Middle East

Washington imposes new sanctions as Iran’s COVID-19 death toll tops 1,000

By Bill Van Auken, 19 March 2020

The global pandemic is viewed by US imperialism as a weapon in its war for hegemony in the Middle East.

Israeli government uses emergency powers to authorize cellphone tracking of coronavirus patients

By Kevin Reed, 18 March 2020

Netanyahu’s holdover cabinet voted unanimously to authorize the Israeli intelligence service to use cellphone location data to track the movements of coronavirus patients and anyone who comes into contact with them.

Coronavirus hits Israel, threatens catastrophe for West Bank and Gaza

By Jean Shaoul, 14 March 2020

Israel’s caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is exploiting the coronavirus outbreak to shore up his political position.

Iraq condemns US-UK strikes that killed soldiers, police and civilian

By Bill Van Auken, 14 March 2020

The top US commander in the Middle East made it clear that Thursday night’s airstrikes were part of a broader military escalation in the region.

US launches airstrikes in retaliation for Iraq missile attack

By Bill Van Auken, 13 March 2020

The Pentagon warned that “all options are on the table” after the deaths of two US troops and one British medic in a missile strike Wednesday.

Union sells out municipal workers’ strike in Reykjavik, Iceland; Lebanon: hospital strike in Beirut over government inaction over Covid-19

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

13 March 2020

The Efling union has sold out a three week strike by municipal workers in Iceland while hospital workers in Lebanon protest the government’s inept response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Amid protests and crises, Lebanon defaults on Eurobond

By Jean Shaoul, 12 March 2020

The default comes amid a spiralling economic crisis, protests, increasing poverty and other signs of social disintegration, along with the first coronavirus deaths.

US sanctions on Iran turn coronavirus into a catastrophe

By Jean Shaoul, 11 March 2020

Officials announced at the weekend that the virus had spread to most of Iran’s provinces and warned that the number of cases could rise to more than 450,000.

Coronavirus destabilises Saudi Arabia

By Jean Shaoul, 10 March 2020

The Saudi announcement to slash oil prices led to a sharp fall in the share prices of its national oil company Saudi Aramco and Russia’s Rosneft.

Afghanistan “peace” deal stalls as Kabul rivals are both sworn in as president

By Bill Van Auken, 10 March 2020

The swearing in of two rival presidents of the US-backed puppet regime has upended so-called intra-Afghan talks set to begin today.

Putin and Erdogan agree to new Idlib ceasefire at Moscow summit on Syria

By Jordan Shilton, 6 March 2020

Despite both sides’ efforts to smooth over the conflicts, the ceasefire does not resolve the broader NATO-Russia conflicts behind recent Turkish-Russian clashes in Syria.

French workers continue struggle against attacks on pensions; Zimbabwe trade unions try to hold back general strike

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

6 March 2020

On Tuesday workers held marches to protest attacks on pensions by the Macron government while trade union officials in Zimbabwe are attempting to hold back demands for a general strike against spiralling inflation.

Victory for Netanyahu leaves him short of a majority

By Jean Shaoul, 4 March 2020

Netanyahu is focusing all his efforts on persuading the leader of Blue and White, or some of its party members, to dump their pledge not to serve under an indicted prime minister.

Afghanistan peace deal begins to unravel as Kabul rejects prisoner swap

By Bill Van Auken, 2 March 2020

The signing of the accord is an unmistakable admission by Washington that the nearly 19-year-long war it has waged in Afghanistan has produced a debacle.

War tensions mount in wake of strike on Turkish troops in Syria

By Bill Van Auken, 29 February 2020

Russia has sent two cruise missile warships to the Syrian coast as Moscow and Ankara continue to dispute the facts surrounding a strike that killed three dozen Turkish soldiers.

Israel’s deepening poverty, social inequality ignored in election campaign

By Jean Shaoul, 29 February 2020

According to Israel’s National Insurance Institute, some 26 percent of households were in poverty or near poverty in 2018.

Turkey bombs Syria after losing dozens of troops to Syrian-Russian airstrike

By Alex Lantier, 28 February 2020

The danger is growing that all-out war could erupt between the NATO alliance and the Syrian government’s major international backers, Iran and Russia.

Iceland: indefinite public sector strike in Reykjavik; Air France pilots’ conduct stoppage; transport workers join South African museum strikers to petition parliament

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

28 February 2020

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Third election in a year deepens Israel’s political crisis

By Jean Shaoul, 26 February 2020

Netanyahu has carried out one political manoeuvre after another aimed at avoiding prosecution and maintaining his bloc’s domination of the Knesset.

After acquittal in Gezi Park trial, Turkish state re-launches prosecution

By Barış Demir, 26 February 2020

The Gezi Park trial was a politically motivated legal vendetta, aimed at managing the Turkish state’s relations with the imperialist powers while intimidating and discrediting social opposition inside Turkey itself.

Hosni Mubarak, US-backed dictator of Egypt for 30 years, dead at 91

By Bill Van Auken, 26 February 2020

Overthrown in 2011 by a mass revolt of the Egyptian people, he died with his criminal legacy secured by a military regime that is even more repressive than the one he headed.

Iran elections show growing alienation from bourgeois-clerical regime

By Jordan Shilton, 24 February 2020

The ‘principalist’ faction more aligned with Russia and China won amid a collapse in voter turnout, falling from 62 percent in 2016 to just 42.6 percent.

OECD sounds corporate debt warning

By Nick Beams, 24 February 2020

The OECD pointed to an “unprecedented build-up of corporate bond debt” since the financial crisis of 2008 with an increase of $2.1 trillion in 2019 alone.

Control of offshore gas and oil provokes conflicts in eastern Mediterranean

By Jean Shaoul, 24 February 2020

A new “scramble for Africa” is being tied into a new “scramble” for the eastern Mediterranean, as Turkey, Greece, Israel, Egypt, Cyprus, Lebanon and the European powers compete over gas exploration, production licenses and pipelines.

A “ceasefire” in Washington’s Afghanistan debacle

By Bill Van Auken, 22 February 2020

After 18 years of war, the killing of nearly 2,400 troops and the squandering of roughly $1 trillion, Washington is negotiating a deal it could have had with the Taliban without a shot being fired.

Fighting mounts as Washington backs Turkish attack on Syria, Russia

By Alex Lantier, 21 February 2020

US-backed Turkish military operations targeting Syrian and Russian units in Syria could escalate into an all-out clash between Russia and the entire NATO alliance.

EU agrees to new military mission against Libya

By Peter Schwarz, 21 February 2020

The foreign ministers of all 27 EU countries agreed on a new military mission in Libya on Monday.

Greece: 24-hour stoppage by public sector workers; Italian dockers boycott ships carrying arms bound for Yemen war; threats of further strikes in Zimbabwe

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

21 February 2020

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Washington backs Turkey as border clashes mount with Syria and Russia

By Ulaş Ateşci, 19 February 2020

Washington is encouraging Turkish army operations inside Syria, risking a direct clash between the NATO alliance and the Syrian government’s main allies, Russia and Iran.

US-backed Saudi bombing kills at least 32 civilians in Yemen

By Bill Van Auken, 18 February 2020

The airstrikes, the latest in a long list of war crimes, are believed to have been an act of revenge for the downing of a Saudi warplane.

US assassinated Suleimani to quash Iran’s talks with Gulf monarchies

By Bill Van Auken, 15 February 2020

The murder of the top Iranian general was carried out to shore up Washington’s crumbling Middle East alliances.

Growth of fascistic attacks on refugees in Greece

By George Gallanis, 14 February 2020

A thousand threads tie the fascistic thugs on the streets hunting down refugees to the ruling Greek capitalist party, New Democracy.

Union sells out forestry strike in Finland; South African telecom workers’ strike threat against redundancies; London bus drivers move to strike vote

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

14 February 2020

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Dozens killed in growing border clashes between Turkey and Syria

By Ulas Atesci, 4 February 2020

This fighting threatens to escalate into a direct confrontation between Turkey, a NATO member state, and the Syrian regime’s nuclear-armed ally, Russia.

South Korea deploys naval unit to Strait of Hormuz

By Ben McGrath, 1 February 2020

Behind the backs of the South Korean working class, Seoul is supporting US war plans that could lead to a wider conflict with China and Russia.

US deploys “usable” nuclear weapon amid continuing war threats against Iran

By Bill Van Auken, 1 February 2020

For all the talk of war with Iran having been averted, the reality is that the world remains on the knife’s edge of a catastrophic military confrontation.

Strike wave in Finland; police attack firefighters demonstrating in Paris

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

31 January 2020

Paper and other forestry workers in Finalnd have launched a series of strikes, while protesting French firefighters faced brutal attacks from police.

US airstrikes in Afghanistan hit ten-year high in 2019

By Niles Niemuth, 29 January 2020

The Trump administration has ramped up the air war in Afghanistan as it seeks to pressure the Taliban into a settlement, killing hundreds of civilians in the process.

Trump unveils farcical Mideast “peace plan” as Netanyahu is indicted

By Bill Van Auken, 29 January 2020

Timed to meet the immediate needs of both Trump and Netanyahu, the plan sanctions all of the policies of the Israeli right and is guaranteed to be rejected by the Palestinians.

Trump’s disdain for wounds suffered by troops in Iraq sparks protest

By Bill Van Auken, 27 January 2020

The downplaying of the injuries has laid bare the president’s contempt for US military personnel, with whose lives he gambled by ordering the Suleimani assassination.

Death toll rises to 38 after earthquake in Elazığ in eastern Turkey

By Ulas Atesci, 27 January 2020

Though Turkey is an earthquake-prone country and the state collects billions in a so-called “earthquake tax,” none of the necessary security measures were taken.

The mass protests in Iraq and the US drive to recolonize the Middle East

By Bill Van Auken, 25 January 2020

Among the hundreds of thousands who filled the streets of Baghdad were workers and youth whose entire lives have been shaped by the crimes of US imperialism.

French power workers at Grand’Maison dam join pension strikes; 130,000 Turkish metalworkers threaten walk out

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

24 January 2020

French hydroelectric workers joined a strike movement against pension cuts while the union for 130,000 Turkish metalworkers are currently in talks with the Turkish Employers Association of Metal Industries for a pay increase.

Europe dispatches naval flotilla to threaten Iran, Syria

By Anthony Torres, 22 January 2020

A French aircraft carrier and European naval flotillas will patrol strategic Middle East waters that are critical to the global oil trade.

Mass protests escalate in Iraq and Lebanon

By Bill Van Auken, 21 January 2020

Both countries saw violent clashes as discredited caretaker governments failed to meet any of the social and political demands made by hundreds of thousands who have taken to the streets.

Berlin conference prepares military occupation of Libya

By Peter Schwarz, 21 January 2020

The Libya conference, which took place last Sunday in Berlin, was not about peace in the war-torn country, but about the distribution of the loot.

German government to continue military operations in the Middle East

By Johannes Stern, 18 January 2020

All of the parliamentary parties agree with the government’s policy of escalating Germany military intervention in the region.

Washington continues war buildup against Iran

By Bill Van Auken, 17 January 2020

Another squadron of F15-E fighter jets has been dispatched to the region, while the threat of a “nuclear option” is on the table.

Nurses strike in Northern Ireland for pay parity; Zimbabwe municipal workers refuse pay offer as hospital strike continues and teachers plan walkout

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

17 January 2020

Thousands of Northern Ireland nurses struck for five days staring January 10 while Zimbabwe public sector workers have rejected a derisory pay offer.

The Suleimani assassination, imperialist strategy and the crisis of the Iranian regime

By Keith Jones, 16 January 2020

The killing of the military leader, widely viewed as second only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in Iran’s power structure, constitutes a dramatic escalation of the Trump administration’s campaign of “maximum pressure” on Iran.

European powers move toward scrapping nuclear accord with Iran

By Alex Lantier, 15 January 2020

Berlin, London and Paris, emboldened by Tehran’s weak response to the US murder of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani, are escalating attacks against Iran.

Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung defends murder of Suleimani

By Peter Schwarz, 15 January 2020

In reaction to the Middle East crisis, Germany’s ruling circles are enthusing about the criminal methods of Trump while pursuing their own imperialist interests more aggressively.

Kremlin maintains muted response to Suleimani assassination, insists on Iran nuclear deal

By Clara Weiss, 15 January 2020

An open war against Iran is likely to spread directly to the border of Russia, enflaming not only the entire Middle East but also the South Caucasus.

Trump exploits Iran war crisis to incite violence against political opponents

By Barry Grey, 15 January 2020

Following Trump’s order for the murder of Iranian General Suleimani, his denunciations of political opponents for “taking the side of terrorists” can only be interpreted as a threat of violence.

Assassination of Iran’s General Suleimani planned months in advance

By Bill Van Auken, 14 January 2020

The claim by the Trump administration that its drone missile assassination was carried out in the face of an “imminent” threat stands exposed as a lie.

Australia’s Pine Gap spy base likely involved in the assassination of Qassem Suleimani

By Patrick O’Connor, 14 January 2020

No-one within the Australian media and political establishment has raised the question as to whether the Pine Gap spy base in central Australia played a role in the killing.

Berlin, London and Paris threaten Iran over 2015 nuclear treaty

By Alex Lantier, 14 January 2020

After the recent US assassination of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani, the European powers are denouncing not Washington, but Tehran, as a threat to the Middle East.

Iran admits to inadvertently shooting down Ukraine International Airlines jet, killing 176

By Jordan Shilton and Keith Jones, 13 January 2020

The felling of Flight 752 came amid a war crisis fomented by Washington’s campaign of “maximum pressure” on Tehran and its January 3 assassination of Suleimani.

Iran admits to inadvertently shooting down Ukraine International Airlines jet, killing 176

By Jordan Shilton and Keith Jones, 13 January 2020

The felling of Flight 752 came amid a war crisis fomented by Washington’s campaign of “maximum pressure” on Tehran and its January 3 assassination of Suleimani.

The assassination of Qassem Suleimani and the criminalization of US state policy

By Andre Damon, 13 January 2020

The normalization of extrajudicial killing is the outcome of the “war on terror” and decades of continuous war.

US and Israel escalate Middle East tensions in wake of Suleimani assassination

By Bill Van Auken, 11 January 2020

A report that Washington attempted to assassinate a second Iranian official in Yemen has given the lie to the claim that Suleimani was killed to prevent an “imminent” attack.

Erdoğan and Putin open TurkStream pipeline after Iran strikes US bases in Iraq

By Ulaş Ateşci, 11 January 2020

The opening of this strategic pipeline comes amid escalating conflicts over energy in the region and an esclalating conflict between the United States and Iran.

Boston area professor fired after anti-Trump Facebook posting

By Dan Conway, 11 January 2020

Asheen Phansey lost his career over statements made in jest, while Trump and his enablers in the Democratic Party make real threats against Iran without any consequences.

UK: Corbyn offers no fight against war with Iran

By Thomas Scripps, 11 January 2020

Corbyn articulates the concerns within ruling circles, including Johnson’s Tories and the armed forces, that Trump’s recklessness can endanger the UK’s world position.

European powers support war preparations against Iran

By Peter Schwarz, 11 January 2020

Not a single leading European politician condemned the brutal murder of General Qassem Suleimani, which represented a gross violation of international law and massively expanded the ongoing regional war in the Middle East.

Bernie Sanders says “some wars are necessary”

By Tom Hall, 11 January 2020

Sanders’ stated opposition to Trump’s threatened war in Iran is a political trap being set for workers and youth.

Trump bides his time, but the preparations for war against Iran will continue

By Bill Van Auken and David North, 9 January 2020

The media falsely claims that Trump’s failure to order immediate strikes against Iran signals an opening for peace.

After Suleimani murder, New Anti-capitalist Party backs US war on Iran

By Alex Lantier, 9 January 2020

The NPA advances the lie that Iran, a former colonial country, is in fact an imperialist power attacking Washington and slanders Suleimani personally as a mass murderer.

Iran strikes US bases in Iraq as Pentagon deploys B-52 bombers

By Bill Van Auken, 8 January 2020

In evident preparation for full-scale war, the Pentagon has dispatched a bomber strike force consisting of six B-52 heavy bombers to the US military base on the island of Diego Garcia.

Australian government backs US provocations against Iran

By Oscar Grenfell, 8 January 2020

Government representatives responded to the illegal US assassination of General Suleimani by expressing “concern” over “Iran’s behaviour” and insisting Australian troops remain in Iraq.

Corbyn grovels to Privy Council, seeking to block mass anti-war movement

By Laura Tiernan, 8 January 2020

Corbyn’s letter to Johnson was framed as a defence of British national security interests and exhibited Corbyn’s trademark deference to the state.

Democrats fault Trump on strategy, silent on illegality of Suleimani assassination

By Patrick Martin, 6 January 2020

The candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination have sought to disguise their support for American imperialism with insincere appeals to popular antiwar sentiment.

Canadian government tacitly endorses US assassination of Iranian general Soleimani

By Roger Jordan, 6 January 2020

Just hours after Trump ordered a drone strike to exterminate Suleimani, the Canadian government issued a statement denouncing Iranian “aggression” in the Middle East.

Britain backs US war drive against Iran

By Robert Stevens, 6 January 2020

Whatever the qualms in British ruling circles about the grave implications of war in the Middle East, the UK is already involved—as America's closest ally—in a potential war against Iran.

Oppose Trump’s criminal war against Iran!

The International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site, 6 January 2020

Trump’s provocation of a war with Iran is an attempt to find a way out of the increasingly desperate crisis of American capitalism—international and domestic—through spectacular acts of violence.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu seeks immunity from prosecution

By Jean Shaoul, 4 January 2020

Netanyahu was indicted in November on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three cases that have been investigated for years.

International Criminal Court to investigate Israeli war crimes

By Jean Shaoul, 4 January 2020

Human rights groups have told the UN Human Rights Council, which is investigating Israel’s use of lethal fire against protestors, that no evidence exists of a single protester killed in Gaza border protests being armed.

US assassinates top Iranian general as 4,000 troops readied for Iraq intervention

By Bill Van Auken, 3 January 2020

The umbrella group for Iraq’s Shia militias reported Friday morning that a US-targeted assassination at Baghdad airport killed Iran’s Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani.

Wider war over Libya looms as France, Egypt denounce Turkish intervention

By Alex Lantier, 3 January 2020

Less than a decade after the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya, the resulting civil war in that country threatens to escalate into an all-out regional conflict involving the major powers.

Iran, Russia and China hold joint naval drills in Indian Ocean amid US war threats

By Alex Lantier, 30 December 2019

The exercises are a signal that a US-led war targeting Iran could rapidly escalate into a global conflict involving the major nuclear powers.

Japan to deploy military forces to aid US operations against Iran

By Ben McGrath, 30 December 2019

Tokyo’s decision is part of its efforts to remilitarize and normalize overseas military action in violation of Article 9 of its constitution.

Trudeau reaffirms Canada’s support for Israeli aggression

By Roger Jordan, 30 December 2019

Canada’s prime minister denounced a protest against a meeting meant to whitewash the crimes of the Israeli Defence Forces as “anti-Semitic.”

New WikiLeaks documents expose doctoring of chemical weapons report to justify 2018 US attack on Syria

By Niles Niemuth, 28 December 2019

Just as extraordinary as the leaks themselves is the complete blackout observed by the mainstream media in the United States and Europe.

Trump issues hypocritical threat over Syrian offensive

By Bill Van Auken, 28 December 2019

Syrian government troops backed by Russian air power have advanced on the last redoubt of Al Qaeda-linked militias in Idlib province.

Saudi Arabia sentences hit men to death, shields organizers of Jamal Khashoggi murder

By Kevin Reed, 24 December 2019

The announcement by Saudi Arabia of death sentences for five members of the death squad that brutally assassinated the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey in 2018 is part of a cover-up to protect the role of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Israel’s political impasse ahead of third election in a year

By Jean Shaoul, 23 December 2019

Netanyahu and his right-wing and ultra-orthodox partners need to secure 61 seats in the Knesset to form a right-wing government that could give him immunity from prosecution.

Australia: Lauded military veteran subject of second police investigation into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan

By James Cogan, 21 December 2019

The special forces were used for some of the most brutal aspects of the war, particularly hunting down and capturing or killing alleged Taliban resistance fighters.

Zimbabwe hospital doctors out for 15 weeks; German Amazon workers strike at three centres

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

20 December 2019

Doctors in Zimbabwe are continuing their walkout in the face of intensifying repression while 1,200 German Amazon workers protested low pay by staging a walkout.

Algerian and Palestinian general strikes; Zimbabwe’s striking doctors threats

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

13 December 2019

Workers in Algeria carried out a four-day general strike while Palestinians in Hebron struck and doctors in Zimbabwe are continuing their months-long struggle.

Turkey’s Erdoğan threatens to send troops into Libya

By Bill Van Auken, 12 December 2019

With Ankara and Moscow backing rival regimes in the ravaged country, any escalation threatens to spill over into a far wider and more dangerous war.

Turkish government blocks care of Kurdish HDP’s jailed ex-leader Demirtaş

By Ulas Atesci, 10 December 2019

Ankara is broadly cracking down on Kurdish politicians, including Kurdish mayors elected this year, amid growing ethnic conflicts linked to the imperialist war in Syria.

Indian oil workers strike against privatisation: Auto workers in Haryana protest in solidarity with striking Honda contract workers

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and New Zealand

7 December 2019

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

US prepares to deploy thousands more troops against Iran

By Bill Van Auken, 6 December 2019

While the Pentagon denied a report that 14,000 more troops are being sent to the Persian Gulf, it made clear that a major escalation is under discussion.

Iranian government kills hundreds in bid to suppress the worst protests in decades

By Jean Shaoul, 3 December 2019

There is no doubt that the US, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies and Israel are seeking to exploit the escalating crisis confronting Iran.

Iraqi prime minister offers resignation after army unleashes bloodbath

By Bill Van Auken, 30 November 2019

Adel Abdul Mahdi’s announcement followed the massacre of protesters in two southern Iraqi cities and the capital Baghdad, in which at least 62 were killed.

Imperialist powers intensify pressure on Iranian regime in wake of protests

By Jordan Shilton, 30 November 2019

US imperialism is chiefly responsible for the tense standoff in the Persian Gulf. But the claims of the Iranian regime that “collective security” can be achieved by establishing a closer military alliance with Beijing and Moscow are reactionary.

Croatian teachers’ strikes; healthcare workers’ stoppage in Northern Ireland; Zimbabwe unrest over runaway inflation continues

Workers Struggles: Europe, Middle East & Africa

29 November 2019

Thousands of Croatian teachers are continuing strikes over pay while 25,000 health staff in Northern Ireland have taken industrial action and Zimbabwe unions have called a mass demonstration over deteriorating economic conditions.

French courts sabotage probe of official financing of Islamic State terrorism

By Francis Dubois, 26 November 2019

The French courts are covering for the multibillion-dollar Lafarge corporation and its ties to both the French state and the Islamic State terrorist militia in Syria.

Leaked email on alleged chemical attack shows 2018 strikes against Syria based on lies

By Niles Niemuth, 25 November 2019

A whistleblower’s memo establishes that the July 2018 OPCW report on the alleged chemical attack in Douma falsified the findings of investigators to justify the attack on Syrian government forces carried out by the US, the UK and France.

Netanyahu, indicted on corruption charges, refuses to resign

By Jean Shaoul, 23 November 2019

The prime minister’s aim has been to incite his far-right supporters and encourage them to take to the streets on his behalf.