Sep 23, 2006

Michael Karadjis on "Hizbullah, Iran and 'Right-Wing Anti-Imperialism'"

Michael Karadjis, who argues that Hezbollah is a "genuine national liberation movement" and not right wing, recently posted a lengthy piece on GreenLeft Bloggers entitled "Hizbullah, Iran and 'Right-Wing Anti-Imperialism': A Reply to Critics." The essay includes detailed responses to my "Further thoughts on Hezbollah." While I don't agree with Karadjis's core argument, his discussion is thoughtful, comradely, and well worth reading. I hope to post a reply soon.

Sep 11, 2006


Looking at Hamerquist's “Fascism & Anti-Fascism”
by J. Sakai

We weren’t thinking about fascism while we watched two 757s full of people fly into the ex-World trade Center. And maybe we still weren’t thinking of fascism when we heard about the first-ever successful attack on the Pentagon. But fascism was thinking about us.

Lebanon: Roundtable on the Borderline

Account of a meeting between Israeli and Lebanese anarchists on the border in which they discuss the war, hezbollah, the anti-war movement and anarchism in Lebanon.

Taking part are anarchists who had direct contact with this war on both sides of the border, their meeting was facilitated by networks of global solidarity within autonomous spaces in Europe, and also through the growing global anti-capitalist anti-authoritarian movement. A movement that is witnessing crises, but also signs of life! Anarchists who took part are Eyal and anat, holding Israeli passports; and Hazem and Imad holding Lebanese passports.

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The War With al-Qaeda
by Juan Cole, from Informed Comment

Monday, September 11, 2006

The War with al-QaedaThe war with al-Qaeda has many dimensions. There is the war with the organization itself. There is the struggle against its offshoots and copycats. There is cooperation with Muslim governments and communities in derailing the threat. There is the question of the strength of Sunni fundamentalist parties that might support al-Qaeda. And there is winning hearts and minds in the Muslim world.

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(while i find Cole's blog informative and comprehensive, i nor 3Way Fight support his liberal and pro-State politics. and while it would be wrong to suggest his proscription for dealing with religious fundamentalism is the same as the neo-Cons, he ultimatley ends up supporting a form of imperialist intervention as a way to "win hearts and minds in the Muslim world". winning rights and the creation of a broad and inclusive participatory and secular political framework can only be achieved through organization and action on the part of the oppressed and rank and file. it can not be achieved through any State (or trans State ie., UN) apparatus. -RX)

Sep 7, 2006

Eyewitness Lebanon: In the land of the Blind

by Michael Schmidt - reporting for Anarkismo

from text:

I’m an anarchist communist journalist and wrote this piece specifically for I entered Lebanon via Syria, from the north during the second half of the war, on the last access road not yet bombed by the Israelis (yet a plantation I travelled through was flattened an hour after I passed). I travelled mainly in Beirut and in its bombed southern suburbs, and in Sidon in the south as far sout-east as the target of Ghazieh, leaving on the first military transport flight out after the ceasefire came into effect...

...Most commentators note that Hezbollah sprang up in 1985 among Shi’ites in the Palestinian refugee camps of southern Lebanon - three years after the last major Israeli invasion - as a new generation of radicals tired of the compromises struck by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation under the late Yassir Arafat and Fatah. The right unsurprisingly sees Hezbollah as an outright terrorist organisation publicly dedicated to the obliteration of Israel. The left, however, is not at all sure how to deal with Hezbollah, especially given the fact that it appeared to be the only force that resisted the Israeli invasion. Marxist-Leninist journalists such as Michael Karadjis of Australia’s Green Left Weekly (8) claim it as a “a national liberation movement, rather than an ‘Islamist’ or ‘terrorist’ organisation” that has managed remain non-sectarian and avoid the pitfalls of both Islamic fundamentalism (being hostile to a marginal Al Qaeda presence in Lebanon) and of opposing Jews for their faith instead of Zionism for its imperialism. But however “non-sectarian” it is, it is hardly in favour of free thought - as the martial tone of its propaganda videos on al-Manar TV show (9).

Is Hezbollah “Islamo-fascist” as the European, American and Israeli right claims? The Lebanese people should be able to tell, having direct experience of home-grown fascism thanks to the Khataeb (Falangist) party, founded along Spanish Falangist lines in 1936 and responsible for the Israeli-sanctioned Sabra and Shatilla massacre of Palestinian refugees in southern Beirut in 1982. Certainly Hezbollah is a theocratic right-wing organisation built on conservative social grounds and an obscene leadership cult - and I suspect its adoption of the goose-step and the Nazi salute is far from accidental. The most visible faction of the Lebanese anarchist movement (10) characterizes Hezbollah as “reactionary”. I’d prefer the term clerico-populist.

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Anti-Arab Racism, Islam, and the Left

Rami El-Amine, founder and editor of Left Turn has been active in and reporting from Lebanon. He has published an article entitled, Anti-Arab Racism, Islam, and the Left. Below is an excerpt critiquing Three Way Fight and particlary the article, Defending My Enemy's Enemy,

"the anti-capitalists who blog at posted an entry titled 'Defending My Enemy's Enemy' during Israel's recent invasion of Lebanon in which they argued that while Israel is the clear aggressor in the conflict and needs to be opposed, it doesn't mean the left should support Hezbollah. The bloggers argue:

…Hezbollah is essentially a right-wing political movement. Its guiding ideology is Khomeini-style Islamic fundamentalism. Hezbollah's political ideal, the Islamic Republic of Iran, enforces medieval religious law, imposes brutal strictures on women and LGBT people, persecutes religious and ethnic minorities, and has executed tens of thousands of leftists and other political dissenters.

If it's not already, this argument will one day become part of one of Hillary Clinton's or even George Bush's (minus the part about LGBT people) speeches justifying a war on Lebanon and Iran. Even though the entry is insignificant in terms of the number of people who probably read it, it articulates a political view that a lot of the left, particularly anarchists and anti-authoritarians, subscribe to but are not as open about -- hence their conspicuous absence from a lot of the organizing against Israel's invasion".

Sep 4, 2006

The wrong idea

By L.G.B.
A vibrant democracy is supposed to uphold the freedom of speech, regardless of its content, in order to facilitate the exchange of ideas and better inform the citizenry so that they can be better decision makers.

That’s the idea, anyway.

However, a neoconservative think tank called the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies recently snitched on a Pakistani-American from Brooklyn, New York to the Feds. Javed Iqbal, a 42 year-old father of four and an American citizen, is charged under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, or IEEPA for supporting terrorism and is being held on a 250,000-dollar bond.

His crime? He isn’t being charged for operating a training camp, gunrunning, stockpiling weapons, plotting a terrorist attack or even being a member of a terrorist group. Iqbal’s crime is offering to sell the Hezbollah TV channel Al-Manar to an undercover FBI agent.

Before being hauled away, the Staten Island resident ran HDTV, Ltd. In the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn when he was contacted by a Lebanese informant asking for satellite television to be hooked up in his apartment. According to the prosecution, upon finding out he’s Lebanese, Iqbal offered him Al-Manar. Al-Manar has been banned as a global terrorist entity by the Treasury Dept. since March. Despite the fact that the channel can be seen on the Internet for free, it’s a crime to sell it, as Iqbal found out. The irony is that a group whose name calls for the defense of democracy would put a man in prison for offering a satellite channel which would offer nothing more than an alternative point of view. But according to the snitch himself, David Dubowitz, that was the idea all along. “The general thrust of the content is glorification of suicide bombings and calls for violent attacks against American troops in Iraq,” he told the New York Daily News. In other words, the threat that Al-Manar posed was portraying resistance in Palestine and Iraq as rational and, dare I say, justified.

This is the opposite of what we’re fed by the likes of MSNBC, Fox and CNN.

The Daily News, in fact, goes on to quote Hezbollah’s spiritual adviser, Hassan Fadlallah calling CNN, “the Zionist News Network,” a truthful statement considering, for example, that The Situation Room’s Wolf Blitzer is a former correspondent for the Jerusalem Post.

Dubowitz went on to state that Al-Manar is a terrorist organization and not a TV station because it’s used to raise money for Hezbollah. While that may be true, most of Hezbollah’s money doesn’t come from viewers outside of Lebanon, but from inside the country and mainly from Iran. Ruining Iqbal’s life won’t serve to disrupt the flow of money to Hezbollah, but rather the flow of information to the American public.

Much has been said about Bush’s call for democracy as a foreign policy goal, but what is overlooked is that “democracy” in Washington-speak means “hegemony” and “influence,” or “stability” when they’re having rare moments of honesty.

Specifically, stability in the Middle East means securing the interests of Israel and the Persian Gulf monarchies; Seymour Hersh’s revelation in the New Yorker that Israel’s Lebanon invasion was coordinated with Washington would explain the timing of Al-Manar’s new status.

Under the IEEPA, the President is granted the authority “to deal with any unusual and extraordinary threat … to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.” In this sense, the charges against Iqbal since Hezbollah is a threat, especially to the foreign policy as it currently exists. In fact, if the charges are proven to be true – his lawyers insist that Iqbal was entrapped and that the prosecution’s case violates the first amendment – then he broke the law and there’s not much more to it.

Every government has its interests and there will always be safeguards in place to ensure that nothing will interfere with those interests. The question isn’t about legality but morality, i.e. the equal application of the law. The IEEPA was established in 1977 in order to clarify the powers presidents had dealing with national emergencies, according to Wikipedia.

In addition to Iqbal, the IEEPA-related charges have also been brought against Americans who traveled to Iraq before the war to act as human shields. Marc Rich, the financier who was convicted under the act in 1983, was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2000, exposing how privileged people can escape the legal noose that Iqbal isn’t likely to avoid. Worse yet, Vice President Dick Cheney himself violated the law while CEO of Halliburton and - to the shock of many, no doubt – hasn’t been charged under the act.

Incidentally, both Rich and Cheney’s violations had to do with Iran: Rich traded in Iranian oil in 1983 during the hostage crisis, while a subsidiary of Halliburton had an office in Tehran. Publications such as Fortune magazine have documented this, and according to, Cheney and his company have a history of working\ with governments that are officially under IEEPA sanctions by Washington.

Those countries include Iran, Myanmar (Burma), Libya and Iraq during the 1990s, despite Cheney’s involvement in creating the Project for a New American Century, a think tank that called for the invasion of Iraq. Halliburton violated sanctions against Azerbaijan and the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act in 1997 alone, only having to pay $15,000 to the Dept. of Commerce for the latter, but no jail time. Among the “classes” of those charged include those that support or threaten to commit terrorism and terrorists who threaten to undermine the Middle East peace process.

While commerce is restricted with Iran and Syria under the IEEPA, Israel is nowhere to be found for their occupation and settlement of the occupied territories, nor for their state terrorism in support of such clear violations of international law. And while Belarus and Zimbabwe are subject to the IEEPA for undermining democratic institutions, Egypt and Azerbaijan are notably absent.

This political weapon produces a lopsided system in which the interests of an empire override democracy and the rule of law. Law is war by any other means, to quote Clauswitz, and Iqbal is another tragic and unnecessary casualty of that war.