Indirect internationally-brokered peace talks in Geneva between the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and a Saudi-backed coalition of some opposition groups were suspended on February 3 — just two days after they started. Associated Press said that day that “neither the government nor the opposition even acknowledged that the negotiations had officially begun”. Inside Syria, meanwhile, fighting intensified and the humanitarian situation deteriorated. Advances by government forces, backed by Russian air strikes, were the apparent cause for the talks’ collapse.
Turkey is rapidly descending into civil war as the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan deepens its offensive against the Kurdish population, left-wing opposition parties, journalists and academics. The Turkish government says it is fighting the armed forces of the left-wing Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), with which the government terminated peace talks last year. But the brunt of the state's violence has been directed against civilians.
Every year it becomes harder to ignore official Australia's celebrations of nationalism. For weeks, supermarket aisles have been given over to garish displays of things to buy for Australia Day on January 26: Australian flags and hats, stubby holders and thongs displaying Australian flags. None of it would look out of place at a Reclaim Australia rally. And then there is that ad for lamb featuring popular SBS broadcaster Lee Lin Chin. It is tongue-in-cheek, for sure, showing a military operation to enforce Australians worldwide to barbecue lamb for Australia Day.
British parliament sat late into the night on December 2 before eventually voting up Prime Minister David Cameron's proposal to join the US-led air war in Syria. Opposition Labour Party leader and veteran anti-war activist Jeremy Corbyn argued strongly against bombing Syria, as did protesters outside parliament. However, many right-wing Labour MPs supported the government.
Neo-Nazis protest against Palfreeman's nomination. Banner says: "Death to BHC [Bulgarian Helsinki Committee]."
A meeting in Rojava's capital, Qamislo, of the Assyrian ethnic minority. Photo from www.robertgraham.wordpress.com.
Since the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, the world's leaders and media have predictably reminding the world that the attacks' perpetrator – ISIS – has declared war to the death against humanity. ISIS would not deny this. Indeed, making this point was the reason it carried out the Paris attacks, which killed 129 people.
The Turkish government has declared all-out war against the residents of the Kurdish-majority town of Silvan (Farqin) in Diyarbakir (Amed) province. The town has been under curfew and siege since November 2. Artillery and military aircraft have been deployed by Turkish military and paramilitary forces. Residents have reported Arabic-speaking bearded terrorists — presumed to be ISIS — taking part in the attacks. Hopes that such government violence would end after the November 1 Turkish elections have been shattered.
Russia's initiation of air strikes in Syria on September 30, a year after a US-led coalition began air strikes in Syria — both officially targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) — began the latest round of speculation of a “new Cold War” with Russia and its allies pitted against the US and other Western imperialist powers.
Fadang Randal is a representative of the United People's Party of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti — PCJSS), who visited Australia in September. He spoke to Green Left Weekly's Tony Iltis * * * The PCJSS is working for the social and political rights of the indigenous people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. We are very much concerned now with the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord — a treaty signed in 1997 between the government and the PCJSS.
On October 12, Amnesty International released a report alleging “civilians living in areas of northern Syria under the de facto control of the Autonomous Administration led by the Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat (Democratic Union Party, PYD) are being subjected to serious abuses that include forced displacement and home demolitions.” The report said some of these alleged abuses were war crimes.
Foreign journalists are not welcome in Nauru. This is because of the erosion of rule of law and national sovereignty that has occurred as a result of the tiny and impoverished nation's government hiring out the island as a location for one of Australia's concentration camps for refugees. The point of locating the camps on remote Pacific Islands is so that the deliberate ill-treatment of refugees — which is what “deterrence” means — can happen out of sight and beyond the meagre protection of Australian law.
Some things are recurring in the Israel-Palestine conflict. One is that the Israeli version of events is generally the direct opposite of reality. Another is that Western politicians and media uncritically accept the Israeli narrative. A third recurring feature of the conflict is that the most compelling evidence contradicting the Israeli version events is the body count.
Russia followed the lead of Western powers on September 30 and began direct military intervention in Syria – using the same form (air strikes) and the same declared enemy, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Russia's campaign, aimed to shore up the beleaguered regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, will also target the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and other armed groups fighting the dictatorship. Russia's entry into the fray has dramatically heightened tensions between Russia and the West and further complicated the already confused, multi-sided conflict in Syria.
Funeral in Cizre of civilians killed by Turkish state. The Turkish right wing takes winning elections seriously. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is so serious about achieving the result it wants in parliamentary elections on November 1, it is pushing the country to civil war.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on September 9 a novel approach to stemming the flow of refugees from Syria: bombing the country. He also announced plans to accept a further 12,000 Syrian refugees on top of his government's miserly quota, but was quick to dispel any hopes that Australia might be abandoning its status as the Western world's leading abuser of refugees. Abbott told ABC Radio National on September 10 that Syrian refugees being held in the Australian-run concentration camps in Nauru and Manus Island would not be released.