially no resistance when Gaddafi and other military officers overthrew Idris. To return to such a kingdom—the goal of opportunistic monarchists in exile—could only be considered a step backward for the Libyan people, and would stand opposed to those striving for democracy.

During its leftist phase after 1969, the Libyan government used the country’s vast oil resources to carry out profound economic and social development, including in the fields of education, health care, nutrition, and a massive water project. In its proclamations, the Libyan government placed the country’s development within a radical and populist context, and promoted semi-socialist political and economic concepts.

Whereas in the 1950s over 80 percent of the population could not read or write, illiteracy was almost completely wiped out by the early 1970s. The Gaddafi government also provided significant aid to neighboring states and to national liberation movements around the world. Libya is still ranked the highest among African countries in the Human Development Index—which includes such factors as living conditions, life expectancy and education.

It was during the 1970s and 1980s that Libya was demonized, sanctioned and attacked by the U.S. government and its allies. In 1986, President Reagan ordered the bombing of downtown Tripoli in an attempt to assassinate Gaddafi. Gaddafi survived, but his infant daughter and more than 300 others were killed this murderous assault. Many more were maimed and wounded.

Although the Libyan regime appealed to the popular masses in its political program, the regime also included bourgeois forces within both the military and civilian sectors. Over time and under relentless pressure from western imperialism, these bourgeois forces—many of whom looked to the West—strengthened. In recent years, inequality has increased as the Libyan government has ushered in neoliberal reforms that have stripped social programs and subsidies for the poor and increasingly turned over the country’s oil wealth to foreign corporations.

Gaddafi is not a puppet of imperialism like Mubarak was, but he has decisively broken with the Arab popular liberation movements and has made many concessions to imperialism over the past decade. He has dismantled Libya’s weapons programs, officially supported the U.S. “war on terror,” and grown increasingly close to Italy, the former colonizer. In 2008, Gaddafi signed an accord with right-wing Italian leader Sergio Berlusconi to stop African immigrants from entering Italy in exchange for $5 billion in assistance over 25 years. While continuing to condemn Israel rhetorically, he expelled Palestinian migrant workers in the 1990s.

Gaddafi praised the popular uprising in Egypt, while also praising Tunisia’s former dictator Ben Ali after he was overthrown.

The developments in the last decade have greatly and understandably diminished his credibility among progressive and anti-imperialist forces in the region, almost all of which have declared their solidarity with the Libyan revolt.

While the U.S. media is in a particular frenzy against Gaddafi—speaking very suggestively about military intervention—Washington’s official line on Libya is at present similar to their messages regarding their puppets in Bahrain and Yemen. But as the revolt continues, taking on the characteristics of a civil war, U.S. policy may be shifting.

President Obama said about Libya on Feb. 23: “I have also asked my administration to prepare the full range of options that we have to respond to this crisis. This includes those actions we may take and those we will coordinate with our allies and partners or those that we’ll carry out through multilateral institutions.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed this: “Everything will be on the table. We will look at all options.”

While the U.S. policymakers dream about owning Libya outright, and replacing Gaddafi with a client regime, their main concern is now, as it has always been, stable and guaranteed control over Middle East oil resources. To the extent Washington becomes more “pro-active” against Libya, it will mean they have devised a plan—or found someone better—to do that job.

As the third wave of revolution spreads, deepens, and faces new contradictions, it is the people of Libya and the Arab world who will determine their future. For activists here, our main task is to mobilize in opposition to any and all U.S. threats against Libya and the other countries of the Middle East and North Africa.

Source

Protests in Iran called for: A people’s revolution or “color revolution”?

Standard

“Colored revolutions always occur in a nation with strategic, natural resources: gas, oil, military bases and geopolitical interests. And they also always take place in countries with socialist-leaning, anti-imperialist governments. The movements promoted by US agencies in those countries are generally anti-communist, anti-socialist, pro-capitalist and pro-imperialist.”

~Eva Golinger

by BJ Murphy

On February 13, 2011, what is resembling the beginning stages of a “mass protest” in Iran two years ago after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won his second term in office, Iranians had gathered themselves on their rooftops, chanting “God is great” and “Down with the dictator.”1

It is being said that the revolutions taking place all across the Arab region of the world are what’s inspiring these calls for protest in Iran. The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt were most certainly formulated through the oppressed people’s of both countries. What is instead being called for in Iran is something entirely different.

According to Al Jazeera, “Monday’s protests have been called at the behest of Mir Hossein Mousavi,” a popular dissident to the upper class minority in Iran who ran as a presidential candidate back in 2009.2 He and his supporters were also the main oppositional forces that led the so-called “Green Revolution”, calling for the overthrowing of President Ahmadinejad with claims of the election being rigged.

Despite compelling evidence that President Ahmadinejad was the clear victor of the 2009 election,3 the pro-Mousavi forces persisted on with their “Green Revolution”. This, of course, made mainstream headlines around the world, including the United States. What didn’t make to mainstream headlines all-too-well was on who exactly was funding the pro-Mousavi forces.

Hossein Mousavi and the NED

Kenneth Timmerman: The National Endowment for Democracy has spent millions of dollars promoting ‘color’ revolutions. Some of that money appears to have made it into the hands of pro-Mousavi groups, who have ties to non-governmental organizations outside Iran that the National Endowment for Democracy funds.

According to The Muslim Observer, the day before the 2009 election in Iran, neoconservative Kenneth Timmerman had stated that “there’s talk of a ‘green revolution’ in Tehran.” He continued further by stating “the National Endowment for Democracy has spent millions of dollars promoting ‘color’ revolutions [...] Some of that money appears to have made it into the hands of pro-Mousavi groups, who have ties to non-governmental organizations outside Iran that the National Endowment for Democracy funds.”4

Be warned, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Kenneth Timmerman are no strangers to one another. Timmerman is also executive director to the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI), which is a US based Iranian dissident organization who advocate regime change in Iran. According to the NED’s Democracy Projects Database, in 1995 the FDI had received funds of up to $50,000 by the NED, and also another $25,000 in 1996.5

To better understand the NED, according to Bill Berkowitz (writer for progressive media outlet AlterNet), it “provides money, technical support, supplies, training programs, media know-how, public relations assistance, and state-of-the art equipment to select political groups, civic organizations, labor unions, dissident movements, student groups, book publishers, newspapers, and other media. The organization’s aim is to destabilize progressive movements, particularly those with a socialist or democratic-socialist bent.”6

One could also say the NED is one of many CIA-fronts. “A lot of what we [NED] do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA,” says Allen Weinstein, co-founder of the NED.7

According to foreign policy analyst Stephen Gowans, “The ICNC and NED are fronts for Western ruling class interests.”8

The ICNC and NED

Stephen Gowans: The ICNC and NED are fronts for Western ruling class interests.

So how are the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) and NED in comparison? According to Venezuelan-American attorney Eva Golinger, “Protests and destabilization actions are always planned around an electoral campaign and process, to raise tensions and questions of potential fraud, and to discredit the elections in the case of a loss for the opposition, which is generally the case. The same agencies are always present, funding, training and advising: USAID, NED, IRI, NDI, Freedom House, AEI and ICNC.” She continues by stating the “strategy seeks to debilitate and disorganize the pillars of State power, neutralizing security forces and creating a sensation of chaos and instability.”9

So, between the ICNC and the NED, was the “Green Revolution”, led by pro-Mousavi forces, orchestrated by the West? Well, “even if you could show the uprising was caused by Washington’s attempts to orchestrate it, or arose solely from internal factors, what difference would it make? The fact remains that Washington did try to meddle in the internal affairs of Iran, to overthrow the government for reasons related to its politics and economic policies, and that it did, is intolerable,” says Gowans.10

But what internal affairs is Gowans talking about? In 2006, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice requested “$75 million to promote democracy in Iran, which she said would be added to $10 million already appropriated for that purpose.” But why? “American officials [...] said the election last year of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose actions and statements have alarmed the West, had strengthened the hands of those who want to promote internal change in Iran.”11

Only a few months after of that same year, the ICNC held “training sessions every three months or so on civil disobedience, hoping to foment a nonviolent revolt in Iran,” which were secretly held in Dubai, because they “wanted to find a place where we were safe, where they [Iran] can’t send paramilitaries to gun you down, and where large numbers of Iranians go.”12

Three years later and after the 2nd election won by President Ahmadinejad, in order to keep support of the “Green Revolution” alive, a United4Iran rally was organized. United4Iran, who played itself as a so-called “human rights organization,” was being funded “by the US National Endowment for Democracy, an organization established by the US government to do overtly what the CIA used to do covertly (i.e., funnel money to groups and organization working, often unknowingly, toward US foreign policy goals.)”13

Is history repeating itself?

Of course, with the Mousavi-backed protest still yet to be held, we can only speculate whether or not the US is helping fund this protest as a means of fomenting another color revolution.

Though, given our knowledge of Mousavi’s past dealings with various US-backed CIA-fronts who advocate regime change in Iran, and with the Arab world now revolting against US-backed dictatorships all across the region, one cannot but rationally signal the alarms of a counterrevolution in our midst.

Red Love & Salutes!

———————————————————-

1. “Tehran 13 Feb 2011 / تهران 24 بهمن- 4- یوسف آباد”, Youtube.com. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NsS_ie3wnY

2. D. Parvaz, “Iran opposition planning protests”, Al Jazeera, February 13, 2011.

3. Stephen Gowans, “Behind Washington’s Iran policy: Myths and reality”, what’s left, February 26, 2010.

4. Paul C. Roberts, “Is This the Culmination of Two Years of Destabilization?”, The Muslim Observer, April 8, 2010.

5. National Endowment for Democracy. http://tinyurl.com/5unxo7v

6. Bill Berkowitz, “NED [National Endowment for Democracy] Targets Venezuela”, Third World Traveler, May 2004.

7. Blum, William. Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower. Common Courage, 2000. 180. Print.

8. Stephen Gowans, “The Revolution Will Not Be Assisted By The ICNC (The Counter-Revolution Is Another Matter)”, what’s left, March 12, 2010.

9. Eva Golinger, “Colored Revolutions: A New Form of Regime Change, Made in USA”, Venezuela Analysis, February 15, 2010.

10. Stephen Gowans, “A sober view of Iran”, what’s left, July 1, 2009.

11. Steven R. Weisman, “Rice Is Seeking Millions to Prod Changes in Iran”, The New York Times, February 16, 2006.

12. Hassan M. Fattah, “U.S. keeps finger on pulse of Iran from Dubai – Africa & Middle East – International Herald Tribune”, The New York Times, October 20, 2006.

13. Stephen Gowans, “United4Iran: Financial and Corporate Interests Mobilize the Left”, what’s left, July 24, 2009.

The Emerging Counter-Revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt

Standard

“President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down as president of Egypt and has assigned the higher council of the armed forces to run the affairs of the country,” Suleiman said in a brief televised address. “May God help everybody.”

Cheers could be heard in the streets of Cairo even before Suleiman stopped speaking. And while there was no way to know whether the army would make good on its previous pledges to safeguard democratic elections, the crowds were euphoric at the news that Mubarak’s 30 years of authoritarian rule were over.

“Egypt is free! Egypt is free!” they shouted in Tahrir Square. “The regime has fallen!”

-The Washington Post (February 11, 2011)

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

An arrogant pharaoh has fallen. Egyptians may be chanting that their country is free, but their struggle is far from over. The United Arab Republic of Egypt is not free yet. The old regime and its apparatus are still very much in place and waiting for the dust to settle. The Egyptian military is officially in control of Egypt and the counter-revolution is emerging. A new phase of the struggle for liberty has started.

The so-called regime-desired “transitional phases” in Tunisia and Egypt are being used to buy time in order to do three things. The first objective is to erode and eventually break the people’s popular demands. The second goal is to work to preserve neo-liberal economic policies, which will be used to subvert the political system, and to tighten the straightjacket of external debts. Finally, the third motivation and objective is the preparation of counter-revolution.

The Self-Selected Egyptian “Wise Men”

Unqualified figures are emerging, which claim to be speaking or leading the Arab people. This includes the so-called committee of “Wise Men” in Egypt. These unelected figures are supposedly negotiating with the Mubarak regime on behalf of the Egyptian population, but they have no legitimacy as representatives of the people. The Secretary-General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, is amongst them. Secretary-General Moussa has also said that he is interested in becoming a future cabinet minister in Cairo. All of these figures are either regime insiders or agents of the status quo.

Amongst these self-chosen individuals also is the chief of Orascom Telecom Holdings (O.T.H.) S.A.E., Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris. Bloomberg Newsweek had this to say about Sawiri: “Most Egyptian businessmen are keeping low profiles these days. The protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square blame them for Egypt’s ills, and mobs have even trashed some of their properties. Yet Egypt’s most prominent mogul, Naguib Sawiris, chairman of Orascom Telecom Holding, the Middle East’s biggest telecome company is in Cairo fielding calls on his mobile phone, appearing on TV, and (as a member of an informal committee of “wise men”) negotiating with newly appointed Vice-President Omar Suleiman about a gradual transfer of power away from President Hosni Mubarak. Far from discouraged, the billionaire thinks a more vibrant Egyptian economy may emerge from the turmoil.” [1]

The so-called “Wise Men” in Egypt are involved in bravado. To whom is the power “gradually” being “transferred”? Another unelected figure, like Suleiman?

What is the nature of the negotiations? Power sharing between an unelected regime and a new cast? There is nothing to negotiate with unelected despots. The role that the “Wise Men” play is that of a “manufactured opposition” that will keep the interests behind the Mubarak regime in place and also dilute the real opposition movements in Egypt.

Al-Mebazaa Given Dictator Powers while Tunisian Military Reservists are Mobilized

In Tunisia, military reservists are being summoned for duty to manage the protesters. [2] The mobilization of the Tunisian military has been justified under the pretext of combating lawlessness and violence. The Tunisian regime itself has been behind most this lawlessness and violence.

At the same time as the mobilization of Tunisian reservists, Fouad Al-Mebazaa, the interim president of Tunisia, has been given dictatorial powers. [3] Al-Mebazaa was the man that Ben Ali selected as parliamentary speaker of Tunisia and a leading figure inside Ben Ali’s Constitutional Democratic Rally (CDP) Party. Protesters peacefully tried to stop the members of the Tunisian Parliament from voting to grant dictatorial powers to Al-Mebazaa by blocking entry into the Tunisian Parliament.

The members of the Tunisian Parliament are all members of the “old regime.” Amid the protests, the Tunisian Parliament still managed to go forward with the plan: “Lawmakers eventually bypassed demonstrators by accessing the voting hall through a service door, the TAP news agency reported. In a 177-16 vote, the lower house approved a plan to give Interim President Fouad Mebazaa temporary powers to pass laws by decree.” [4] The next day, the Tunisian Senate would approve this too. [5]

Al-Mebazza can now select governors and officials at will, change electoral laws, give amnesty to whomsoever he pleases, and bypass all Tunisian state institutions through his decrees. The passing of the motion to give Al-Mebazza what amounts to dictatorial powers is an illustration of the facets of “cosmetic democracy.” This act by the kangaroo Tunisian Parliament is being passed off as a democratic act of voting, but in reality all its members were undemocratically selected by the Ben Ali regime.

The Generals of the Egyptian Military and Vice-President Suleiman are a Continuation of Mubarak

In Egypt the commanders of the military have stated that they will not allow the protests to continue for much longer. The military leadership of Egypt are all heavily invested into the kleptocratic status quo of the Mubarak regime. Egyptian generals or flag officers are all wealthy members of the Egyptian capitalist class. Without any distinctions, the leadership of the Egyptian military and the Mubarak regime are one and the same. All key figures in the Mubarak regime are from the ranks of the military.

Omar Suleiman, the newly appointed vice-president of Egypt and the general who was the former head of the intelligence services of Egypt, has started to back-track on the promises made by the Mubarak regime and himself. The New York Times reported that “Omar Suleiman of Egypt says he does not think it is time to lift the 30-year-old emergency law that has been used to suppress and imprison opposition leaders.” [6] Just days before Mubarak’s resignation, Suleiman had also stated: “He does not think that President Hosni Mubarak needs to resign before his term ends in September [2011]. And he does not think [Egypt] is ready for democracy.” [7]

Battles have been Won, But the Struggle Continues…

The stakes are getting higher. The people of Tunisia and Egypt should be aware that the U.S. government and the European Union are politically hedging their bets. They support the counter-revolutions of the old regimes, but are also working to co-opt and control the outcomes of the protest movements. In another development, the U.S. and NATO are also making naval deployments into the Eastern Mediterranean. Specifically with Egypt in mind, this too could be meant to aid the counter-revolution, but it can also be used to intervene against a successful revolution.

The events in Tunisia and Egypt have proven wrong all the false assumptions about the Arab peoples. The Tunisian and Egyptian people have acted peacefully and intelligently. They have also proven that the assumption of an advanced political culture in Western Europe, North America, or Australia is merely utter nonsense used to justify repression of other peoples.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

NOTES

[1] Stanley Reed, “Egypt’s Telecom Mogul Embraces Uprising,” Bloomberg Businessweek, February 10, 2011.
[2] “Tunisia calls up reserve troops amid unrest,” Associated Press (AP), February 7, 2011.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Kaouther Larbi, “Tunisia Senate grants leader wide powers,” Agence France-Presse (AFP), February 10, 2011.
[6] Helene Cooper and David E. Sanger, “In Egypt, US Weighs Push For Change With Stability,” The New York Times, February 8, 2011, A1.
[7] Ibid.

Source

Tunisia calls up military reservists

Standard

Tue Feb 8, 2011

Soldiers from the army stand guard as Tunisia's National Assembly is in session in Tunis on February 7, 2011.

The Tunisian interim government has called up military reservists to join the army in efforts to tackle unrest in the country three weeks after the initial victory of the popular revolution.

“The Defense Ministry has called on retired members of the army, navy, and air force to go to the regional centers of conscription and mobilization nearest to their place of residence,” Tunisia’s official TAP news agency reported on Tuesday.

The caretaker government has said the measure is an attempt to restore order before the country’s first free elections, which are scheduled to be held in June, The Guardian reported.

Hundreds of Tunisian protesters gathered outside the parliament on Monday to prevent the representatives from entering the building, calling for the dissolution of the legislature.

The Tunisian parliament, which is dominated by former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) party, recently passed a bill giving the interim government emergency powers.

In addition, hundreds of Tunisian Foreign Ministry staff staged a protest in front of the ministry’s building on Monday, demanding that Foreign Minister Ahmed Ounaiss resign.

The protesters were angry about the fact that Ounaiss praised the French foreign minister and said he was not worthy of the country’s revolution.

Over the past three days, at least five people have lost their lives in the worst violence to hit Tunisia since Ben Ali’s hasty departure to Saudi Arabia on January 14.

The interim government has blamed the wave of violence on a plot to stir up panic and undermine the revolution devised by the old guard of the RCD party.

According to the United Nations, at least 219 people have been killed and 510 others injured during the Tunisian revolution.

Source