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Stop the drive to a new war in Middle East

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Issue 2580
Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman and US president Donald Trump
Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman and US president Donald Trump

The prospect of another war hangs over the Middle East—this time in Lebanon.

Western allies Israel and Saudi Arabia want a major confrontation with Iran.

Iran propped up Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who has survived the civil war after crushing the revolution.

Saudi-Iran rivalry is  behind new turmoil
Saudi-Iran rivalry is behind new turmoil
  Read More

Syrian forces, along with Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hizbollah, were fighting to force Isis from its last stronghold in Syria as Socialist Worker went to press on Tuesday.

Now Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is trying to engineer a war against Hizbollah in Lebanon to push Iran back.

Bin Salman forced Lebanese prime minister Hariri to resign last week with a speech attacking Hizbollah and Iran.

He wants whoever takes over to launch some form of confrontation with Hizbollah—which could mean civil war.

Hizbollah is a powerful political force in Lebanon. Alongside its military wing it also runs its own schools and hospitals.

So war against Hizbollah would be catastrophic. But Lebanese politicians say they’re worried that Saudi Arabia will try to cripple them with a blockade if they don’t do what bin Salman demands.

Meanwhile Israel is threatening a bombing campaign against Hizbollah and Iran in Syria.

Rivals US and Russia reached an agreement last week to make Iranian-supported forces back away from Syria’s border with Israel.


But Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu rejected the deal. He said on Monday that Israel would continue its bombing raids in southern Syria.

Netanyahu all but admitted to colluding with Saudi Arabia against Iran in a speech in London earlier this month.

And Israel has instructed its ambassadors in other countries to lobby in support of Saudi Arabia’s actions.

This conflict isn’t initiated by the West, but it is of its making.

The latest power struggle in the Middle East comes after more than a decade of Western wars designed to ensure US control of the region.

Under Donald Trump, the US has also returned to confrontation with Iran.

And Britain supplies Saudi Arabia with the weapons it needs to wage its war on Yemen. Former Tory minister Priti Patel’s secret meetings with Israeli politicians were all about supporting Israel’s operations along Syria’s border.

So if there is another war in the Middle East, Britain’s hands won’t be clean.

British politicians will justify the bombing raids and invasions in Syria and Lebanon. Some may even call for Britain to join in.

When that happens, everyone who wants to end the cycle of bloodshed will have to take to the streets against it.

Protest—Stop Saudi/UAE War on Yemen, Saturday 2 December, 1pm, UAE Embassy, 30 Prince’s Gate, London SW7 1PT

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