On National and International Situation

the US and its allies, France and Britain, are now busy discovering the ghosts of al-Qaeda all over Africa. Western troops have already entered Mali and Niger ostensibly to ‘protect’ the rulers and ‘guard’ the mines and oil fields. The Pentagon already has an African command (AFRICOM) with American military presence spread over as many as 35 countries in Africa. Grabbing Africa’s rich resources and countering China’s growing economic ties with African countries lies at the heart of the aggressive US strategy being pursued in active collaboration with France and Britain, the former colonial powers which once controlled large parts of Africa. The US is also threatening military action against North Korea in the wake of the nuclear test recently carried out by the latter.

5. Contrary to the popular expectation of securing an early end to war which had helped Obama become the first Black president of America at the end of the disastrous Bush era, the war has thus kept spreading under the Obama presidency. Obama has of course effected certain changes in Washington’s war strategy. He has been trying to invest less in direct occupation, laying greater emphasis on so-called ‘targeted killings’ by bombing from unmanned aerial vehicles – the infamous drone strikes – and assisting various Arab rebel groups in the American project of regime change. The drone strikes are being carried out in utter secrecy and in flagrant violation of the sovereign rights of countries including long-time US allies like Pakistan and the number of people killed in drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia runs into thousands, most of them common civilians including women and children whose names do not figure even remotely on the lists of ‘targeted terrorists’. Obama has now vested himself with the power of ordering the execution of even US citizens without any transparency or reference to any process of law.

6. The continuing ‘war on terror’ has also cast a long and dark shadow on the state of domestic affairs in the war-mongering countries, the US and Britain in particular. The diverse Muslim communities in these countries are being criminalised and terrorised by repressive legislation and media hate campaigns. Basic civil liberties have been undermined in the name of fighting terrorism, and measures such as secret evidence, secret courts, extradition, revoking of citizenship and extraordinary rendition have led to deaths, disappearances and unlimited incarcerations, often without even the pretence of trials, whether inside the US, in Guantanamo, or in the US network of secret prisons across the world.

7. Next to the US and supported to the hilt by it, the other source of war and aggression in the world is Israel. Israel serves as America’s most reliable military arm in Asia and the staunchest ideological ally in its construction of Islam as its main enemy and particularly in policing the Arab world. Defying all peace agreements and UN resolutions Israel continues to occupy Palestine and perpetrate endless war-crimes. In fact, with Iraq and Libya under US control, Syria tottering on the brink of yet another US-led regime change and Iran encircled by the US and other NATO powers, Israel sees the present juncture as a great political and military opportunity to expand its occupation of Palestinian territory. The recent attack on Gaza, the killing of innocent Palestinian people and the massive and systematic destruction of essential services clearly smacked of Israel’s motive to flatten all of Gaza and drive Palestinians away by expanding exclusive Jewish settlements on their land. Palestine has virtually been turned into a vast concentration camp – an ironic re-enactment of the Nazi era holocaust on the land and people of Palestine. Against this background, the recent UN General Assembly resolution according Palestine the status of a “non-member observer state” thereby implicitly recognising the sovereignty of the state of Palestine, a motion passed with 138 votes in favour, 9 against (including US, Israel and Canada) and 41 abstentions (including Britain and Germany), however belated and symbolic, marks a moral and psychological victory of the Palestinian people. The US-Israel nexus remains the greatest global enemy of peace and freedom, and anti-imperialist forces across the world will therefore have to sharpen their struggle against this nexus. In this context it is heartening to note that rebuffing America’s desperate attempts to isolate and coerce it, Iran successfully hosted the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran in August 2012.