AROUND THE WORLD: Israel Launches Fresh Attacks On Gaza As U.S Recognises Golan Heights Claims

Israel has stepped up its campaign against citizens of the Gaza strip, allegedly hitting 100 targets in the embargoed stretch of land.

The overwhelming response came after two long range rockets fired from Gaza reached Tel Aviv and hit a house. Despite allegations that the rockets may have been accidentally fired or that the blame lies with dissident anti-Hamas salafists (whom have been routinely tortured by Hamas authorities), Israel has blamed and targeted Hamas in spite of a Hamas’ denial of rocket fire claiming it goes “against national consensus“. Similarly, the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees have denied undertaking the militant action.

The hard hitting response should come as no surprise as embittered Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu seeks to improve his damaged reputation from this years corruption revelations and trial. However, he has seen himself outflanked by his newfound ultra-right reactionary government partners. The co leaders of the New Right (Hayamin Hehadash) party, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, have called for further strikes stating “Bombing an empty building and then feeling good, as if this is what is deterring Hamas, is nonsense, it does not work.” Bennett has since said that he wishes for the IDF “to open the gates of hell” against Hamas. Despite this, it seems that Netanyahu has remained the budding face of the Israeli right, with a recent poll revealing that most Israelis think the PM is too weak on Gaza, but will vote for him anyway.

Since these events, recent developments have shown yet more heightened tensions on the Gaza border. In recent border clashes, it is alleged that Gaza protesters have thrown some 500 explosive at the IDF throughout Thursday night. The factions in Gaza have also called the Palestinian masses to yet again participate in the “Great Return March”. It comes one year after the deadly events of Land Day in March. Whilst organisers have called for the event to be peaceful, the IDF’s response is likely to be as aggressive as every other time Palestinians have marched to the border. The IDF has since showcased no signs of any peaceful intent.

All this has come amid a new atmosphere of budding American support for Israeli claims in the Middle East. This week saw the United States government recognising Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Israel had captured the territory after the 6 Days War and the construction of illegal settlements soon began after. The rest of the international community has long since regarded the area as being under occupation, which was showcased in the European Union member state’s unanimous rejection of Trumps proclamation.

In response to the US proclamation, locals in the Golan Heights participated in large scale demonstrations, with many holding posters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, defiantly declaring their loyalty to Damascus. Syria itself has called the move “blatant aggression”, further stating that Washington was “the main enemy” of Arabs.

State controlled Syrian Arab News Agency photos showcasing protests against Trumps announcement. Assad loyalists were joined by Druze sympathisers and SSNP members

With tensions once again building, both Netanyahu and Trump are no doubt looking to play on their nationalist electorate as both find themselves embattled with investigations. Whilst Trump has considerably less pressure than Netanyahu, whom is soon to be facing trial for corruption, he is no doubt looking to once again whip up his nationalist voting base for next years election. Much of Trumps biggest support has come from New Right Evangelicals who support Israel wholeheartedly due to their apocalyptic belief that the Jews must return to Israel as a precondition for Christ’s Second Coming. Netanyahu meanwhile has attempted to placate his far right support base despite anger at perceived lack of action simmering from settlers and neo-fascists alike. Whatever lies ahead for the two figures, the occupied peoples of Gaza and Golan are likely to feel the brunt of the consequences from the decision making processes of Netanyahu and Trump.

Sam Glasper is TPN’s Foreign Affairs Commentator and studies at Manchester Metropolitain University.

AROUND THE WORLD: Turkish President Erdogan Escalates Attacks Against Opponents Amid Election Preparations

Supporters of the Revolutionary Peoples’ Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) march against the killing of Berkin Elvan during the Gezi Uprising

As Turkey prepares for local elections on March the 31st, president Erdogan has once again moved against the militant opposition who have long opposed his authoritarian rule. The regime has refused entry to two French Communist Party members who planned to observe the local elections showcasing the already fraudulent nature of the elections. Posters belonging to the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) have been confiscated across the country alleging they are “Maoist” leading to the arrest of an election official in the Dersim district. Maoism in Turkey has come under a McCarthyite red scare as a Peoples War insurgency has gripped the east Tunceli region for nearly 40 years. The attacks have come amid an international hunger strike by imprisoned Kurds, leftists and their sympathisers which has come to be seen as a direct challenge to Erdogan’s rule.

In the most blatant and direct attack against their opposition, the right wing Islamist Justice and Development Party have went through on the prosecution and imprisonment of 18 lawyers on the grounds that they are “members or leaders of a terrorist organisation,”. The lawyers are either members of the Progressive Lawyers Association or the People’s Law Bureau and stand accused of belonging to the Revolutionary Peoples’ Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C). Amnesty Internationals Senior Campaigner on Turkey, Milena Buyum has stated that “Today’s convictions are a travesty of justice and demonstrate yet again the inability of courts crippled under political pressure to deliver a fair trial.”

The DHKP-C have been a thorn in the side of the Turkish government for over 30 years. Coming from a long line of left wing splinter groups that fought against fascist paramilitaries during the Turkish Years of Lead in the 1970’s, the group have since become known as one of the most professional militant groups in Europe. The far left group had claimed responsibility for a series of high-profile killings, including the assassination of far right nationalist politician Gün Sazak. The killing of whom would trigger events leading to the hijacking of the Turkish DC-9. The group would also go on to assassinate former Prime Minister Nihat Erim in 1980. The killing was believe to be related to the approval by the parliament of the execution of three leftist militants during his tenure. One of the executed was Deniz Gezmiş, considered by some as “Turkey’s Ché Guevara”. The group are also believed to have killed several prominent Turkish intelligence officers.

The groups recent resurgence, which includes attacks such as the suicide bombing of the US embassy and the kidnapping and the assassination of leading prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz, has clearly worried the Erdogan regime. In response, along with the conviction of lawyers who have defended socialists such as the DHKP-C, the Turkish government has launched a series of raids capturing alleged high ranking members of the group. The announcements may be treat with suspicion however, as the Turkish government have long treated anyone with sympathies towards the anti-gentrification and anti-imperialist message of the DHKP-C as a terrorist. Proof of this can be found in the government treatment of the popular left wing folk band Grup Yorum who have sympathies for the DHKC-P and have thus faced arbitrary arrest and torture.

DHKP-C militants infamous photo showcasing the capture of Mehmet Selim Kiraz 

With opposition in Turkey once again facing a clampdown, the integrity of the Erdogan regime diminishes day by day. The countries prominent place in NATO and its intervention into Syria has meant though, that the regime has remained legitimised in the eyes of west. However, with opposition to AKP rule remaining rampant in spite of these attacks, Erdogans dream of full dictatorship has not yet been fully realised. The determination of the Turkish left, which has not been diminished in spite of nearly 6 decades of repression, will almost certainly not let Erdogan grasp full power without a fight.

Sam Glasper is TPN’s Foreign Affairs Commentator and studies at Manchester Metropolitain University.

AROUND THE WORLD: Fascist Mass Killer Murders 49 In Christchurch Mosque Attack

Pittsburgh, Tree of Life Synagogue, 11 dead. Charleston, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 9 dead. Wisconsin, Sikh temple, 6 dead. Quebec City, Mosque, 6 dead. And now Christchurch, Al Moor Mosque 2019, 49 dead. All attacks committed by violent white supremacists. All attacks committed at peoples places of worship.

The horrific and cowardly shooting that took place on the 15th of March has once again shown the danger the far right poses to minorities across the world. The far right resurgence of the last decade poses by far the greatest threat to blacks, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs (and anyone who wishes to protect the targets of the worldwide Fascist menace), than anything else that exists in today’s times. Yet this attack, and the many others that precede it, did not come about suddenly or by accident.

Mainstream journalism (which has seemingly come to be made up of a combination of broadly right wing shock jocks, click-bait hacks and so called “free speech” Fascist enablers) has long subjected Muslims to a programme of dehumanisation that has allowed Neo-Nazis, Fascists and other assorted scum to commit appalling mass killings. In the shooters manifesto, he names Candace Owens as an influence for his atrocity. Owens, a known conservative commentator, has previously perpetuated nonsense relating to a Muslim takeover of Europe and a so called “Great Replacement” often tweeting about the rate of Muslim birthrates. This very same conspiracy was heavily peddled in the shooters manifesto, which was espoused on a site known for its distribution of child pornography.

The case bares the hallmarks of previous Fascist mass murderers inspiration from more mainstream conservative pundits and the assortment of Fascists often peddled on television. The Quebec City mosque shooter had viewed the Twitter of right wing poster boy Ben Shapiro 93 times in the month leading up to the shooting. In 2016, Shapiro personally promoted an article that called the Muslim presence in Europe a “disease.” and declared that Muslim men are “uncivilised.”, concluding on a quote from Winston Churchill that begins: “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries!” Anders Breivik, the Neo-Nazi mass killer of over 70 people (most of them children), was inspired by Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Lennon) the well known former leader of the EDL turned “free speech martyr” who was recently peddled out for all to see by the BBC Newsnight team. The cases all show how the rhetoric of well known right wingers propagating their views across television and the internet embolden the mass murderers that make up their most obsessive followers. Along with other Islamophobic writings, the Christchurch shooter has ‘For Rotherham’ written on his ammo. The revelation is disturbing and startling, Robinson himself had seen his resurgence after getting arrested in a court which trialled an alleged grooming gang.

In 2016, Shapiro personally promoted an article that called the Muslim presence in Europe a “disease.” and declared that Muslim men are “uncivilised.”, concluding on a quote from Winston Churchill that begins: “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries!” Anders Breivik, the Neo-Nazi mass killer of over 70 people (most of them children), was inspired by Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Lennon) the well known former leader of the EDL turned “free speech martyr” who was recently peddled out for all to see by the BBC Newsnight team. The cases all show how the rhetoric of well known right wingers propagating their views across television and the internet embolden the mass murderers that make up their most obsessive followers. Along with other Islamophobic writings, the Christchurch shooter has ‘For Rotherham’ written on his ammo. The revelation is disturbing and startling, Robinson himself had seen his resurgence after getting arrested in a court which trialled an alleged grooming gang.

Hidden amongst his rambling, often ironically written, manifesto the Christchurch shooter had showcased references to the work of Alexander Dugin and his writings on the strategy of tension. Dugin, a Russian neo-Fascist of a Strasserite ilk, had developed on the strategy of tension model which was used by Italian neo-Fascist terrorists during the Years of Lead and also Turkish far right nationalists during the political conflict of the 70’s and 80’s. The strategy of tension, wherein violent struggle is encouraged rather than suppressed, and its co-option by the modern far right is an issue that requires the greatest amount of vigilance from progressive forces around the world. Make no mistake, the far right wish for a race war. Their current resurgence, which partly lays in the hands of more mainstream commentators, must be countered by any means necessary. To placate the Nazis is to enable mass murder. To stop them is humanitarian.

¡No pasarán

Sam Glasper is TPN’s Foreign Affairs Commentator and studies at Manchester Metropolitain University.

“Heartbreak” for families as Only One Solider Charged Over Bloody Sunday Massacre

In what was said to be a landmark case in prosecuting the British state and its soldiers for its actions during the Troubles turned out to be little more than tokenism as the Public Prosecution Service announced that only one solider, known as Soldier F, would be charged for their actions during Bloody Sunday. The PPS stated that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute 16 other soldiers. The verdict has been met with disappointment from the victims families. The brother of James Wray, a victim of the massacre whose murder “Soldier F” will be prosecuted for, said that “There are a lot of sad and heartbroken people today.”. Derry City Centre meanwhile saw a march by the families of victims of the massacre, along with hundreds others, who held up photos of the dead.

Already a great amount of anger has been generated by the comments of Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. Williamson has confirmed the Ministry of Defence would support “Soldier F” and pay all legal costs, stating that “We need to give protections to service personnel … to ensure we don’t have spurious prosecutions.”. The callous comments come as no surprise when just earlier this month, the world was subjected to the ignorance of Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley who espoused that security force killings were not crimes and were the actions of people “fulfilling their duties in a dignified and appropriate way”. In similarly disgusting comments, Boris Johnson believed that the probe into Bloody Sunday was done to appease Sinn Fein.

The Bloody Sunday massacre was the shooting of 28 unarmed civilians who were on a civil rights protest against internment. 14 people would be killed, most of them fleeing from the bullets of the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment. 6 of the dead were only 17 years old. After the funerals for the murdered victims came widespread anger, the British embassy in Dublin was burned to the ground and independent Irish Nationalist MP Bernadette Devlin famously slapped the Secretary of State Reginald Maudling leading to a brawl in parliament. It was the most blatant act of state terror in the sordid history of the British government during the conflict. It was however, by no means the only one.

An earlier TPN article has previously noted the history of Britain’s dirty war in Northerner Ireland. Britain acted the same way as other murderous state governments seeking to crush the liberationist peoples they oppose. The tactics of the British government are highly reminiscent of the death squads used by the Spanish in the Basque conflict and by the French in the Algerian War of Independence. Britain’s most infamous counter insurgency unit was the Military Reaction Force which was described by a former member as a “legalised death squad“. The group would commit random drive by shootings in Catholic areas with the aim of provoking and confusing Republican paramilitaries. This includes the murder of Patrick McVeigh on May 12th, 1972 and the injury of four others as they stood at a west Belfast barricade. There is no evidence that any of them were members of the IRA.

Collusion between British servicemen, the RUC and loyalist paramilitaries has been a matter up for investigation for years. The biggest crimes of the informal alliance have been attributed to the so-called Glenanne gang who are though to be responsible for more than 120 killings in an area of Mid Ulster once dubbed the ‘murder triangle’. This includes the notorious Miami Showband massacre where one of Ireland’s most popular cabaret acts were butchered after a bomb prematurely exploded their van and dazed band members were then slaughtered by UVF and UDR gunmen. It was believed that the band members were stopped by a bogus checkpoint and the bomb was supposed to explode later. Declassified documents have recently revealed that MI5 had supplied the Ulster Volunteer Force with detonators “which they had set to explode prematurely”. Survivor of the massacre, guitarist Stephen Travers stated that “I woke this morning to the news that, for the past 30 years, The Irish Government was in possession of a letter from the UVF admitting that they were given the bomb, by the British, that murdered the Miami Showband and left me dying in a blood-soaked field.”

The reaction to today’s verdict has been best summed up by Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill who said that “Bloody Sunday was a massacre of innocents. Today’s decision does not change that…There is of course huge disappointment that only one former soldier has been charged with two counts of murder and four attempted murders…But even the fact that one former soldier is to face trial is a significant achievement.” In the end much more is still needed in order to move on from the violent legacy of the Troubles. To remain in denial or actively block reconciliation will only stoke tensions and lead this country down a path it cannot hope to escape from. Britain must address the role it played in the Troubles for it faces a clear brutal legacy of murder and deceit. It is a legacy Britain can never escape from.