The Egyptian regime is attempting to suppress Al Jazeera’s reporting from the country. It has already closed down the Al Jazeera Arabic service in Egypt. Now it is attacking the English language service as well. On 31 January it arrested six Al Jazeera journalists. It was forced to release them after international protests but it detained all their equipment – TV cameras, recording equipment, laptops.
By Andrew Brown
The uprising of the people of Egypt, following the revolution in Tunisia, is one of those truly inspiring political events. For several decades US administrations believed they could trample on the Arab peoples with impunity. Buttressed by its client state in Israel, US imperialism believed that while peoples in other parts of the world might revolt, a series of quisling regimes, such as the Saudi and Egyptian dictatorships, together with the increasingly compliant Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, would be sufficient to prevent this happening in the Arab world.
By Andrew Williams
The mass uprising in Tunisia which overthrew the hated Ben Ali regime has inspired protests across the Arab world. The struggle now unfolding in Tunisia turns around whether the ruling class can reimpose the old regime, with a few very limited concessions to the masses, or whether the mass movement is able to push things further and impose more radical changes.
Whatever the outcome of this struggle, the mass movement in Tunisia has showed a truly tenacious willingness to mobilise and fight, despite armed repression. This demonstrates the continuing capacity for struggle across the semicolonial world, and has sent shock waves through right-wing regimes world-wide, especially in the Maghreb and Middle East.
By Andrew Williams
Photo: Walt Jabsco
The direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) that began in early September will go nowhere. Presented by the US as negotiations to create a Palestinian state, in fact the objectives of the US and other participants are not this at all. For the US and Israel the current framework of talks allows them to set an agenda that reinforces the occupation – as happened in the Oslo talks (1992-3) and subsequent negotiation processes – simultaneously settlements expand, more Palestinians are displaced, and Israeli missiles are fired on Gaza, whilst Palestinians are told they must not resist. The objectives are to weaken Palestinian resolve, deepen the internal Palestinian divisions, enhance the US’s image in the region and rehabilitate Israel’s battered international reputation. For Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas, Israel’s chosen negotiating partner, it is hoped the international stage can bolster his reduced standing. Amongst Palestinians there is widespread understanding of, and consequently little support for, this framework.