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FEBRUARY 24, 2011

For more than two months people in North Africa and the Middle East, from Morocco to Yemen, have been in struggle for freedom, social justice, democracy, a better life, human dignity and self-determination. The growing momentum of this mass uprising has changed the social and political life of millions in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, and to some extent, Syria and Iran. However, one must note that three countries, Libya, Syria and Iran, unlike the rest of the countries in the region, are not ruled by an imperialist client regime. In these countries, within the framework of being independent of imperialism, as well as the framework of the struggle of masses of people for their rights, the dividing line between revolution and counter revolution is more complicated. Fundamentally, the revolutionary movement that is unfolding today everywhere in North Africa and the Middle East is anti-autocratic and anti-imperialist in character.

The popular mass radical movement started in Tunisia in mid-December 2010, when an unemployed graduate student who was working as a street vendor set himself on fire in protest to humiliation and police brutality. After 28 days, on January 14, 2011, the protest rallies that were sparked and inspired by this incident forced the tyrant Ben Ali, the president of Tunisia for 23 years, to give up power and flee to Saudi Arabia. The popular mass struggle and victory in Tunisia elevated the social and political awareness in the already volatile atmosphere and generated a powerful confidence in millions of people that sparked a chain of mass protests and revolutionary struggle across North Africa and the Middle East. Strongest of all of these mass uprisings was in Egypt, where 18 days of marches, rallies and strikes by all layers of society, especially poor and working people, finally brought down the vicious dictator Hosni Mubarak, after 30 years in power.

The victory of the people of Egypt and Tunisia has set an important example for other countries in the area in terms of increasing immensely the radicalization and consciousness of working and oppressed people. Furthermore, the similarity of the socio-economical crisis in the region has reinforced the escalation of mass protest to all North African and Middle Eastern countries, either imperialist client regimes or independent ones, in the form of wide spread social and political unrest. The autocratic rulers of Tunisia and Egypt used all suppressive measures to crack down the mass protests. Hundreds of people were killed and thousands were injured, as well as hundreds of protesters were rounded up. However, mass killings and arrests did not demoralize and alter the protest movement. On the contrary, it encouraged more the heroic masses of Tunisia and Egypt to bring down their tyrants more effectively.

Without any doubt, the mass rallies and uprisings that have unfolded in the countries with overwhelmingly U.S. client regimes are in nature an anti-imperialist movement. The U.S. for decades has plundered the wealth and natural resources of these countries. The U.S. has armed these regimes with all the weaponry and military assistance necessary to suppress their population for the interest of multinational corporations and blood-sucking imperialist financial institutions. How could it be that these massive protest movements against local client regimes do not aim at imperialist exploitation and domination? After all, all these movements are a reaction to imperialist domination and exploitation. In fact, the client regimes have only been the base of operation for imperialist countries and their corporations.

The revolutionary mass movement in North Africa and the Middle East has so far undoubtedly imposed a huge setback for imperialist hegemony in general, and the U.S. war-drive in particular, in the region. This revolutionary movement also created world-wide solidarity with people in struggle. However, it must be said that thus far the U.S. and other imperialists, with the help of international institutions and especially the mainstream mass media, have been able to manipulate the world public opinion to prevent more sympathy and solidarity, needed to support effectively the people of North Africa and the Middle East. They have also partially succeeded so far in bringing the focus of the mass movements to just two issues. One, that the struggle of the mass movement is only a fight against dictators! And two, that they support these mass social and political movements and are on the same side as the protest movement. They have tried to register this on the world scale as well as in the Middle East and North Africa. In other words, their effort so far has been to direct this dynamic revolutionary movement into a safe hub, diverting the growing awareness of the masses locally and internationally away from the role of the imperialists’ destruction in the region. The U.S. and other imperial countries have been trying very hard to do this, with the instrumental help of whatever is left of the old rotten regimes in the Middle East and North Africa.

While this manoeuvring worked at the beginning of the mass movement, now it has become clear that in Tunisia and Egypt working people have already advanced their struggle to fight for rights beyond the dismissal of dictators.

In non-client countries, such as Iran, Syria and Libya, the U.S. and other imperialists are campaigning simultaneously for democracy and democratic rights, as well as for regime change. However, their campaign in countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Jordan and Yemen is merely for “transition to democracy.” All the while they are working with what remains of other client regimes to channelize the mass movement into a safe and harmless order. Essentially, the imperialists need to establish in the world that movements in all these countries, either imperialist client regimes or independent regimes, all have the same nature and character. But in fact, while they preach for transitional governments in the client countries, they propagate for regime change in independent countries, a clear practice of double-standards and hypocrisy. It is of vital importance to understand that there are two types of countries in North Africa and the Middle East; those that are independent of imperialist countries like Iran, Syria and Libya, and then all the rest, that in different degrees are client regimes, including Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain and so on. In the latter countries, the mass movements must get rid of client regimes and imperialist domination. On the contrary, the mass movement in the independent countries must reinforce the anti-imperialist consciousness, in rejection of imperialist domination and military intervention at the same time as they are fighting for a better government or regimes.

The return of imperialism to the independent countries and the establishment of client regimes in them is a severe harm and setback for working and oppressed people in the region. Such a defeat restores the balance of forces in favour of imperialism and brings back more misery and exploitation for decades to come. It is more troubling to realize that Iraq and Afghanistan are still under the boots of the U.S., UK, Canada and their allies and that Palestine is more remote than ever from any dignified solution. Furthermore, such a defeat changes the dynamics of opposing forces completely in favour of the U.S., not only in the region, but on a world scale.

We must understand that there is big difference between regimes like Mubarak in Egypt, Ben Ali in Tunisia and Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, and regimes in Iran and Libya. The first three regimes have all been puppets of the colonialist countries, therefore people of those countries must oust those puppet regimes in order to advance the movement against imperialism. The regimes of the two latter countries are against imperialist domination in their countries and indeed are independent of imperialism (though they are not truly anti-imperialist regimes). We are against any attempt by imperialists to campaign to overthrow these independent, non U.S. client regimes, be they good or bad regimes. It does not mean we support them politically, not at all. If there is any struggle in these countries against their governments or regimes, it must be absolutely an internal affair without imperialists’ interference.

Since the beginning of the mass revolutionary movements, the U.S. and European imperialists have not conducted such a regime change campaign as the one that is now conducted against Libya. Imperialist countries of the U.S. and Europe are serious about intervention in Libya. Condemnation of the Libyan government by the EU and the U.S., the proposal for a UN intervention, the emergency session of the UN Security Council to adopt policies and decisions to ease military intervention by NATO or the UN, the potential imposition of a no fly zone, the imposition all sorts of sanctions, and finally the asking for the removal of Gaddahfi by imperialist authorities including Barak Obama, the president of the United States, all and all are to undermine the self-determination of the people of Libya. Imperialists are taking advantage of the confusion around the internal conflict in Libya, advocating the re-instatement of a client imperialist regime in Libya, in order to be able to freely exploit the resources of Libya including the vast reserves of oil and gas. We condemn all imperialist campaigns for military intervention in Iran and especially in Libya and say loudly, U.S., EU hands Off Iran, Libya and Syria. We are against all sorts of sanctions against Syria, Libya and Iran. We DO NOT want another Iraq, we DO want another Egypt.

We invite everyone to join Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) to campaign against the military presence of imperialists in North Africa and the Middle East and demand:

Stop meddling in the internal affairs of all these countries!
Stop the false campaign and provocations against Iran and Libya!
U.S., UK out of Iraq and U.S., Canada, NATO out of Afghanistan!
Stop sanctions against Iran and Libya!
U.S. Get out of North Africa and the Middle East!