On Lebanon's crisis.

We call up Rima Majed in Beirut to talk us through the aftermath of the enormous explosion and ensuing protests. How has Lebanon's history since the civil war created such a profound, multi-layered crisis? We cover the desperate economic situation and the October 2019 revolt, before going deep on the politics of sectarianism, the regional scenario impacting Lebanon, the legacy of the Arab Spring, and the risks of foreign intervention.  

Running Order:

  • Beirut explosion and protests - (07:04)
  • Lebanese history 1990-today - (23:53)
  • Economic crisis - (38:05)
  • Sectarianism - (51:16)
  • Regional scenario and foreign intervention - (01:04:54)
  • International solidarity - (01:24:38)

–> For donations & help for local organisations other than the Red Cross: Google Doc

Readings (all Rima Majed):

 

Rojava offered the hope that a progressive, multiethnic politics might be salvaged from the ashes of Syria’s civil war. Now the Turkish assault on northern Syria looks set to crush the Kurds and a radical experiment in the region. 

We talk to two British volunteers in Rojava about the prospects that the political structures set up there might be saved. 

  • Dani Ellis (@lapinesque): engineer; civil defence volunteer, International Commune (@communeint) 
  • Alexander Norton: deputy features editor, Morning Star; revolutionary volunteer, International Freedom Battalion

Running order

  • (05:27) - Dani interview 
  • (41:39) - Alexander interview
  • (01:27:51) - Final discussion

Readings & Links:

Glossary:

  • YPG: Yekîneyên Parastina Gel (People's Defence Corps); PYD’s armed wing in Syria 
  • YPJ: Yekîneyên Parastina Jin (Women's Protection Units); all-female militia
  • PYD: Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat (Democratic Union Party); Syrian Kurdish affiliate of the PKK
  • SDF: Syrian Democratic Forces; alliance composed primarily of Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian/Syriac militias, led by the YPG
  • PKK: Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (Kurdistan Workers' Party); Kurdish party in Turkey founded in 1978 by Abdullah Öcalan. Started armed insurgency in 1984, thousands of fighters in northern Iraq and Turkey
  • IFB: International Freedom Battalion; armed group of foreign leftists fighting for the YPG in support of the Rojava Revolution 
  • MLKP: Marxist-Leninist Communist Party, Turkey
  • TEV-DEM: Movement for a Democratic Society; umbrella organisation in northern Syria, aims at organising Syrian society within the democratic confederalist system
October 17, 2019

Excerpt: /92/ Three Articles

A new format in which we each bring to the table a key article to unpick and unpack.
 
This week we take a sharp look at the crumbling US political establishment and its empire: impeachment and regime legitimacy; centrist rebels against their lefty parents; and the betrayal of the Kurds.
 
Readings:

In which we learn the extent to which the protests challenge the Islamic Republic itself. Also, why such little support from the Western Left?

In which we chat new alt-media, the US left, and Trump's Middle East policy

Episode Six: In which we consult the orb for insight into the roots of jihadism. Also too much talk about fantasy bots.

Episode Three: In which we ask what's up with the new 'International Brigades' joining the Kurds, and venture a Spanish pronunciation of 'Rojava'.

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