The US president George Bush is on a tour of his allies in the Middle East at a time when US policy in the region is lurching from disaster to disaster.
On Monday of last week Iranian gunboats threatened to sink a convoy of US ships sailing through the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.
The attack by five Iranian gunboats was averted at the last minute, but shows how the dangerous stand-off between Iran and the US could lead to war.
Rumours that Bush would be landing in Beirut during his tour created outrage and promises of mass protests if the US president touches down in the Lebanese capital.
The US backed Lebanese government has been paralysed since Israel’s disastrous war in 2006.
Now the opposition, lead by Hizbollah and the mainly Christian Free Patriotic Movement, are demanding an end to Bush’s meddling in the country’s affairs and plans by the US to set up a string of military bases across the country.
Meanwhile the US organised “peace conference” for Palestine late last year has failed to take off after Bush attempted to carve the Palestinian Hamas government out of any say in the future of occupied Palestine.
His surge of 38,000 troops in Iraq has had limited success in Baghdad and outlying provinces, but the once quiet northern Kurdish areas are under daily attack by the Turkish army and the British army has retreated from oil rich areas in the south.
In Afghanistan – once described as the “winnable war” – the occupation has descended into chaos, with the conflict spreading into Pakistan – a key ally in the “war on terror”.
Bush once hoped that by invading Iraq he would break the spirit of resistance in the Middle East. Far from achieving his goals he has unleashed a new wave of resistance that threatens once “stable” Middle East allies.
The Cairo Conference is a key meeting place for those opposing war and occupation from Iraq, Palestine, Egypt and the international anti-war movement.
The event, which has been held for the past six years, brings together delegates from the global social movements, the international anti-war movement, the trade unions, the left and radical parties and the national liberation movement to build links of solidarity between those involved in the struggle against imperialism and neo-liberalism across the globe.
Get your union branch, student union or anti-war group to send delegates.
Phone 0207 278 6694 or go to » www.stopwar.org.uk
Five years after the invasion of Iraq, demonstrate for troops out. London, Saturday 15 March 2008.
Called by the Stop the War Coalition and CND. Go to » www.stopwar.org.uk
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