Obama’s Iran Deal

Washington Finds another War Unaffordable

Iran has recently concluded a stunning nuclear deal with US and five other big powers much to the chagrin of Israel and Saudi Arab even as Washington hopes to fish in the troubled waters of the East China Sea where Japan and China are locked in a dispute over eight small uninhabited islands.

Even though the deal between Iran and US and other big powers is an interim accord and tough negotiations will now go on over the next six months to give it the shape of an agreement, it has come as a welcome breather for Iran and it has also signalled the fact that the that the US could not possibly afford another war and that the people in advanced capitalist countries would not brook war-mongering while the global recession was busy eating jobs and eroding wages. After Syria, the Iran deal signals another moral victory for the international anti-war campaign. India must now revive the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project and stop serving US foreign policy goals in Asia.

While welcoming American retreat on Syria and Iran – Obama seems to have rediscovered the merits of diplomacy to settle international disputes – we must ask Washington not to try and fish in the troubled waters of East China Sea. The stand-off between Japan and China over the eight small uninhabited islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China, is a bilateral dispute that China and Japan should settle peacefully between themselves and the US has no business to meddle. Or is Washington’s going ‘slow and soft’ on Syria and Iran meant only to allow it to pay ‘greater attention’ to its currently number one foreign policy objective of ‘containment of China’?

Political Violence and State Repression in Bangladesh

More than 100 people have died in police firing and political violence in Bangladesh in the week since the death sentence against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah was carried out. Mollah had been convicted by a war crimes tribunal for war crimes committed during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence. Predictably, violent protests followed, with police firing in its wake.

The victims have included ordinary people – bus drivers, schoolchildren, bystanders. An observer (Maher Sattar, Al Jazeera) writes: “While outside fortress Dhaka – with 15,000 officers deployed almost daily – the real bloodshed is taking place, and people are seeing neighbours, friends, relatives die. Political activists are allegedly cutting up rivals from opposition parties, and there are rumours of security forces raiding the homes of activists and shooting them down.”