George Bush and Tony Blair’s support for Israel’s assault on Lebanon sends a message to every petty tyrant throughout the world - that providing they back the “war on terror”, they can carry out horrendous crimes and still depend on Western support.
The lesson has not been lost on Ethiopia’s ruler Meles Zenawi. Last week he ordered thousands of troops across the border into Somalia and by the start of this week his forces had seized the towns of Baidoa and Waajid.
Meles, who was part of Blair’s Commission for Africa, claims that Somalia must be cleared of “Islamists and terrorists”, a formula designed to appeal to those who backed the US-led assaults on Iraq and Afghanistan and urge on Israel today.
A victory for the Ethiopian forces over the militias of Somalia’s Islamic Courts Council would be a victory for Western plans to dominate the region. The invasion threatens to plunge the Horn of Africa into a war that will see further tens of thousands of victims in a region where millions are already on the verge of starvation.
Negotiations between rival groups in Somalia to halt a war were taking place as Socialist Worker went to press. The Somali people must be allowed to make their own decisions, free of interference by imperialism and its local allies.
WTO collapse is good news for world’s poor
Socialist Worker agrees with Walden Bello’s assessment that “the collapse on Monday of the Doha Round of World Trade Organisation negotiations in Geneva is one of the best things to happen to the developing world in a long while”.
The idea that these trade talks were designed to assist the Global South could not be further from the truth. From the very start, the aim of the developed countries was to push for greater market openings from the developing countries. Invoking development was simply a cynical ploy to make the process less unpalatable.
In the end, the US’s ruthless determination to prosecute this agenda scuppered the entire process. Even EU commissioner Peter Mandelson, who shares the aim of clearing the way for big business, was forced to criticise the US’s tactics.
Millions of people in Britain backed demands for fairer trade during last year’s Make Poverty History events. It becomes ever clearer that if we are to win demands such as subsidies for the poor and curbs on multinationals, we need to confront the citadels of power, not beg for their aid.
Read Bello’s analysis at www.focusweb.org/content/view/984/36/
Troops out now
Test for Italy’s far left
On Thursday of this week Italy’s senate will vote on funding the country’s increased military participation in the Nato occupation of Afghanistan. Nine radical left senators have pledged to vote against this measure.
The centre left government was elected on a promise to withdraw Italian troops from Iraq. No mention was ever made of transferring them to Afghanistan. Some 60 percent of Italians want immediate a military withdrawal from both Iraq and Afghanistan.
The nine anti-war senators are right to defy their party leadership. They should resist the pressures on them and vote against war.