Middle East

Since 15 July, protests over a severe water shortage in Khuzestan province in Iran have developed into a powerful localised movement, which has now spread to all major cities of the province: Shush, Susangard, Izeh, Dezful, Kut Abdullah, Weiss, Mahshahr, Hamidiyeh, Chamran and several areas of Ahvaz. The regime has declared martial law but this has only had the effect of provoking protests in a further 16 provinces.

On 20 June, contracted oil and gas workers in Assaluyeh went on strike. Since then, more oil and gas workers across Iran have joined the strikes, with over a hundred strikes now ongoing and that number continuing to grow. The workers are demanding: 10 days off after 20 days of work (10-20 scheme), a minimum wage across the sector of 12 million tomans, and trade union rights. These demands have found widespread support in the entire hydrocarbon sector and in the working class at large. Inspired by the oil and gas workers, strikes are breaking out among railway construction workers, truck drivers and steelworkers. All the while, protests by pensioners, teachers, medical staff and farmers

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The surge of the movement of Palestinian youth and workers against Israeli occupation, which culminated in the unified Palestinian general strike of 18 May, is continuing. It is now expressing itself in a growing mood of criticism and anger in the West Bank against the corruption of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The PA’s security forces have been brutally clamping down on any manifestation of internal opposition to discredited President Mahmoud Abbas, and the ruling Fatah party. The arrests and beatings of activists and the PA’s active collaboration with the Israeli state in suppressing the ongoing protests have undermined

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On 18 June, the Islamic Republic of Iran held its presidential election, which was met by a widespread boycott by the masses. The official figure for turnout was 48%, with the regime’s desired candidate, Raisi, winning with 61.9%, with blank votes coming second on 12.8%. The real turnout however could have been even lower, with some estimates placing it between 25 and 35 percent. There have been reports of some polling stations being completely abandoned. This was an absolute sham of an election, which saw the lowest turnout and the highest number of blank votes in the history of the Islamic Republic. This comes on the back of a continuous wave of strike action and protests that

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For over two months now, the Turkish state and president Erdogan's regime have faced attacks from a seemingly unlikely source. Sedat Peker, a notorious mafia boss in exile, with a long record of criminal activity and of intriguingly short jail sentences, has released a video almost every Sunday for the past two months in which he claims to expose the details of connections between important AKP officials, the Turkish state, and organised crime.

On Sunday, the Knesset (Israeli parliament) elected a new government with a narrow majority of 60 against 59 – ending Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12 year-long hold on power. His rule was characterised by right-wing policies and the brutal oppression of the Palestinians, based on the personal standing of Netanyahu as Israel’s strong man. The final example of this was the recent bloody bombardment of Gaza. What will the new government bring? And why did Netanyahu lose his grip on power?

The upcoming 18 June presidential elections in Iran are turning into an even greater farce than usual. In the past, the regime would have at least projected the appearance of competition, approving competing candidates from its various factions. This year, however, it has only approved seven candidates: all from the hardline, conservative faction. This move comes from a position of weakness, exposing the crisis of the regime.

On 22 May, 1,400 farmers protested against the lack of permanent access to water in the Iranian province of Isfahan. The regime answered by sending riot police, who brutally beat the farmers, who fought back, leading to clashes. This was not an isolated incident; there is widespread discord among farmers, with recent protests in Khuzestan, Sistan-Balochistan, Khorasan and elsewhere.

We recently received the following article written by an Egyptian Marxist on the events in Israel/Palestine over recent weeks. Although it was written on 18 May – the day of the general strike that united Palestinians, and before the ceasefire – and events have since moved on, we nevertheless believe it will be of general interest to our readers. For further analysis on the unfolding of events since the general strike, click here.

After eleven days of the ruthless bombardment of Gaza – which has killed more than 240 Palestinians (almost half of whom were children and women) and left thousands severely injured – Israel has eventually agreed to a ceasefire. The bombardment caused the displacement of 75,000 people. Their homes have been destroyed and severe damage has been inflicted on essential infrastructure: schools, hospitals (including the only COVID-19 testing and vaccination centre), electricity and clean water supplies. The population of Gaza will pay a heavy price for many years to come for Israel’s attack.

Over the last few days, dockworkers of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) in the port city of Durban have refused to handle cargo from an Israeli ship, in protest against Israel's bombardment of the besieged Gaza strip over the last few weeks. Currently, the ship is still lying in the Durban harbour waiting to take on cargo. 

Protests and strikes are now spreading across every sector of the economy in Iran. There have been at least 100 strikes and protests over the course of the past few months. While not yet on the scale that we have seen in the recent past, pensioners and workers receiving social security have also held weekly protests across the country.

Mass demonstrations were seen in cities across Britain over the weekend, as thousands took to the streets to condemn the crimes of Israeli imperialism, and to show support for the Palestinian liberation struggle. Intifada until victory!

The following is a statement by the International Marxist Tendency on Israeli violence against the Gaza Strip in recent days, which is continuing to escalate. We say: stop the bombing, end the occupation – workers and youth of the world, mobilise and fight for a free Palestine as part of a socialist federation of the Middle East!

The Israeli bombing of Gaza has already killed at least 48 Palestinians – among whom 14 are children – and injured hundreds, while six Israelis have been killed by rockets fired from the Gaza Strip. The international media has once again presented the bombings as a legitimate retaliation against Hamas’ decision to fire rockets into Israel. However, as usual, they give a completely one-sided view of the real causes of this escalation of the crisis in Israel and Palestine.

On 11 April a huge explosion at the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility in Iran caused a power cut. When the power suddenly stops, this causes the rotors of the giant machines used to enrich uranium to stop spinning which, according to Iranian officials, caused 60-70% of them to be destroyed. They were quick to blame “countries” which were aiming to ruin renewed efforts to save the nuclear deal through “nuclear terrorism”. This was a clear implication that Israel was the culprit. Not long later, Israeli press confirmed this was indeed the case.

Protests erupted across Turkey on Saturday 20 March after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a decree withdrawing Turkey from the Istanbul convention, an international treaty to prevent and combat violence against women. The withdrawal has sparked anger, thousands have taken to the streets at protests throughout the country. 

For several weeks now, Turkey has been making international headlines for various reasons. Not the least of these were the back-to-back sackings of the governor of the Central Bank, Naci Ağbal, on 19 March, followed by his deputy. Erdoğan’s move was followed by a sharp 15% one-day collapse in the value of the lira. Mainstream, bourgeois economists were aghast at what they regarded as insane, erratic behaviour from Erdoğan. But there is method in the madness. Above all, Erdoğan is terrified of a social explosion.

Six years of war in Yemen have brought the country to the brink of an absolute humanitarian disaster. The Saudi-led alliance, backed by the UK and the US, has imposed tremendous suffering on the Yemeni people. With 16 million suffering hunger and 400,000 children at risk of death from starvation, the situation is getting worse by the day. And the imperialists are unwilling to assist the victims.