Middle East

This morning the Turkish military shot down a Russian military aircraft on the border with Syria. It is unclear so far whether it was ground fire or Turkish jets that brought down the Russian plane. But that is a mere detail. What is quite clear is that this was a blatant provocation by the Turkish ruling clique.

On Sunday, the party of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the AK Party, won a comfortable majority in Turkey’s parliament. To many of the thousands of radicalised youth and workers this came as a huge shock. How could this blatant murderer and aspiring despot get the support of large sections of the population?

Over the past few weeks international media have reported on growing tensions and daily violence escalating in Palestine and Israel, but they have focussed mainly on the spate of desperate knife attacks by Palestinian youth randomly targeting ordinary Israelis while waiting at bus stops, transiting in public spaces or walking on the streets of Jerusalem and other towns.

Following Saturday's heinous terrorist attack, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in the biggest mass movement since the Gezi Park movement of 2013. But quite contrary to the intentions of the attack, it seems to have isolated the crisis-ridden Erdogan regime even more.

At least 98 people have been killed by two explosions in the largest terror attack in Turkish history, hundreds more have been wounded. This is a clear continuation of the campaign of terror against leftist forces in Turkey, but it has triggered a backlash as tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest against the government and their thugs.

Since last week when Russia began bombing targets inside Syria, Western media has been overflowing with articles about the crimes of Russian imperialism in Syria. But the idea put forward that “moderate” rebels are being bombed by ruthless Russians raises more questions than it answers.

On Monday, for the first time in ten years, Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the UN general assembly, after which he had a closed door meeting with US president Barack Obama. Only one month ago such a meeting would have seemed highly unlikely. Since the Ukrainian crisis relations between western governments and Russia have rapidly deteriorated as severe sanctions have been put on the country and Putin has become the most vilified man in Western media.

Turkey is sliding towards civil war. For the past month tensions in Turkey have been rising to new highs. In order to cut through the class struggle rising against him, Erdoğan has launched a push to provoke a full blown civil war along national lines.

On Friday up to 500,000 protesters took to the streets of Baghdad after a full week of escalating protests all across the southern and central areas of Iraq.

Since last week’s barbaric terrorist attack in the Turkish town of Suruc, the situation in Turkey has dramatically escalated. Under the guise of joining the war on ISIS, Erdogan has launched a major military operation against the the PKK as well as arresting hundreds of Kurdish and Turkish leftist activists.

Yesterday a massacre took place in the district of Suruç in southern Turkey. A massive blast ripped through a meeting of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF) gathered at the Amara Culture Centre. It is reported that at least 300 of the federation's members were gathered at the time of the explosion, and initial numbers indicate a death toll of at least 30 people, in addition to around a hundred wounded. These numbers could rise in the coming days.

Yesterday, the long-awaited nuclear deal between Iran and six major world powers was signed. After 18 days of straight negotiations the parties announced a 100-page agreement which is to set in motion the scaling back of the Iranian nuclear agreement and the lifting of harsh sanctions on Iran. This brings to an end more than three decades of harsh economic sanctions imposed on Iran by US imperialism and marks a complete defeat of the US strategy of intimidation, blackmail and coercion of Iran.

The result of Sunday’s Turkish general elections and the clear defeat of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AK Party mark a qualitative change in the situation in the country and bear important consequences for the whole of the Middle East.

The Turkish general elections on Sunday will be a decisive event for Turkey and the Middle East. The economic boom that the AKP government based itself on for more than a decade is coming to an end and a never-ending series of internal conflicts and corruption scandals have eroded the popularity of Erdogan.

Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of people attended the funeral of 4 victims of a terrorist attack by the Islamic State (IS) which took place last week in the north eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia. This was the second mass funeral in two weeks. The events have brought to the fore the deep contradictions which exist in Saudi Arabia, but which for decades have been more or less hidden by the totalitarian nature of the reactionary regime.

In scenes reminiscent of the huge #blacklivesmatter protests in Baltimore, thousands of Ethiopian Jews have taken to the streets of Tel Aviv and Haifa to protest against the brutal treatment regularly meted out by the police against their community. At the end of April, a shocking video emerged which appeared to show two Israeli police officers savagely beating Ethiopian soldier Damas Fekade in an unprovoked attack.

After six weeks of frantic horse-trading, and with hours to go before a constitutional deadline, the Likud Party of Benjamin Netanyahu has cobbled together a new coalition in Israel. It means that Netanyahu will cling to power with a bare majority of 61 seats in a Knesset of 120 members. The coalition includes all the disparate parties of the right, including the extreme right wing Jewish Home Party, representing the West Bank settlers’ movement. This party will have the ministry of justice and deputy defence minister, among other positions, all of which will be manipulated to enhance and promote Jewish rights and freedoms at the expense of Arabs.

After the initial misadventure of attacking the Houthis in Yemen, arrogantly promoted by King Salman’s youngest, the more serious strategists within the despotic regime are trying to calm down and bring Prince Mohammad bin Salman to some degree of sanity. The despotic regime is wavering in the face of the failure of its acts of aggression.

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