Middle East

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.

On Thursday, April 2, Iran and the world’s most powerful nations signed a preliminary outline agreement about Iran's nuclear programme. It also dealt with the various sanctions imposed on Iran by the US, UN and the European Union. This marks the beginning of the end of a 12 year standoff between the US and Iran. But what lies behind the negotiations and what does the deal mean?

Since early Thursday morning hundreds of fighter jets from Saudi Arabia and a wide coalition of Arab states have been bombing targets across Yemen, killing dozens, destroying all major runways and much of the key infrastructure of the country. Yet again Yemen, which is the poorest Arab country, has become a target for savage attacks by the Saudi regime.

With a defiant right-wing turn promising that no Palestinian state would be established as long as he remained in power, Israeli prime minister Netanyahu has managed to overturn unfavourable opinion polls at the last minute and emerge as the winner of the Israeli elections on Tuesday. His appeal was aimed - and successfully so - at rallying the right wing around his figure and "firm" leadership by appealing once again to the historically deeply rooted fears of ordinary Israeli citizens over external threats to Israel. What are going to be the consequences of his victory within Israel and internationally?

Hossein Shariatmadari, the powerful editor of the Iranian right-wing daily Keyhan, was disrupted time and time again as he tried to speak at Tehran University on 13 December. The hundreds of students gathered in the call would interrupt him with slogans such as "Leave, interrogator!", "Keyhan, Israel congratulations on your unity", "Death to reaction" "Shame on you, liar, leave the university". This open defiance of the students clearly shook Shariatmadari, who as a close confidant of Ayatollah Khamenei is one of the most reactionary voices of the regime.

We publish the latest edition of the Farsi journal of the IMT - Mobareze Tabaghati. In this edition you will find articles about the underlying tensions which are accumulating in Iran. We also take a look at the situation of the working class and its latest movments. There are also articles on Kobane as well as the 150th anniversary of the First International.

As we get closer to the deadline for a deal on the nuclear negotiations, the question of “what now” is being asked by more and more people in Iran. The Rouhani government has bought itself time by turning the focus of the masses outwards to the nuclear negotiations, but sooner or later he will have to face the internal situation.

The forces of ISIS are closing in on the besieged town of Kobane on the Turkish-Syrian border. Thousands of terrified Kurds have fled to Turkey in a desperate attempt to bring supplies and reinforcements, but find themselves blocked by the Turkish army, which is preventing reinforcements, arms and supplies from crossing the frontier. While the rest of the world looks on, the people of Kobane are threatened with an unspeakable bloodbath.

The struggle of the Kurdish forces of the YPG and YPJ that have been defending the town of Kobane against the onslaught of ISIS forces that outnumber and outgun them, has been nothing short of heroic. The fight for Kobane has been raging for more than three weeks and has intensified in the last few days as the Kurdish forces had to withdraw back into the centre of Kobane from their defensive positions outside the town. Reports are now coming in of intense urban fighting as the YPG and YPJ are resisting the advances of ISIS street by street.

In a press conference on 28th August, US president Barack Obama openly admitted that he did not have a strategy yet to combat the jihadist ISIS group in Iraq and Syria. Obama’s confession reveals the impasse the US are facing with the new, explosive crisis provoked in the Middle East by the advance of ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.