Showing posts with label saudi arabia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label saudi arabia. Show all posts

Friday, February 03, 2017

The Proxy War in Syria

 When Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson rather undiplomatically criticised key British ally, Saudi Arabia, for being amongst those 'puppeteering' in Syria, he blurted out the truth. What has been going on in Syria for the past five or so years has been much more than a civil war. Rival regional powers, as well as the West and Russia, have been intervening both directly and via groups on the ground which they finance and arm.

 What started as a bid to spread the so-called Arab Spring to Syria, with the aim of transforming a secular classic dictatorship (one party state, secret police, torture chambers) into a secular political democracy (which would have been a welcome development) was soon hijacked by Islamists of one degree of extremism or another with a quite different agenda. They won the support of the Islamic states, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and of Erdogan in Turkey who would like to turn his country into one too.

 With Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey using Sunni Muslim groups as their puppets and Iran, which supports the Syrian government, using Shia Muslim ones as theirs, the conflict has taken on the appearance of being a religious one. Some commentators have suggested, much more plausibly, that the real issue, for these states at least, has been for control of territory through which an oil pipeline from the Gulf to a Mediterranean port could pass most directly.

 For the West and Russia, it has been more a matter of geopolitics. The Syrian government, long controlled by a wing of the Arab Nationalist Baath party, has been sympathetic to Russia since the days of the Cold War, if only because during that period America kept trying to overthrow it. It even claimed to be 'socialist' but only in the sense of running a state-directed capitalist economy as in the former USSR, to which its dictatorial political system was similar too.

 Although Syria was not specifically included in Bush's 'axis of evil' it was still regarded as a hostile state deserving regime change. Russia, even though the pretence of being socialist has (thankfully) been dropped, continued to support the regime, if only to maintain its naval base in the Mediterranean, an objective of the Russian state since the time of the Tsars. For the moment at least, Russia has proved more determined in the defence and pursuit of its interests than the West, and it looks as if the regime is not going to be changed.

 These various clashes between rival capitalist interests have led to a minimum of at least 300,000 being killed, many more injured and much destruction as in the images from Aleppo. Millions more have been displaced both within Syria and as refugees living in misery in camps in Turkey and, if they didn't drown trying to get there, Greece.

 As socialists, we place on record our abhorrence of this latest manifestation of the callous, sordid, and mercenary nature of the international capitalist system, while hoping that the fighting, the killing and the destruction stop immediately and unconditionally.

From this months editorial (February 2017) Socialist Standard

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Saudi justice

24-year-old Ali al-Khawahir will be deliberately paralysis for stabbing his friend in the back 10 years ago unless he pays his victim 1m Saudi riyals (£177,000) in compensation. diyya, blood money is paid instead of the implementation of qisas – legal retribution. Originally, the religious prescription to seek diyya in lieu of punishment was seen as a way of preventing bad blood fomenting between communities and encouraging compromise. In the modern age it commodifies justice, where the price of crime is arbitrarily determined by the state. An eye for an eye … unless you can afford to be spared. In an another case in Saudi Arabia earlier this year, a father sexually molested and murdered his five-year-old daughter, but avoided jail by paying money to her mother. It has become a way for the rich and the powerful to purchase impunity.


JEREMY PAXMAN:
You called (Saudi Arabia) a friend of the civilised world.

TONY BLAIR:
It is. In my view, what it is doing in respect of the Middle East now...

JEREMY PAXMAN:
It chops people's arms off. It tortures people.

TONY BLAIR:
They have their culture, their way of life."

 And we have larned never to bite the hand that feeds us!







Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Saudi Arabia back-pedals on women's freedom

Women in one of the West closest allies are still banned from driving cars or travelling alone but it is good to note that the British demands for more women’s rights in the Islamic fundamentalist state is being heeded and having an effect.

 Women can now ride bicycles! But only in parks and recreational areas, not as a means of transport, just for entertainment and pleasure. Of course, a male relative or guardian must still accompany them.

Socialist Courier spots a potential market and business opportunity in selling Saudi Arabia tandem bikes.

Summer School

Summer School 2017

Summer School 2017  21st – 23rd July Fircroft College, Birmingham   These days, con...