Syria, NAM and Israel

Submitted by admin on Thu, 09/15/2016 - 01:23
'Bleeding Syria' by Tammam Azzam
'Bleeding Syria' by Tammam Azzam


Dear Friends,

Forgive me for coming to you with so much to read. But so be it. Too many things happening in the world; too much to cover.


The ceasefire in Syria is now slated to be extended for another forty-eight hours. Each time it is extended that is a relief for the people who are trapped by this war. No such ceasefire is in place for Yemen, which was bombed on Eid by Saudi war planes. Nonetheless, for Syria this is a brief respite. Aid is not able to get to besieged places as it should - according to the UN.

Just before the ceasefire deal was announced I wrote my column for Frontline and went on The Real News to talk about it. These reports offer a glimpse into the Kerry-Lavrov conundrum and the political mess that lies around them. A month ago, I ran into John Kerry while he was on vacation. He was with his daughter and his grandson. Secretary Kerry's remarks then - made in private - indicated to me that he is under a great level of stress. I had seen the same condition earlier amongst members of the Syrian High Negotiating Committee. So much tension, so little ability to move a result.

My report ends with this paragraph,

  • U.S. foreign policy is caught in conflicts that it helped fuel, and it is unable to exit. The U.S.’ failure to help its Syrian Kurdish ally will further dent the limited credibility it has in this conflict. Caught between Turkey’s demands and the Kurdish ambitions, the U.S. will pick the former to save its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliances. That is inevitable. It is precisely what the Kurds fear. They have lived a century of betrayals. One more will be added to their list.

You can read my column here.
The interview, which is here, is under fifteen minutes.

Non-Aligned Movement

As I write these lines, the 17th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement is taking place in Margarita Island, Venezuela. It is a bruised NAM that meets this year, far from its audacious history - the high point being between the 1973 NAM in Algiers and the 1979 NAM in Havana. Those were the years of the New International Economic Order (NIEO). What does the NAM propose now? It stands against the unipolar world order that sows inequality and war. But it does not yet offer a new agenda. My op-ed in The Hindu explores the NAM's history, which I had written about in The Darker Nations (2007) and asks if another agenda from the ashes of the NIEO would be possible. 

You can read my opinion piece here. Or squint and read it below.......


The United States has pledged to give Israel $38 billion over ten years - the largest military assistance deal in US history. It comes as Israel expands its illegal settlements, as Netanyahu continues to belittle the US president, as the BDS movement gains strength in the US and as a student at the University of California (Berkeley) has a class he is teaching on Palestine removed from the roster. $38 billion dollars of weapons here; a class on Palestine cut over there. Remarkable story of values and choices. This is my story today at Alternet. You can read it here.

At our LeftWord Books blog, we have an important essay by Brinda Karat of the CPI-M on the Dalit resistance and the role of the Left. I hope you will make your way there to read it. It is truly essential reading.

Warmly, Vijay.