Archive for USA

The London Meet on Afghanistan

Posted in International Affairs with tags , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2010 by Umer

 by Yohannan Chemarapally

(People’s Democracy)

THE London Conference on Afghanistan held in the last week of January was supposed to plan out a coherent “exit strategy” for the West out of the quagmire it finds itself in. Instead, the conference has only succeeded in sending out confusing signals to the international community. While there was a lot of talk of engaging with the “good Taliban there was also a continued emphasis on a military solution to the conflict.

However, the desperation to get out of Afghanistan was tangible from the statements of most Western leaders present at the meeting. The willingness to open a dialogue with the “good Taliban” to find a political solution was an indication of the prevailing pessimistic mood. But with a political or military solution nowhere in sight it was evident that the military occupation of Afghanistan would continue for another five years at least. The Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, in fact wants foreign troops to be around for a minimum of 15 years. He reiterated this demand once again in London. More than 70 countries, along with the European Union, NATO and the UN attended the London Conference. The EU and NATO officials were critical about Karzai’s 15 year time line for withdrawal.

It is evident that the grandiose promise of President Barak Obama to withdraw all American troops by 2011 is no longer a feasible proposition. With the militarily ascendant Taliban refusing to be drawn into a dialogue, the conditions on the ground will mean that US troops will continue to be stationed in Afghanistan beyond the deadline set by President Obama. The 10,000 additional NATO troops from European countries that Washington expected to be deployed in Afghanistan as part of the military surge, does not seem to be materialising. France has announced that it will not be sending any more troops to Afghanistan. Germany has promised only 500 more troops while the Dutch are on the verge of pulling out all their 2000 soldiers out of Afghanistan.

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WPC: Resolution on Peace-disturbing role of USA in Pakistan

Posted in International Affairs with tags , , , on November 14, 2009 by Umer

The EC meeting of WPC strongly condemns the Anti-people role being played by USA in Pakistan. Imperialism has adapted hostile policy of creating war hysteria after tilt of world power balance in 1991 in favour of war mongering imperialist forces headed by USA. This policy is being continuously followed.

Iraq and Afghanistan have been occupied in the name of so- called war against terrorism. Pakistan is rapidly becoming the next target. Imperialism’s own creatures, the Taliban, have created an atmosphere of terror across the Pakistan. This situation is being utilized as a justification for American open and covert activities of destabilizing the area.

Drone attacks deep inside Pakistan are been carried out. US Embassy and Consulates in Islamabad, Karachi and Peshawar are being converted into military complexes. Private armies like Black Water and XE are openly working in Pakistan under American Patronage. This meeting of WPC demands that Pakistan’s independence and sovereignty should fully be respected. It demands immediate evacuation of bases and withdrawal of regular and private military forces from Pakistani soil and cessation of Drone attacks

DAMASCUS, SYRIA

OCTOBER 24, 2009

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

World Peace Council (WPC)

History of the U.S.A. in 3 minutes

Posted in International Affairs with tags , , , , on August 26, 2009 by Umer

No health-care right under capitalism

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs, Marxism with tags , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2009 by Umer

Danish Khan

Capitalist system is completely incapable of providing the basic health care to the people. We all know how miserable and terrible the lives of the people of third world countries are. But even in the USA, the most powerful and wealthiest Empire of the human history, many people still don’t have a right to basic health care. This shows the bleak reality of the capitalist system at its supposed best. According to US government’s statistics, 45.7 million people in US have no access to health care. While US Empire is building its strength to dominate all over the globe, its domestic heath care system has completely crippled. US loudly proclaim its commitments towards “peace” and “stability” in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the Empire has forgotten that more than 22,000 deaths each year are caused by the lack of health care in its home. Empire says that health care is too expensive, we can not afford it. On other hand, they are spending $255million per day in Iraq! Iraq is more important than health care because the neo-conservative lobby sees oil there. They are willing to spend money there, but in health care dollars will be used for the welfare of the people which is against the spirit of capitalism. US have the most advanced military weapons and aircrafts for wars. When it comes to health care, the story is little different. There are only 26 doctors per 10,000 people, and the worst is that there are only 31 beds for 10,000 people. Cuba, a very small island with very limited resources, has outshined US in health care only because their priority is the welfare of their people rather than more profit for big corporations. In US health insurance companies’ profits have reached more than 320%, while people have lost all their health overages. It a drastic picture of a most advanced capitalist society, the level of oppression and exploitation is infinite.

In US health care has been traditionally provided by the private employers. However, due to recent economic crisis, many jobs have been lost which resulted in the loss of all the health care services for working people. The degree of exploitation of labor, the appropriation of surplus labor and surplus value are raised notably by intensifying the labor. Marx explained these phenomenon years ago in Das Kapital. But its importance and relevancy is invaluable in today’s world. The accumulation of wealth is increasing every day by the labor of workers, but the only beneficiary of this wealth is the one who owns means of production (the capitalist class). The living standard and quality of life of working men is going vertically down, workers have no health care, and they can’t afford to send their children to go to colleges and universities. In US, 2.6 million jobs have been lost in year 2008 according to U.S Labor department. Is it surprising? Yes, only for those who never had a chance to read Marx’s Das Kapital. Those who have read it and understood it are the least surprised because they know it is a usual case under capitalism. In volume III of Das Kapital, Marx devoted a lot of time in explaining the conflict between expansion of production and production of surplus value. As the rate of surplus value rises, the number of laborers falls relatively or absolutely. In US from January 2008 to September 2008, 1.7 million jobs have been lost while in last four months 1.9 million jobs have disappeared. It is just another tactic of increase the exploitation by lowering the demand of labor as relative to people who are willing to sell their labor.

What we are seeing today is a new chapter in the history of capitalism. We need to educate the masses of the Pakistan about the material realities of the most advanced capitalist country. The bourgeois class of Pakistan, submissive followers of US Imperialism, can not portray this picture of capitalism. Capitalism in its prime form in US is unable to serve its own people. How can they play any role in the betterment and welfare of the people of the Pakistan? In every part of the world people are demanding their rights and they can see that present economic system has no ability to perform effectively. Thus the only alternative system which can provide people proper health care and all their rights and needs is the socialism. In working class circles, socialism and its advantages is a hot topic these days. As the material conditions of the society are becoming more and more favorable for the socialism, a need of a mass based movement is very crucial.

Danish Khan is a student in USA.

The 30th Sandinista anniversary and the San José proposal

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs with tags , , , , , , , on July 23, 2009 by Umer

Reflection of Fidel Castro

THE Honduran coup d’état promoted by the ultra-right wing of the United States – which was maintaining the structure created by Bush in Central America – and supported by the Department of State, was not developing well due to the energetic resistance of the people.
The criminal adventure, unanimously condemned by world opinion and international agencies, could not be sustained.

The memory of the atrocities committed in recent decades by dictatorships that the United States promoted, instructed and armed in our hemisphere, was still fresh.

During the Clinton administration and in subsequent years the empire’s efforts were directed toward the plan of imposing the FTA (Free Trade Agreement) on all the Latin American countries via the so-called Summits of the Americas.

The intention to compromise the hemisphere with a free trade agreement failed. The economies of other regions of the world grew at a good rate and the dollar lost its exclusive hegemony as a privileged hard currency. The brutal world financial crisis complicated the situation. It was in those circumstances that the military coup came about in Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the hemisphere.

After two weeks of growing popular struggle, the United States maneuvered to gain time. The Department of State assigned Oscar Arias, president of Costa Rica, the task of aiding the military coup in Honduras, under siege from vigorous but peaceful popular pressure. Never had a similar action in Latin America met such a response.
The fact that Arias holds the title of Nobel Peace Prize laureate had weight in the calculations of the government of the United States.
The real history of Oscar Arias indicates that he is a neoliberal politician, talented and with a facility for words, extremely calculated and a loyal ally of the United States.

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The Swat offensive

Posted in Pakistan with tags , , , , , , , on June 16, 2009 by Umer

by Rashed Rahman

The military offensive in Swat Valley and surrounding districts of Malakand Division has more or less completed its initial phase. This may be a good moment therefore to assess the operation so far.

There is little doubt that there was a fundamental shift in the attitude of the army before such an unprecedented military offensive could be launched against the Taliban whom the military until recently was fond of referring to as its ‘strategic assets’. What led to this ‘change of heart’?

Under Musharraf as Chief of Army Staff (COAS), the duality in policy of capturing/killing Al-Qaeda members to assuage US post-9/11 rage and preserving the Afghan Taliban continued from after 9/11 until Musharraf’s ouster from power in September 2008. Along the way, US pressure to do something about the safe havens Al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban enjoy in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and which had permitted them to transform the relatively low intensity insurgency in progress since 2001 in Afghanistan into a more effective guerrilla war (helped enormously by Bush’s blundering into Iraq in March 2003), forced Musharraf in 2004 to send the army into FATA for the first time in Pakistan’s history. That campaign was a disaster. The army’s contingents were ambushed and literally cut to pieces. Clearly General Head Quarters (GHQ), the Pakistani military’s apex command, had forgotten the lessons of the British colonialists in fighting the Pashtun tribals in these areas.

The military debacle persuaded the army to sue for peace with the local militants in Waziristan and other tribal areas. Such agreements were totally to the benefit of the militants and humiliating for the ‘mighty’ Pakistan army’s pride. Nevertheless, the army swallowed its gall in the interests of trying to persuade the Pakistani Taliban to support the struggle in Afghanistan rather than challenge the writ of the Pakistani state. The watchful US military command in Afghanistan did not try to disguise its disquiet at these so-called peace agreements since it detected that an easing of the military pressure on the Pakistani side of the Pak-Afghan border meant increased attacks on their and NATO’s troops in Afghanistan. Hence at every given opportunity, they attempted to sabotage such agreements through missile strikes that took out the local Taliban commanders who had signed such deals with the Pakistan military. The Pakistani military still hoped (consistently since 2001) that the US and NATO would tire of the ‘futile’ and endless struggle in Afghanistan and GHQ and the Afghan Taliban would then easily step back into the relative power vacuum in Kabul, aided and abetted by their Pakistani Taliban facilitators and hosts. This was a serious underestimation of US determination not to repeat the mistake of allowing Afghanistan to slip once again into the Taliban and Al-Qaeda’s hands. Whatever other differences in policy Obama may have had with the outgoing Bush administration (for example on Iraq), on Afghanistan he declared for seeing the task through, albeit with a more nuanced policy.

In the interim, Musharraf and the Pakistani military continued on a strategy of raising the cost of the Western presence in Afghanistan through the Afghan Taliban, extracting in the process $ 11 billion dollars for the Pakistani military over eight years without any proper accounting of where this money went. Suspicions in the US Congress that the bulk of this money went to provide weapons for the Pakistani military to bolster its conventional arms balance against India have led to delays in and calls for accountability and transparency for any future US aid to the Pakistani military.

Under Musharraf, the Pakistani military came to be hated as never before by the people of Pakistan. The military’s overbearing attitudes, corruption and control of state and society under Musharraf evoked great resentment amongst the Pakistani people. When General Ashfaq Kayani took over as COAS last year, he and the military’s top brass embarked on a refurbishing of the military’s public image. This was conducted through an ostensible distancing of the army from politics and cooperation with the elected civilian government. The past collaboration between the military and the Pakistani Taliban incrementally gave way to a firmer posture of not allowing the Pakistani Taliban to challenge the writ of the state. The failure of the so-called peace agreement in Swat (a chronicle of a failure foretold) cleared the path for the current military offensive in Swat, backed as it now is by a changed public perception of the Taliban and their brutalities.

As for the offensive, the military has not cared a fig for the people of Swat, using heavy artillery, helicopter gunships and the air force to blast their way into the Valley from three directions at the cost of three million people’s displacement. These people fled for their lives in the face of this indiscriminate bombardment, which arguably saved many soldiers’ lives, but at the cost of so many tragic stories of local people killed, children and the old having to be abandoned, and the continuing misery of the displaced in camps and amongst host communities. The military advanced behind this heavy bombardment into Swat from the south, east and west. Despite this, they failed to cut off the escape routes of the Taliban (an inherently difficult task in such mountainous terrain). The result is that the Taliban leadership has by and large escaped, probably into surrounding mountains and FATA. That is the harbinger of a protracted war, especially since the military is now planning an offensive into South Waziristan, the stronghold of Baitullah Mehsud, the head of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.

The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) will have a tough time even after returning to their shattered homes, with no economic opportunities, smashed infrastructure and a huge reconstruction and rehabilitation task, which on the evidence of the government’s capabilities of looking after the IDPs promises to be another disaster to add to the long list of Pakistan’s miseries.

The situation is certainly at a turning point, especially since the inventors and mentors of the Taliban, the Pakistani military, has finally decided that the challenge to the state is too grave to brook any further prevarication. That does not, however, rule out the possibility that some of the Taliban may be persuaded to forego their challenge to the Pakistani state in exchange for being spared and diverted once again to the ‘export’ of jihad into Afghanistan and Kashmir. Whether this fond hope of GHQ materializes or suffers the same fate as their best laid plans of the last four decades to control Afghanistan in the name of ‘strategic depth’ and liberate Indian-administered Kashmir through jihad, only time will tell. However, what can be surmised at this juncture is that the whole jihad export enterprise has suffered a crippling blow. Whether the blow is fatal or something can be and will be salvaged from the ashes, it is difficult to say at this juncture. The Taliban having taken to hitting back throughout Pakistan through terror indicates that we are at the beginning of a long and bitter civil war whose outcome will determine the future direction of state and society. The present conjuncture represents a turn from the domination of the national agenda by the military and its Taliban cat’s paws. Without overcoming this phenomenon, Pakistani state and society cannot hope to clear the way for a more enlightened and hopeful future.

The writer is an acclaimed journalist and political analyst. This article is a part of his email series by the title of Pakistan Political Review. He can be reached at: rrahman@nexlinx.net.pk

Beware Human Rights Fundamentalism!

Posted in International Affairs, Law with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2009 by Umer

by Mahmood Mamdani

When former South African president Thabo Mbeki makes the African case for a postponement of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) indictment of President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, what can he say with dignity and foresight?

To begin with, he should remind his audience that nowhere in the world have rights existed outside an enabling political context. No democracy enforces a fixed standard of rights regardless of the country’s political context. Few can forget how the Bush administration diluted the Bill of Rights in the interest of pursuing Homeland Security. In the relation between law and politics, politics is always paramount. Precisely because the struggle for rights is a political struggle, enforcers of rights — and not just its violators — need to be held politically accountable lest they turn rights enforcement into a private vendetta.

Mbeki can then share with his audience the lessons Africans have learned in the struggle for peace and justice over the past several decades. Contrary to what many think, this lesson is not that there needs to be a trade-off between peace and justice. The real trade-off is between different forms of justice.This became evident with the settlement to end apartheid. That settlement was possible because the political leadership of the anti-apartheid struggle prioritised political justice over criminal justice. The rationale was simple: where there was no victor, one would need the cooperation of the very leaders who would otherwise be charged with war crimes to end the fighting and initiate political reforms. The essence of Kempton Park can be summed up in a single phrase: forgive but do not forget. Forgive all past crimes — in plain words, immunity from prosecution — provided both sides agree to change the rules to assure political justice for the living.

The South African lesson has guided African practice in other difficult situations. In Mozambique Renamo sits in Parliament instead of in jail or in the dock. In South Sudan, too, there would have been neither peace nor a reform of the political system without an agreement not to pursue criminal justice.Why not in Darfur?

Mbeki would also be well advised to keep in mind that in the court of public opinion — unlike in a court of law — the accused is considered guilty until proven innocent.

The public needs to be reminded that when the justices of the ICC granted the prosecutor’s application for a warrant to arrest the president of Sudan, they were not issuing a verdict of guilty. The justices were not meant to assess the facts put before them by the prosecutor, but to ask a different question: if those facts were assumed to be true, would the president of Sudan have a case to answer? Unlike court, which took the facts for granted at the pre-trial stage, we need to ask: to what extent are these facts true? And, to the extent they are true, are they the whole truth?

The prosecutor’s case
The prosecutor’s application charged President al-Bashir with (a) polarising Darfuri tribes into two races (Arab and Zurga or Black), (b) waging a violent conflict (2003-2005) leading to the ethnic cleansing of Zurga ethnic groups from their traditional tribal lands, and (c) and planning the malnutrition, rape and torture of internally displaced persons (IDPs) so as to “slow death” in the camps — a process that the prosecutor claimed went on from 2003 to the time the application was submitted in 2008.

The racialisation of identities in Darfur had its roots in the British colonial period. As early as the late 1920s, the British tried to organise two confederations in Darfur: one “Arab”, the other “Zurga” or black. Racialised identities were incorporated in the census and provided the frame for government policy and administration. In spite of official policy, Arabs never constituted a single racial group. Contemporary scholarship has shown that the Arab tribes of Sudan were not migrants from the Middle East but indigenous groups that became Arabs starting in the 18th century. This is why there can be no single history of Arab tribes of Sudan. Little unites privileged sedentary tribes of riverine Sudan and impoverished nomads of Western Sudan. Unlike the Arabs of riverine north, who have tended to identify with power, the Arabs of Darfur are the most marginalised group in a marginalised province.

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