Middle East

The mayoral election in Istanbul on 23 June 2019 represents a significant blow to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) won with almost 55 percent of the vote, bringing an end to the AKP’s dominance of the city, which lasted over 20 years. Despite being a local election, it has been become a rallying point for anti-AKP sentiments and ultimately a damning referendum on the current leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Sparks have been flying recently between the US government and the Iranian regime. Last night, US president Trump ordered missile strikes on Iran, but then abruptly cancelled them. The incident was the peak (to this point) of weeks of tensions between the two governments. The aborted strike came after Iran shot down a US military drone somewhere near the Strait of Hormuz. The US claims the drone was in international airspace. Iranian authorities, however, claim the drone was inside Iranian airspace when it was shot down.

In a video recorded yesterday (20 June), Hamid Alizadeh, writer for In Defence of Marxism, discusses the rising tensions between the USA and Iran, with Washington accusing the Tehran regime (amongst other things) of attacking two oil tankers. It is clear that the bellicose Trump administration, along with their reactionary allies in the Middle East, are looking to thwart the power and influence of Iran in the region, in order to assert their own imperialist interests.

On Monday 17 June, the former President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, collapsed and died in court while on trial for espionage against the Egyptian state. Morsi, who suffered from diabetes and chronic kidney and liver conditions, had been imprisoned since 2013, when his presidency was overthrown by one of the largest mass movements in human history.

As with all of the elections in the past period in Turkey, the local elections which took place on Sunday 31 March were in reality a referendum on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But while Erdogan used to score victory after victory with ease, this time important dents were made in his image of invincibility.

On Tuesday (26 March), the old general, Gaid Saleh, appeared again on Algerian state television to read a statement, with great difficulty and many errors. He was keen to start, as usual, by warning the Algerian people that their protests “might be exploited by hostile local and external forces, which resort to suspicious manoeuvres aimed at destabilising the country”, without specifying who these forces are.

On 9 April, a new parliament will be elected in Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu, the current prime minister from the nationalist Likud party, has to face corruption charges. In order to hold on to power, Netanyahu is trying to lean on the support of several far-right parties. At the same time, Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan, a more moderate and liberal, but still nationalist alliance is leading the polls.

We are very proud to announce the publication of Reason in Revolt: Modern Science and Marxist Philosophyin Farsi. Since its publication, there has been huge interest in the book in all corners of the world. Over the years, it has been translated into Spanish, Italian, German, Greek, Urdu, Bahasa Indonesia, Portuguese and Turkish. Now, after three years of hard work by translator Saghar Sagharnia, the book will be available to a whole new audience, published by Zharf publishing house and available in bookstores throughout Iran. While the sanctions on Iran complicate matters, we are attempting to make it

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On 1 March, the Exit Theatre group in Tehran, Iran organised a very successful conference on the relevance of Marxism in the modern era as a part of their “Exit discussion” series. The meeting, which was focused around Alan Woods’ book, The Ideas of Karl Marx, was opened by screening the teledrama “Marx in Soho”, a 2018 production by Exit Theatre, written by American historian Howard Zinn.

A wave of protests is sweeping Iraq, with the latest taking place on 21 December in Basra. About 250 people gathered outside the temporary headquarters of the provincial council throughout the afternoon to protest against corruption, and demand jobs and better public services. A few weeks before, on the 6 December, 100 protesters were seen mimicking the recent French mass protest movement by wearing yellow high-visibility vests, when they gathered in front of the Basra’s council building and in Baghdad at Tahrir Square.

Almost one year since the most widespread mass protests in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran, there is no sign that the mood of anger and resentment has gone away. While that movement died down due to repression and a lack of leadership or organisation, further protests – as well as strike after strike – have been taking place on a daily basis ever since.

On 3 December, 20,000 people in Tel Aviv protested against violence towards women. The protests followed the murder of two girls – Silvana Tsegai, 12, and Yara Ayoub, 16. This year, 24 girls and women were murdered in Israel, which is a sharp increase compared to the years before. For days, protests were going on and a women‘s strike was called for the following day.

On 2 October, Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, to complete some paperwork so he could marry his Turkish fiancé. He was greeted at the door by a smiling Saudi official. He never came out again. Turkish officials insist they have evidence from inside the Saudi consulate that confirms that Khashoggi was tortured and killed there, his body dismembered and secretly disposed of.

A lot of fuss is being made about what one can and cannot say about the state of Israel. Especially virulent is the campaign against Jeremy Corbyn’s so-called “anti-semitism” in Britain. In reality this is a blatant attempt to silence any criticism of Israel and its discriminatory policies against the Palestinian people. In light of all this, Francesco Merli looks at the new law that openly discriminates against Palestinians living in Israel, officially reducing them to the status of second-class citizens.

The Turkish economy has entered a state of organic instability. A sharpening political conflict with the US, which has imposed punitive tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium imports, has caused the Turkish Lira to plummet in value. At its nadir, the currency was worth 40 percent less than in January. The ‘stabilisation’ of the currency that followed merely meant that, for the past week, dollars could be exchanged for 30 percent more Liras than before the crisis began.

GERD workers

There is a crisis flowing downstream towards the mouth of arguably the world’s longest river. The Nile has been the source of Egypt’s water supply – and therefore the basis of agriculture in the country – for many thousands of years.

The protest movement in southern Iraq has continued into its second week. The protest broke out on Sunday 8 July over the government's inability to provide basic services such as electricity and clean water. The protesters are also demanding jobs for the local population.

On Sunday 24 June, Turkish voters were called to the polls by President Recep Erdogan to confirm his rule. With 52.6 percent of the total votes, Erdogan was re-elected as president of Turkey in the first round.

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