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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 usin…

Masters of War: A Scots firm named in Ukraine arms deal corruption probe

A Scots firm was named in Ukraine arms deal corruption probe in The Glasgow Herald on 27 January 2017. This is no surprise of course to hard headed socialists who know the nature of the capitalist beast.

 The overall death and destruction that took place during World War II may well be beyond human comprehension. Historians estimate that military casualties on all sides, in both the European and Pacific theaters, reached up to 25 million, and that civilian casualties ranged from 38 million to as high a figure as 55 million – meaning that somewhere between 3 and 4 percent of the world’s total population died in the conflict.

  Don't let us ever forget either, the war science practiced upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the 'Good Guys', despite how it is spun as, 'the end of war', as well as the potential for more of the same destruction being wreaked upon humanity as trade wars and sanctions, fuel blundering and conscious recourse to battles over raw ma…

Support our troops?

Among men and women it is commonly held that we should support our troops because they’re protecting our country, they’re protecting the world, and we wouldn’t have freedom without them. It is no wonder such beliefs are widely held since those claims are continually repeated by politicians and the media. The undercurrent of  that “support” and “gratitude” for the military and those who serve in it is intrinsically apolitical. Often, the spectacle of public gratitude to the troops reaches absurd proportions. Recently we witnessed at Ibrox, soldiers chanting and singing along with the hard-core Protestant supporters in a celebration of Armed Services Day.

If our freedom is bestowed on us by soldiers the implication that people should feel boundless gratitude to the military as an institution and all the men and women who serve in it. But it also follows that if our freedom exists only at the pleasure of the military, of course, is that the same military can revoke said freedom if it so…

Give socialism and peace a chance

Modern wars as a rule have been caused by the commercial and ļ¬nancial rivalry and intrigues of the capitalist interest in the different countries. Whether they have been waged as wars of aggression or they have been hypocritically represented as wars of “defence,” they always have been made by the ruling classes and fought by the masses.

War is not the cause of the troubles of society. War is an essential part of capitalism. War is a symptom.

The conflicts of capitalism lead to war and the only way to get rid of war is to remove the cause of war. The only possible struggle against war is the struggle for the socialist revolution. No one who upholds capitalism – whether directly, as an open adherent of the capitalists, or indirectly, from an reformist position – can fight against war, because capitalism means war.

 War breed a sinister spirit of unreason, race hatred, and  patriotism. They obscure the struggles of the workers for life, liberty, and social justice. They cut the bonds o…

How to Stop War

The SNP has announced its future programme to commemorate the First World War.

Alex Salmond said :
"By reflecting on these devastating events, and the consequences they had for communities the length and breadth of Scotland, we will help people of all ages in this country understand more about the futility of war and strengthen our resolve to never let a tragedy like the Great War happen again."

The most common mistake made in the attempt to explain war comes from the belief that this exists somehow independent of capitalism and that it is an aberration or even accidental. War is not the cause of the troubles of society. The opposite is true. War is a symptom and result of the irreconcilable troubles and conflicts of the present form of society, that is to say, of capitalism. The supposed moral, religious, racial and ideological disguises that war garbs itself with should not be allowed to hide the the true cause of modern war.

The only way to fight against war is to fight…

Trade Wars

The Pacific War against Japan was never a contest between democracy and fascism, as we have been taught. Neither the British nor the U.S. or the Dutch had ever entertained democracy for Asian peoples. Chiang Kai-shek remained a U.S. ally throughout the war and British historian Christopher Thorne has commented that, “if the term ‘fascist’ is to be employed in a non-European context for the 1930s, to no regime is it more appropriate to attach it than that of the Kuomintang in China.”

Leaving aside the conspiracy theory that the American government knew of the Pearl Harbor attack would take place and chose to allow it to happen, there is no question that an attack from Japan was probable. Contrary to U.S. political folklore, Japan’s subsequent attack was launched on a U.S. naval colony in Polynesia not U.S. territory (Hawaii only became a US state in 1959). And it cannot properly be described as a surprise.

In 1932, the Ottawa Conference cut off Japanese trade with the British Commonwea…

They never learn

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the fighters France is battling in northern Mali are some of the very same ones it helped arm in Libya.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he favored the idea of arming Syrian militants.

The War-Lord

"If there's people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we'll take them out of the game...It's a joy for me because I'm one of those people who loves playing PlayStation and Xbox, so with my thumbs I like to think I'm probably quite useful,"  Prince Harry comparing war in Afghanistan where real people die to playing a virtual realityvideo game.

Scotland's My Lai Massacre?

It has been dubbed “Britain’s My Lai massacre” a reference to the infamous murders by US forces in Vietnam.

The 16-man patrol of  the 7th Platoon, G Company of the 2nd Scots Guards, on 12 December 1948 were conducting military operations to combat the post-Second World War Communist insurgency of the Malayan Emergency. Soldiers surrounded the rubber estate at Sungai Rimoh in Batang Kali and shot dead 24 unarmed villagers before setting light to the village. The bodies of several  villagers were reportedly mutilated.

"So cruel those British,"
Foo Moikeeps repeating, "so cruel." An eyewitness, now aged 89

The British then introduced an extraordinary retrospective "licence to kill" law interpreted by lawyers as a clumsy bid to render legalise the killings that had already occurred. .

The colonial Attorney General who exonerated the British troops of any wrongdoing at the time privately believed that mass public executions might deter other insurgents.

Form…

Who owns the North Pole - Part 29

Greenland is an autonomous territory belonging to Denmark. But the U.S. believes Greenland is headed for independence, presenting “a unique opportunity” for American gas and oil companies to make money.

With Arctic ice receding due to global warming, American officials have been cozying up to Greenland, where future oil and mineral deposits may become available to exploration. State Department cables released by WikiLeaks reveal that the U.S. and other industrial nations are jockeying to “carve up” Arctic resources in the coming years. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates Greenland territory may sit atop oil reserves as large as those in the North Sea. The Arctic Circle could contain 90 billion barrels of oil, about 1,700 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids. In addition to oil and natural gas, mining companies also have their eyes on aluminum, iron ore, gold and rubies.

One diplomatic dispatch states: “Our intensified outreach to the Greenla…

Who owns the North Pole - Part 23

"This is our land," said Delice Calcote, a liaison with the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, an advocacy group representing the region's indigenous peoples. "We aren't happy with everyone trying to claim it."

With one fifth of the world's oil and gas at stake, countries are struggling to control the once-frozen Arctic. With global warming, the search for resources have led to a new battle for northern dominance. As the planet warms, as northern sea lanes become accessible to shippers, as countries and companies hungrily eye vast petroleum and mineral deposits below its melting ice, a quiet, almost polite, scramble for control is transpiring in the Arctic

"Countries are setting the chess pieces on the board. There are tremendous resources at stake,"said Rob Huebert, director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary."At this point, everyone is following the rules and say they want cooperation; behind the scene…

Who owns the North Pole - Part 16

Continuing our Arctic Saga

Canada is launching a series of military exercises in the Arctic far-north region of the country.The so-called sovereignty operation is designed to show a visible presence in the resource-rich area, amid competing claims among other nations.Asserting Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic has been a priority for Mr Harper's conservative government.

Operation Nanook will see the Canadian Armed Forces involved in sea, land and airforce operations in the country's eastern Arctic territory.

Once thought a barren region, a number of countries with competing claims have been carefully mapping the area around the North Pole, thought to be rich in minerals and natural resources.
Canada is also concerned by the melting of ice each year through the fabled Northwest Passage, blamed by scientists on global warming. The United States government has said that it does not recognise exclusive Canadian rights to the waterway, that could be a link between the Atlantic an…

Who owns the North Pole - part 15

Much news coverage of the Russians creating military units for a possible Arctic war as reported by Socialist Courier previously but of course they are not the only nations reinforcing their military might . We read of Canadian plans .

The First Battalion, The Royal New Brunswick Regiment is one of four reserve units from across the country designated to form the spine of a new Arctic force to be created over the next five years. Joining the 1RNBR will be the Voltigeurs de Quebec, Ontario's Grey and Simcoe Foresters, and Royal Winnipeg Rifles. To complement the creation of the unit, the military will continue with its plans to expand the Canadian Rangers, a group composed of First Nations and Inuit reservists. By 2012, those numbers are expected to reach 5,000 personnel. Should an incident occur in the Arctic, the soldiers would be available to respond.

Col. Greg MacCallum, commander of 37 Brigade Group , said the strategic significance of forming the new units is to exercise sover…

Teaching War

This Saturday members of Glasgow and Edinburgh branches will be in attendnce at stop the war demonstration in Glasgow leafletting and selling the Socialist Standard . It is now a cliche to say that the first casuality of war is truth but the statement remains accurate .

Ministry of Defence teaching materials that give an unbalanced view of the Iraq war are being used in schools, teachers' leaders have said. He warned that some of its assertions, presented as facts, would be disputed by most teachers. There were no estimates of the numbers of people killed, wounded or made homeless by the military action, he said. The material therefore risked breaching the part of the 1996 Education Act concerned with balanced teaching of political issues .
He told reporters: "When you are dealing with something as controversial as Iraq and the different events that led up to the invasion, teachers are under a duty to present material that is balanced. The MoD material does not live up to that…

Vultures of War

Young people are being recruited into the Army with misleading marketing . The report, by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, says that recruiters are targeting children as young as seven .

The advertising campaigns used by the Ministry of Defence "glamorise warfare, omit vital information and fail to point out the risks and responsibilities associated with a forces career", says the study. The report's author, David Gee, said: "The literature available to the young glamorises the armed services but does little to show the dangers recruits may face and even less the moral dilemmas they may face..."

One particularly successful advertising programme is "Camouflage", aimed at 13 to 17-year-olds, which includes a magazine, website and interactive games. The language in the recruiting literature and promotional DVD is so sanitised, a report says, that one brochure, "Infantry Soldier", does not even mention the words “kill” or “risk”.
A common ta…

Who owns the North Pole part 3

We warned here and here that due to the global warming and the increased accessibility of the Arctic Ocean and thus to the natural resources in the region that a new rivalry for sovereignty has begun in the Arctic .

Canada has announced plans for six naval patrol vessels and deep-water port in the north to assert its claim to territorial waters in the Arctic , all at a cost of $3bn (£1.5bn) .

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the time has come to re-assert Canada's claim to the north to remind other countries - including the US - of Canada's claim to the waters off its northern coast.

The claim could also have serious economic implications. Natural resources including oil, gas and diamonds are thought to lurk - perhaps in abundance - under the Arctic ice. And then there is the North-West Passage - the northern shipping route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans that European explorers sought for centuries. With a warming climate, the route may just become viable and lucr…