Iraq: Deadly Chaos Through Subversion

National Flag of Iraq

Iraq: Deadly Chaos Through Subversion

13-10-2019 – It’s a familiar pattern. In a region where the US led Cold War against Iran is reaching fever pitch, protestors take to the streets of Iraq supposedly to demand an end to corruption and action on unemployment. Once again it is claimed that the “movement” is leaderless, and is composed of youths disenchanted about their future prospects. If you have seen this movie before, don’t be surprised. Sudan, Algeria, Hong Kong, Russia, China, Venezuela – all of these have sustained attempts at internal destabilisation in recent times, and all of them can invariably be traced back to one source – Washington.

In recent years, Tehran and Baghdad have been forming increasingly close ties, much to the chagrin of the US Empire. The US waged a criminal war which slaughtered at least 1 million Iraqis from 2003 on, in an attempt to undermine the Islamic Republic of Iran. Since that catastrophe, and the gradual withdrawal of US troops, Iraq and Iran have naturally forged closer ties for security and economic reasons. Now, Tehran is viewing the deadly protests as an attempt to drive a wedge between them and the Iraqi government. Iran’s state news agency IRNA publicly suspected the recent riots were the work of the governments of the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel, and were an attempt to dislodge recent co-operation between Iran, Iraq and Syria.[1] The defeat of US imperialism in its war for regime change against Syria has only diverted similar attempts to neighbouring countries, and others who refuse to bow before the waning influence of Wall Street.

Burning of government buildings, snipers on roof tops

Current Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi is at pains to point out that Iraqi people have a right to protest, and even agrees that corruption and unemployment are issues that need to be addressed. But his office is also concerned that outside forces are once again taking advantages of economic grievances to advance a totally different agenda. “Protests” where 8 members of the security forces perish, and government buildings are torched causing infernos, are plainly aimed at violent destabilisation, if not regime change. Some party buildings were also reportedly razed to the ground by the fires. Mysterious snipers on roof tops appeared, as if out of nowhere. They apparently shot at the protestors[2], and it is likely at government security forces as well. This deadly ploy played out in the Ukrainian “Maidan uprising” in 2014, where pro-US proxy forces, carried out shootings of protestors – not the Ukrainian security forces.[3] It is not unreasonable at all to suspect that a similar reoccurrence took place in Iraq over the last week.

Why would Washington be so displeased with Iraqi Prime Minister Mahdi as to launch a cookie cutter colour “revolution” against him?  PM Mahdi declared the Israeli state responsible for the destruction of five warehouses of the Iraqi security forces. He opened the crossing at Al-Qaem between Iraq and Syria. He expressed a desire to purchase Russia’s advanced anti-aircraft S-400 missile system. He gave a $284 million dollar electricity deal to Siemans – a German company, rather than a US one. He also rejected the US’s “Deal of the Century” which will likely permanently end the legitimate rights of Palestinians.[4] But this is only just for starters.

Ties to Red China expand

Iraq was one of the first countries to sign up to the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) historically unprecedented Belt and Road Initiative (BRI or “New Silk Road”). The BRI is a massive network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks which will attract trillions of dollars investment, and will link Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.[5] The US simply cannot accept being eclipsed even by an imperialist rival, let alone an upstart socialist power! The clincher was a visit by Prime Minister Mahdi to the PRC in September, which culminated in the signing of huge trade and investments deals in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on September 23.[6] In May this year, Chinese Ambassador to Iraq Zhang Tao stated that trade between Iraq and the PRC had exceeded 30 billion dollars in 2018, where China is the largest trading partner of Iraq, and Iraq is the second largest oil supplier to the PRC.[7] This staggering amount of trade, combined with the overt willingness of PM Mahdi to be a part of the New Silk Road, is reason enough in itself for the CIA to send in its operatives.

As if this wasn’t enough, in the recent trip to Beijing, the Iraqi delegation signed an “oil for reconstruction” deal. Under this deal, Chinese firms will work in Iraq in exchange for 100 000 barrels of oil per day.[8] And this deal stretches out for 20 years! The US, with its capitalist economy seemingly in terminal decline, is not in a position to cover anything near what the PRC can. And even if it somehow could, the for-profit basis of imperialist industry means it would not be considered. The PRC’s economy, despite whatever inroads of free enterprise which have been allowed, does not primarily run on the basis of production for profit. The investments that the PRC makes through the Belt and Road Initiative and other mutually beneficial bi-lateral deals it makes with countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa, are primarily socialist state investments. This does not mean that there aren’t occasions where privately owned PRC firms cash in, or even mistreat those they deal with overseas. Overall, however, the PRC’s gargantuan economic success derives from its predominantly public ownership of its means of production, and thus must be defended by workers internationally.

Working people have no stake with the nefarious ends of the US Empire, whether it be dangerous and reckless war provocations against Russia and China, or the intense propaganda against states deemed to be not sufficiently pro-US. Workers also have an interest in opposing and exposing, US led regime change efforts wherever they occur, such as the current unrest in Iraq. When socialism is victorious on a world scale, the concept of regime change will be considered a relic of a violent past.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

 

 

 

[1] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/iran-sees-iraq-unrest-plot-undo-bilateral-ties-191008052830021.html (11-10-2019)

[2] https://www.france24.com/en/20191004-iraq-protests-abdul-mahdi-cabinet-reshuffle-violence-baghdad-curfew (11-10-2019)

[3] https://www.pri.org/stories/2014-03-14/who-were-maidan-snipers (11-10-2019)

[4] https://www.globalresearch.ca/us-iran-silent-war-transformed-iraq-uprising/5691311 (11-10-2019)

[5] https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/iraq-to-join-china-s-belt-and-road-project-11935462 (11-10-2019)

[6] https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/09/iraq-china-economy.html (11-10-2019)

[7] http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-05/06/c_138036250.htm (11-10-2019)

[8] https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/10/iraq-china-india-oil-construction.html (11-10-2019)

XR: The Faux Rebellion

XR: The Faux Rebellion

 

07-10-2019:  Extinction Rebellion (XR) are hitting the streets again, with a week of action throughout major cities in Australia – their so-called “Spring Rebellion”.[1] We are in a climate crisis, they claim, and the time for action is now. Almost no one disagrees. Yet in reality XR are not leading a “rebellion” and they are not, in the final analysis, “rebels”. To be genuine rebels would mean to stand opposed to the profit system – the domination of privately owned capital over social labour and over the environment. The XR charlatans make no pretence of opposing even one corporation, let alone the system which allows corporations to freely pollute the land, sea, air and water humanity requires for life on earth. XR, and their semi-religious self-righteousness, need to be exposed.

From politics flow tactics

Those who place demands on the capitalist state, in the same manner as any politician or any liberal, or any lobby group, cannot be described as “radical” in any way. XR are making repeated demands for “the government” to “do something”. The same politicians who have overseen climate destruction despite repeated and ongoing warnings, can now, XR aver, be made to change their spots if only we – disrupt business as usual. XR whine that we have had years of marches and rallies, for no result. There has been no result so far because almost all climate politics has remained within the sphere of liberalism – plaintive cries to those in power. Despite XR adopting slightly different tactics, the politics of XR remain just as liberal, if not more, than those that have preceded them.

XR imagine that by changing the tactics of climate protest, the politics will follow, and demands will be met. XR have things precisely upside down. The politics are paramount, and if the politics are sharp enough, the tactics themselves become less important. Yet XR’s politics are woefully inadequate – even if the aim is to wrench a few small reforms from the capitalist state. XR are not anarchists per se, but they share the petty-bourgeois political approach of anarchism, which is shared with all elements of the petty-bourgeois “democracy” – the Greens, some intellectuals[2], small business owners and centrist “left” parties. Russian revolutionary leader V.I. Lenin, more than a century ago, wrote…”The philosophy of the anarchists is bourgeois philosophy turned inside out. Their individualistic theories and individualistic ideal are the very opposite of socialism.”[3]

XR’s bourgeois philosophy turned inside out is revealed as soon as one tracks the corporate and capitalist government links of its spiritual founders Gail Bradbrook and Farhana Yamin.[4] Granted, many of those attracted to XR actions do not themselves have high level links to government or the corporations they act for. XR, however, is simply appealing to the government – which under capitalism, is a “government of persons”. Whatever criticisms XR may have of all politicians for not “doing something” about climate collapse, they still firmly believe that the capitalist government is “theirs”, or indeed, “ours”. This reflects a purely petty-bourgeois outlook, which cannot see outside their class position.

Due to their class position, the petty-bourgeoisie is incapable of coming to a position of class independence from big capital. That is why they are not able to politically lead a struggle against the capitalist system. This role must be played by the working class and its special historical product – the Marxist vanguard party. But XR are not only light years away from socialism – they occupy a different universe to the working class. Hence their arrogant disregard for working class folk who may be blocked in traffic by a disruptive XR stunt. Working class people – many of whom overwhelmingly support urgent action to address the climate calamity – should not be prevented by self-appointed XR scions from driving to or from work, picking up their children from schools, or trying to go about their daily lives. Workers certainly can be won to supporting political action to address climate distortion – up to and including strikes against corporations and “their own” government – if they are given the opportunity to discuss and decide on the tactics of the movement in which they take part.

Workers must lead and decide

Yet this is precisely what XR denies the working class – or anyone else. XR explicitly deny the right of anyone who takes part in their actions to question their principles, their positions, their politics or their tactics. XR refuses, point blank, to work alongside other climate activists. Sure, they attend things such as the Climate Strike to wave their flag. But once XR is holding an action, ALL participants must subordinate themselves wholesale – in brain and body – to the high priests of XR. No one is permitted to question the framework of activity, its direction, or to question XR’s holy principles.[5]  Each one of these principles, at their core, is wholly compatible with capitalist imperialism – which is why XR expressly deny the right of socialists to question them. Anyone or any group proposing anything in politics must have their positions examined by the workers – no one is above criticism. XR is no exception.

In fact, XR must be criticised for one of its deadliest shortcomings – its support for the police of the capitalist state. Although some XR members and branches claim that they do not support the cops, it repeatedly returns to the surface. Recently XR VIC attempted to prevent XR members from calling cops “pigs” as they arrested one of their organisers.[6] XR’s strategy of mass arrests first, which supposedly leads to political change, is a galling example of their base misunderstanding of the class nature of the capitalist state. Again though, the petty-bourgeois class does not have to face the cops too often in battle, unlike workers on strike, or Aboriginal people. Largely white middle class XR leaders can cope with being arrested, held for a few days and released. This is even their aim.

At the least, workers need to reject those who claim infallibility on climate protest tactics and aims. XR must be forced to argue their positions inside the climate movement like everyone else – there should be no special exceptions. There, workers should counter the lobbying of compromised politicians by putting forward such demands as:  a 30 hour week with no loss in pay, an end to coal mining and the collective ownership of the means of production.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

http://www.redfireonline.com

PO Box  66    NUNDAH   QLD    4012

[1] https://ausrebellion.earth/get-involved/spring-rebellion (07-10-2019)

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/sep/20/we-declare-our-support-for-extinction-rebellion-an-open-letter-from-australias-academics (07-10-2019)

[3] https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1905/nov/24.htm (07-10-2019)

[4] https://redfireonline.com/2019/08/07/whats-wrong-with-extinction-rebellion/ (07-10-2019)

[5] https://rebellion.earth/the-truth/about-us/ (07-10-2019)

[6] https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/xr-vic-debates-stance-police-friend-or-foe (07-10-2019)

Wamena: Papuan Militia Terrorise Civilians

Part of the inferno set ablaze by separatist Papuan militia in Wamena. Image from wwwtribunnews.com

Wamena: Papuan Militia Terrorise Civilians

05-10-2019: Parts of West Papua are again in flames, after armed Papuan separatist militia launched an attack on the town of Wamena in the Papuan province of Indonesia. The death toll stands at 30, with 22 of the victims being Indonesian transmigrants, according to Indonesian national police Chief Tito Karnavian.[1] The armed Papuan militia set fire to numerous government and private buildings, leading to some Indonesians being burnt alive after becoming trapped.[2] These deadly attacks by armed Papuan separatists mark a serious turn to anti-Indonesian pogroms which cannot be justified, regardless of history. It reveals the “independence” movement, at the very least, as being politically compromised. Leftists in Australia and internationally need to carefully investigate the situation, rather than being swept into a trance by the slogan of “Free West Papua”.

Liberation movement?


Throughout history there have been many liberation movements which have fought for a just cause of emancipation from colonialism and imperialism. Over time, left parties and movements have thrown political support behind them, and have thereby stood on the side of elementary justice. The West Papuan case, however, is qualitatively different – in a negative way. A liberation movement forfeits the name if it is involved in ethnic violence, or in murderous acts against civilians or migrants. Unfortunately, armed Papuan separatists have done this repeatedly, and the attacks on Wamena in the last week of September were particularly vicious. By September 27, 1500 Indonesian residents had gathered at Wamena airport in a bid to leave. Local Air Force official Arief Sudjatmiko stated that 2500 people had registered to get aboard flights.[3] They were not fleeing the Indonesian military or security forces. They were fleeing for their lives from Papuan separatists, who were clearly targeting Indonesian transmigrant workers, such as motorbike taxi drivers, shop workers and restaurant waiters.[4] It should go without saying that socialists of any persuasion cannot endorse the wholesale slaughter of workers of any nationality – even if systematic discrimination against one group of workers is proven.

Yet even this does not appear to be the case in West Papua. While it is the case that the Indonesian transmigrants dominate the local economy in the Papuan provinces, there are policies in place to promote Papuans within the civil service.[5] There is a disparity between the coastal cities of West Papua, where transmigrants predominate in economic and commercial activity, and the relatively underdeveloped Papuan central highlands. The lack of development is not entirely the fault of the Indonesian government, but nonetheless the Indonesian government is attempting to spur development in Papua through infrastructure building, such as roads and electricity coverage. There is even an awareness that infrastructure building on its own will not solve all problems. Hence, in 2019, the Indonesian government increased spending on education by 13% across the country, including Papua.[6]  There may well be ways in which the Indonesian government is not administering the Papuan provinces using entirely just methods. For example, there are plans to have the roads built in Papua operate as toll roads.[7] A campaign to remove tolls from the roads would seem necessary. However, as in Australia, such a campaign would have to involve the working class of all nationalities, for lower living costs. It would not usually be a campaign against the road infrastructure itself – but particularly in Papua, where there are relatively few roads.

Not all Papuans are anti-migrant

There is evidence that the anti-migrant dimension of the West Papuan independence movement is not universal. For example, there appears to be peaceful co-habitation amongst indigenous Papuans and Indonesian transmigrants in certain areas. In Wamena during the separatist attacks, some indigenous Papuans helped to shield Indonesian transmigrants from the assaults. They even worked together to guard shops and buildings from the armed separatists – protecting their lives by doing so.[8] There were statements saying that the residents did not know where the armed independence marauders came from – perhaps the highlands. Wamena is the largest town in the central highlands, so it becomes the first target. Some Papuan independence militia claim that they have no issue with transmigrant workers, only those who act as informers for the government and security forces.[9]  In Wamena and elsewhere, however, this is not the case.  What cannot be denied is that the West Papuan independence movement has always had an anti-migrant basis. Romantically minded leftists in the West, who clamour to support West Papuan independence, are either not aware, or wilfully ignore, this base prejudice.

Moreover, it is the “exiled” West Papuans who are the most strident in prosecuting what is often a misleading campaign for separate independence. In the case of the Wamena attacks, Indonesian authorities, not without cause, have accused de-facto independence leader Benny Wenda and his international network of orchestrating the violence in order to make headlines days before the United Nations (UN) general assembly sits in New York.[10] Mr Wenda is no stranger to stoking deadly riots, as he is himself a fugitive for doing just that in Abepura in 2002. Benny Wenda incited a crowd of 50 to attack some shops, which resulted in two people dead.[11] While detained facing trial, he escaped from Indonesia and fled to the United Kingdom (UK). From Oxford in London, the fugitive Mr Wenda convenes a disingenuous campaign for West Papuan independence, particularly appealing to the forces of imperialism against Indonesia. To say the least, a movement which regularly incites violence against those of another ethnicity, often resulting in the slaughter of innocents, is not one to be endorsed.

Fake videos, real lies

When violent riots by Papuan separatists break out, the Indonesian government sometimes responds by “throttling” or blocking the internet. While this raises a hue and cry by unenlightened West Papuan independence supporters internationally, this action has a rational basis. Often the violent riots are begun by the spreading of fake videos online, making false claims about mistreatment from Indonesian authorities. In the case of Wamena recently, the bloodthirsty riots were set off by rumours circulated that a high school teacher had used a racist remark against students. Papua police Chief Rudolf Alberth Rodja, however, stressed that the police had investigated the alleged school and teacher, and confirmed that this incident was fabricated, and was a blatant untruth. He said that it is believed that this was hoax information deliberately distributed in order to fuel riots.[12] As Papuan separatists have a history of telling lies in order to whip up support, it is not unreasonable to accept the police account here.

For example, the Papuan separatists told the mother of all lies in December 2018, when they made the preposterous claim that the Indonesian military had used white phosphorus munitions against them in the Nduga region after a flag raising ceremony. They had the active support of corporate journalists who had made the same unsubstantiated claims against the Syrian government during the US led war for regime change.[13] That is, Papuan independence advocates willingly worked with the corporate media which repeatedly referred to ISIS and Al Qaeda as “rebels” and “revolutionaries” in Syria, in order to use the same lies against the Indonesian government. These spurious claims were soon debunked as utterly fallacious, given that the Indonesian military had never stationed artillery in West Papua, let alone million dollar jet fighters. And the only helicopters the Indonesian military has there are transport choppers, unequipped with any offensive weapons, which would be needed to fire ANY ordinance.[14]

West Papuan separatists and their entourage need to spread whoppers because the politics of their independence movement falters at the first question. Prime among the distributors of falsifications is “human rights” lawyer Veronica Koman. Despite being herself of Chinese-Indonesian ancestry, Koman is inherently anti-China and pro-imperialist. On October 1, she posted on her Twitter account a claim of solidarity with the violent Blackshirt rioters in Hong Kong, who in turn claimed solidarity with Uyghurs.[15] The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) are currently targeted by the CIA for destabilisation, and, they hope, regime change. Their aim is to counter the rising socialism of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) by any means – including funding those engaging in armed violence, and up to life-threatening extreme jihadism. But Koman’s anti-socialist fealty to the Pentagon is not the reason she is wanted.

Veronica Koman has been charged with serious crimes by Indonesian police. She refused three times to be questioned, who then charged her with violating the Electronic Information and Transactions Law and the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Law.[16] Racial and ethnic harmony is crucially important in a large multi-ethnic country such as Indonesia. However, Koman had repeatedly been stoking ethnic conflict by posting false information which aided violent riots in Surabaya. Instead of defending herself on charges of provoking deadly unrest and fuelling ethnic conflict, Koman fled to Australia. Understandably, the Indonesian government issued an Interpol red notice for her arrest,[17] but whether this will be enacted by the Australian government remains to be seen. Since fleeing as a fugitive to Australia, she has since appeared on ABC and SBS with favourable coverage, but without mentioning the criminal charges laid against her.  Unfortunately, a lack of basic honesty is de rigueur for pro-US “human rights” advocates.

Left parties blind on West Papua

Some Australian left parties blindly raise both hands when it comes to a request for volunteers for West Papuan independence. They barely lose a step before blundering into yet another international issue without checking its bona fides. Never one to miss a chance to embellish the Australian government, the Socialist Alliance chimes in with a demand that the federal government grant Veronica Koman protection and not hand her over to the Indonesian government. At the least, they display First World disrespect for the legal system of a Third World neighbour. They then pose the rhetorical comparison of West Papua to the case of East Timor.[18] If someone hasn’t told them, comparisons between East Timor – which after a long struggle won independence from Indonesia – and West Papua, are like chalk and cheese. Likewise, Socialist Alternative echoes the East Timor comparison, and swears to uphold all South Pacific struggles for  “self-determination”.[19] The Communist Party of Australia[20] and the Communist Party of Australia Marxist-Leninist[21] both reflexively hail the cross-class “people” of West Papua.

These left parties have forgotten their “Marxism”. Even if it was the case that Papuan militia did not slaughter innocent civilians, did not foster and foment ethnic violence against Indonesians, and did not spread lies and falsifications – Marxists would not automatically endorse self-determination or independence. While Marxists stand against national oppression, advocating the exercise of self-determination is dependent on a number of factors. The most important of these is whether or not it advances the struggle for socialism in that country, in the region, and internationally. Even accounting for the fact that, due to historical factors, the working class of Indonesia is more developed than that of West Papua, there is ample space for working class Papuan and Indonesian collaboration in struggles against capitalism in the region. For example, that which is facilitated by the common language of Bahasa Indonesian.

In stark contrast to liberal and petty-bourgeois nationalists, Marxists do not engage in the shadow boxing of a “good” versus a “bad” nation. What is required are methods of political struggle which advance the class consciousness of workers of all nations. “Self-determination” and/or “independence” may or may not play a role in this process. Either way, efforts to forge Marxist vanguard parties across the entirety of the Asia-Pacific remains essential.

WORKERS   LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO Box 66  NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/story/6402252/migrants-caught-up-in-papua-violence/?cs=7579 (03-10-2019)

[2] https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/protesters-burn-buildings-in-indonesias-papua-province (03-10-2019)

[3] https://www.nst.com.my/world/2019/09/525226/thousands-scramble-flee-unrest-indonesias-papua (03-10-2019)

[4] Ibid, 1.

[5] https://www.theislanderonline.com.au/story/6402252/migrants-caught-up-in-papua-violence/?cs=11679 (03-10-2019)

[6] https://papuawest.com/2018/12/12/government-to-shift-focus-from-infrastructure-to-education-in-papua/ (03-10-2019)

[7] https://news.mongabay.com/2017/10/indonesias-big-development-push-in-papua-qa-with-program-overseer-judith-j-dipodiputro/ (03-10-2019)

[8] https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/09/30/good-neighbors-papuans-help-non-natives-flee-violence-in-wamena.html (03-10-2019)

[9] http://lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/violence-papua-could-get-worse (03-10-2019)

[10] https://www.muswellbrookchronicle.com.au/story/6402252/migrants-caught-up-in-papua-violence/?cs=7281 (03-10-2019)

[11] https://redfireonline.com/2019/04/27/west-papua-independence-movement-spreads-more-false-claims/ (03-10-2019)

[12] https://www.smh.com.au/world/oceania/protests-sparked-by-hoax-racism-claims-kill-injure-dozens-20190924-p52uez.html (03-10-2019)

[13] https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/2018/12/22/exclusive-chemical-weapons-dropped-papua/15453972007326 (03-10-2019)

[14] https://infowestpapua.com/2018/12/26/phosphorous-bomb-propaganda-in-west-papua-a-seriously-fake-yet-silly-issue-administered-by-australian-media/ (03-10-2019)

[15] https://twitter.com/veronicakoman (03-10-2019)

[16] https://jakartaglobe.id/context/police-issue-red-notice-to-interpol-to-track-and-capture-veronica-koman/ (03-10-2019)

[17] https://en.tempo.co/read/1250173/veronica-koman-fugitive-police-issue-red-notice-for-interpol (04-10-2019)

[18] https://socialist-alliance.org/news/west-papua-australias-new-timor-leste (04-10-2019)

[19] https://redflag.org.au/node/6895 (04-10-2019)

[20] https://www.cpa.org.au/guardian/2019/1888/11-west-papua.html (04-10-2019)

[21] https://www.cpaml.org/posting1.php?id=967 (04-10-2019)