Middle East

Turkey wages war on its Kurdish population February 2016

Turkey is conducting the greatest massacre and displacement of Kurds since the 1990s, write Tom Anderson and Eliza Egret

The Egyptians by Jack Shenker February 2016

Laleh Khalili reviews Jack Shenker's new book and finds it strikes an unexpectedly optimistic note about the after-echoes of the Egyptian uprisings

In Egypt, a second life for independent trade unions February 2016

Union members in a crowded assembly hall lashed out against the Egyptian regime’s latest efforts to suppress workers, writes Giulio Regeni

Rebuilding Kobanê January 2016

Tom Anderson and Eliza Egret report from the war-torn city of Kobanê and meet those trying to rebuild what Daesh and US bombs have destroyed

Solidarity with Rojava: 3K in 31 Days December 2015

Plan C are fundraising £3000 to help rebuild Kobane after ISIS attacks and to support the political revolution in Rojava, writes Paul Higgins

Liberated learning in Rojava August 2015

Janet Biehl reports on the new women’s science of jineolojî and the revolutionary transformation of education in Rojava, western Kurdistan

Revolutionary resistance in Kobane December 2014

The fight against ISIS in Kobane has been based on the Kurdish defenders’ deep-seated belief in their model of participatory democracy, writes Yvo Fitzherbert

Delist the PKK December 2014

The ‘terror’ ban on support for the Kurdish struggle must be lifted, writes the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign’s Melanie Sirinathsingh

Free Mahienour! Egyptian revolutionary and climate activist July 2014

In May Egyptian revolutionary, climate activist and lawyer Mahienour El-Massry was unjustly jailed. Just before she was imprisoned she spoke to Mika Minio about her amazing work.

Tunisia: Families of martyrs and wounded on hunger strike against impunity April 2014

Isabelle Merminod and Tim Baster report on the lack of justice three years after the fall of Ben Ali

Egypt’s still-unfinished revolution: celebration and danger July 2013

Whether or not the events in Egypt constitute a military coup, Morsi’s fall portends great excitement but even greater dangers, writes Phyllis Bennis

Syria: We need to stop a new war in the Middle East June 2013

The Syrian civil war is spreading, writes Phyllis Bennis – but US military action is the last thing the country needs

World Social Forum: A new turn in Tunis May 2013

The World Social Forum in Tunisia was framed as the alter-globalisation movement meets the ‘Arab spring’. James O’Nions reports back from Tunis on how both sides of that equation are faring

Tunis: A tale of two World Social Forums March 2013

The WSF needs updating for a post-Arab Spring, post-Indignado world, writes Nick Dearden. The problems and the possibilities were both on show in Tunisia

Egypt: The revolution is alive February 2013

Just before the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, Emma Hughes spoke to Ola Shahba, an activist who has spent 15 years organising in Egypt

Syria: Which road for Damascus? July 2012

The pressure to ‘do something’ about the killings and repression in Syria is immense. Phyllis Bennis cautions against simplistic answers

Broken Spring? April 2012

Sami Ramadani argues that counter‑revolution has gained the upper hand in Syria and across the Arab world

Iran in the crosshairs again March 2012

Sabre rattling against Iran is nothing new, but that doesn’t mean the threat of war isn’t real. Phyllis Bennis analyses the situation in the wider Middle East

Cairo: ‘After seeing friends carried away with blood streaming from their lids, you stop trusting the goggles’ February 2012

Mika Minio-Paluello gives an eyewitness account of the street battles in Egypt late last year

An Israeli spring? November 2011

Miri Weingarten asks if Israel’s surge of social activism heralds a new dawn

The people are strong August 2011

Michael Pooler reports from Israel on Bedouin efforts to resist eviction in the Negev Desert

After the spring June 2011

Sami Ramadani considers the response to the popular uprisings from the region’s dictators and other reactionary forces, as well as the role of imperialism

Uprising in Iraqi Kurdistan April 2011

Dashty Jamal on the fight for freedom in Kurdistan.

Home-grown in Lebanon December 2009

Responding to the discussion on political Islam begun in the previous issue of Red Pepper, Bilal El-Amine considers the experience of Hizbullah in Lebanon

Essay: Red Shi’ism, Iran and the Islamist revolution October 2009

From the Iranian revolution to the Palestinian struggle, it has often been Islamic ideas that have inspired resistance to imperialism. Here, Alastair Crooke argues that the left needs a more complex understanding of the thinking, critical forms of political Islam

Essay response: How not to understand Islamist politics October 2009

Saeed Rahnema argues that Alistair Crooke's understanding of the Iranian revolution and recent events is deeply flawed

Essay response: Which side are you on? October 2009

Alastair Crooke's glorification of the Islamist movement is based on distortions and falsification, says Azar Majedi

The people reloaded September 2009

Misguided western leftists may have their doubts about the Iranian mass movement against President Ahmadinejad's disputed election 'victory'. They should put them aside in the face of the new politics of revolt, write Morad Farhadpour and Omid Mehrgan

20 June June 2009

'I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.'

Playing the Great Game June 2009

The Tricycle Theatre's production of The Great Game - 12 plays on the history and contemporary realities of the struggle for control over Afghanistan - brings to the fore what will be one of the central political issues in the coming years. Co-director Indhu Rubasingham reflects on the project

Afghanistan: a brief history May 2009

Understanding Afghanistan today is only possible by looking at it in the context of the part played by the competing imperial powers in its past. Jane Shallice offers a guide

Beyond the Taliban: the roots of Pashtun resistance May 2009

Mohammad Asif looks at the real background to the resistance groups

Support the Iranian people, oppose Tehran’s clerical fascism February 2009

Peter Tatchell says solidarity with the Iranian freedom struggle is non-negotiable, no matter how much the US threatens a military strike

The ones that stayed behind February 2009

Stefan Simanowitz on the untold story of human shields in Iraq

Women of the revolution January 2009

Thirty years after the toppling of the Shah in Iran, Azar Sheibani looks at how Iranian women have defied the reign of misogynist terror

Drawing back the curtain October 2008

Wherever he has found himself - with the freedom fighters in the mountains of northern Iraq, as a prisoner in an Iranian jail, and now filling a whole room at the Imperial War Museum - Osman Ahmed has always gone on drawing. He spoke to Amanda Sebestyen about his passionate journey to make his art bear witness for the hidden people of Kurdistan

Attack Iran? Yes they can August 2008

With US threats, Israeli military exercises and Iranian missile tests, it seems like a carefully choreographed build up to the next Middle East conflagration is under way. But can the US really risk a strike on Iran? Phyllis Bennis weighs up the evidence in conversation with Oscar Reyes

A different picture June 2008

An American soldier walks into a mosque, aims at an injured civilian and shoots, killing the man instantly. This is television news report number one. In the second report a military unit enters a mosque and patches up the wounded. Then a second unit arrives and speaks to the civilians. One man isn't responding and fearing the man's booby-trapped body will explode if he touches it, the soldier shoots the man in self defence. You don't have to be an expert in media studies to recognise the handiwork of networks with irreconcilable editorial positions in the presentation of this news item. The first was broadcast by Al-Jazeera Arabic, the second by the American Fox News Channel. How do we know which one is 'true'? And how should journalists go about their job of reporting in a situation such as Iraq? Claire Davenport spoke to western and Iraqi journalists to gauge some of their views on how the media is reporting the Iraq war and occupation

For the love of oil December 2007

Iranian author Mehri Honarbin-Holliday reminds us of the nefarious history of the crushing of Iranian democracy by the US and UK, and describes the peaceful efforts of a new generation of Iranian youth to build it in the beleaguered circumstances of a sanctions-imprisoned Iran

Iraq’s homophobic terror December 2007

Peter Tatchell reports on the plight of gay and lesbian Iraqis targeted for execution by Islamist death squads

West’s warmongering serves repression in Iran November 2007

Iranian President Ahmadinejad has failed to deliver on his 2005 election promise to 'put the oil money on the people's tables'. The growing gap between millionaire mullahs and ordinary workers' incomes has led to a new labour movement, ranging from bus drivers to teachers. In this context, western aggression is a godsend for Ahmadinejad's regime, which uses the pretext of 'security threats' to crack down on strikers and militarise Iran, write Andreas Malm and Shora Esmailian

Longing for the Taliban November 2007

Chris Sands reports un-embedded from Kandahar, Afghanistan, where chronic insecurity and anger at foreign troops is leading much of the local population to support a resurgent Taliban

Occupation without troops November 2007

The US and UK governments, the IMF and oil corporations are behind Iraq's proposed Hydrocarbon Law, which would effectively privatise Iraqi oil. Becca Fisher investigates

Pouring oil on Lebanon’s fire March 2007

The Paris conference to provide ‘aid’ to Lebanon sent a clear message: if you are on the verge of civil war, make sure you privatise and pay your foreign debt.

Not only about the war December 2006

As the Democrats give contradictory signals on Iraq, the US anti-war movement prepares to exert pressure for withdrawal and compensation for war damage. But it's not only on the military front that Bush is weakened. David Moburg reports

A warrior against the war December 2006

Geoffrey Millard, 25, a former US Army sergeant, is president of the Washington DC chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War. He spoke to Leigh Phillips about how he became an activist in the anti-war movement

The road from Iraq and ruin December 2006

With the Democrats' victory in the US elections offering the chance of a change of direction on Iraq, Kamil Mahdi argues that the growing sectarian violence is a product of the occupation - and that only by fixing a firm date for the withdrawal of foreign troops will it be possible for a more peaceful political process to emerge. Interview by Oscar Reyes

A thousand-headed dragon is here December 2006

Five years after the Taliban were toppled, Afghanistan is again being torn apart by violence. And it's the government and foreign forces that are getting the blame. By Chris Sands in Kabul

God’s own party September 2006

There is much misleading media coverage of Hizbullah, the Lebanese Shia movement whose militia is fighting the Israeli army in south Lebanon. Lara Deeb provides a historical analysis of a complex movement

Bridges to peace July 2006

Fabio Alberti from the Italian 'Bridges to Baghdad' argues that the peace movement will have to keep Prodi to his commitment to withdraw from Iraq and calls for the government to initiate an international peace conference.

Moqtada Al Sadr’s not-so-barmy-army July 2006

The Sadr movement in Iraq is typically portrayed as a hard-line sect. But Sheikh Hassan al-Zarghani tells Katherine Haywood that its main goals are a united Iraq free from occupation.

Investors’ rights trump social justice in Iraq October 2005

The drafting of Iraq's constitution has been portrayed as a conflict between Sunnis and Shiites and Kurds. Herbert Docena explains how the US got its way in another conflict - that over Iraq's oil and economy

Covering Iraq: an interview with Patrick Cockburn May 2005

The aptly named Frontline club in London is a favourite haunt of war-weary foreign correspondents. Its walls are festooned with all manner of memorabilia: from Baghdad and Kabul license plates, to Osama Bin Laden t-shirts and the front page of the 12 September 2001 edition of the New York Times. Omar Waraich went there to discuss the challenges of reporting from Iraq with veteran Middle East correspondent Patrick Cockburn.

My truth March 2005

Il Manifesto journalist Giuliana Sgrena was held hostage in Iraq and shot and wounded by US forces shortly after her release. A security agent protecting her was killed.

Dreams of war: reportage in verse December 2004

Red Pepper shadow poet laureate Adrian Mitchell introduces the winners of the Iraq Occupation Focus poetry competition

Killing democracy in Iraq December 2004

Red Pepper invited Naomi Klein and Haifa Zangana to discuss the current situation in Iraq and its implications for the anti-war movement

GIs against the war September 2004

As the war in Iraq seethes, dissent among US military personnel and their families is growing. The anti-war campaign Military Families Speak Out began with two families in November 2002; now more than 1,500 families are members.

Avoiding Vietnam in Iraq July 2004

Contrary to what Bush and Blair insist, the continued presence of "coalition" troops is likely to ignite, not deter, a civil war in Iraq.

The lessons of Abu Ghraib June 2004

The images of occupying troops torturing and abusing Iraqi detainees are a challenge to every British and US citizen. These horrors are being perpetrated in our name, and unless we act to stop them we are culpable. But to stop them, we have to understand them, along with the other horrors taking place in Iraq: the collective punishment of Falluja; the shooting of civilians; the raids by US and British troops on Iraqi homes; the detention of thousands of Iraqis without charge or trial; the slow progress in restoring basic services.

The Sadr revolt May 2004

On the surface, it is a battle of two political wills: the US-led occupation forces ranged against a seditious young cleric, whose brand of political Islam, historical grievance and thwarted nationalism runs deeps among the young, urban, overwhelmingly Shia poor of Iraq's central and southern cities.

Interview: Iraq’s Union of the Unemployed May 2004

The sensation caused by the fights of the past weeks and the rhetoric about the deaths and kidnapping of Western guards and journalists are taking our minds away from the economic colonisation of Iraq and the increasingly dramatic life conditions of millions of Iraqis. While contracts for reconstruction proliferate, nothing has been done for those without a job or any subsidy, pension or health care. Even those with a job haven't received a salary for months.

The Devil’s tears May 2004

In Azerbaijan, oil is known as the Devil's tears - a curse for the desperately poor Azeris and a blessing for their autocratic rulers. Satan cried a lot in this former Soviet satellite state on the west coast of the Caspian Sea. His tears were mostly shed offshore.

Peace forum breaks Middle East’s spell of fear February 2004

After decades of silence, over 1,200 dissidents and activists from across the Arab world found their voice at Cairo's anti-war forum in December 2003.

Lord Hutton and all that October 2003

Anyone who comments on the proceedings of the Hutton Inquiry, and the mountain of documentation it has produced, is in danger of succumbing to the same loss of a sense of proportion that the inquiry itself represents. So, to keep things in perspective I think it would be useful to recall some basic facts.

The fire sometime September 2003

Baghdad is choking in a 57 degree heat and a sweltering sense of fear. Water shortages and pollution are dehydrating the city and diseases such as diphtheria, hepatitis and typhoid are rife. Raw green sewage bubbles in the streets.

War n. globalisation by other means July 2003

First the US military bombed Iraq's hospitals, bridges and waterworks. Now US corporations are harvesting profits from "reconstructing" those installations. Blood was not just shed for oil, but also for control over all Iraq's vital services.

Iraqi WMD: the Minsk connection July 2003

As the row over the use of intelligence to justify war against Iraq rumbles on, Red Pepper can reveal that it too was approached with dubious information before the publication of the first 'dodgy dossier' in September 2002.

Could WMD become Bush’s Watergate? July 2003

Robert Dreyfuss asks what did the president not know, and when didn't he know it?

Secrets and Lies June 2003

Richard Norton-Taylor writes that intelligence reports on Iraq are distorted and manipulated for political ends

The last days of fundamentalist Iran May 2003

As it became clear over the last few months that US-UK hostilities against Iraq would take the form of all-out war, Iran's Islamic government defined its foreign policy as one of 'active neutrality'.

Who rules the peace? May 2003

The war on Iraq has been waged without UN authority in violation of the organisation's charter. Because the war is illegal, any post-war US occupation will be illegal too. That means the US should not be allowed to claim any power to rule or determine economic, political or social arrangements in post-war Iraq. Only the UN has the legitimate authority to provide governance and help rebuild civil society in Iraq now Saddam Hussein's regime has been overthrown.

No more demockery May 2003

We failed to stop the war but another world is still possible writes Hilary Wainwright

Searching for new monsters May 2003

On day 15 of the Iraq war, British troops in Basra displayed for the TV cameras a dozen suspected fedayeen. Hands tied and sacks over their heads, some of the captured men were shaking with fear as they awaited their fate. Speaking in a strong Northern Irish brogue, an army corporal said the men had been 'lifted', pronouncing the word used so often in the Ulster conflict as 'lufted'.

Weapons for Blair’s destruction April 2003

Natasha Grzincic reports on discontent within the Labour Party

Interview with Anthony Arnove April 2003

On 28 March 2003, Pablo Navarrete interviewed Anthony Arnove, who was in the UK on a speaking tour, and asked him for his analysis of the war with Iraq and the anti-war movement in the US.

Regime change without war April 2003

Mary Kaldor writes that those of us who oppose war should not allow ourselves to be seen as defenders of the status quo in the Middle East

Let justice not misguided morality prevail March 2003

Paul Nicholas Anderson assesses the morality of the war

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