Although the media this week around the world have mostly made headlines about Wuhan’s pneumonia and the final parliamentary ceremonies at Brexit, the center of the world’s conflicts has once again been the Mediterranean Sea. On its southern and eastern shores war is raging. On the northern shores, the offensive against pensions is raging.We’re entering a critical time. The forces and tensions driving the spread of war in the Mediterranean and North Africa are constantly unfolding.
Turkey at the center of the imperialist conflict in Libya, the Aegean, the eastern Mediterranean and Syria
After a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Mitzotakis in Paris, Macron announced that he will be sending warships to reinforce the Greek navy against the Turkish threat. Not only France, the U.S. is sending signals to Turkey as well and is preparing to sign a new military cooperation agreement.
The alliances on the Greek side do not lessen the growing military tension. In addition to suffering the already routine airspace violations with fighter jets, Greece has this week received an advance warning in the form of “cyber war”, probably a harbinger of future major attacks.
Meanwhile, Greece wants to erect a “floating wall” in the Aegean to prevent the arrival of migrants and refugees from Turkey. Because refugees are not only victims of the spread of the war, they are also turned into weapons by the competing imperialisms. That hundreds of them will die when they hit the new sea wall does not bother any of the imperialisms involved in this monstrosity.
Right now, Russian and Syrian bombing raids on the Idlib region are pushing a civilian population of over 700,000 into Turkey.
The situation has become increasingly tense to the point where Turkey has been on the verge of open warfare, sending tanks and artillery to the border all week, cursing Russia and watching with apprehension as the Syrian troops it organizes and equips are losing positions in what appears to be a full-blown reconquest of Idlib.
Meanwhile, in Libya, the Berlin agreements are falling apart. Turkey has announced that it will continue to train and prepare the “Libyan army” even if it does not send its own troops. But as Macron and Mitzotakis pointed out, the troops they are “training” are actually nothing more than contingents of “Syrian Free Army” soldiers sent by Ankara and “paid” with the promise of Turkish nationality. And while Macron and Erdogan once again raised the tone of their mutual accusations, Tripoli government forces managed to stop Haftar’s advance at Misrata.
The US peace plan for Israel-Palestine
This was also the week in which the US peace proposal for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was presented, a true prodigy of civil engineering – tunnels and bridges included – to ensure territorial continuity, increased surface area and capital city status in Jerusalem (its outskirts) to a Palestinian state without an army or ability to police its own borders. But everything is dressed up with some “prizes” such as ports, a technological industrial park and 5 billion dollars in direct aid to ensure a certain viability of Palestinian capital. In return, it would enshrine the de facto situation, including the recent Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the loss of territory already established since the 1990s to date.
Clearly it was difficult for the Palestinian government to become satisfied with such a starting point in negotiations. And from the very first moments, not only the responses of the Islamist groups and the categorical refusal of the PNA (Palestinian National Authority), but above all the lukewarmness of the Saudis and Egyptians, bode ill for “Trump’s Plan”.
Of course, it helped European diplomacy to make its presence felt and Turkey to stage its aspirations for patronage with a solemn declaration by its Parliament. Putin, on the other hand, opted for a cautious silence. He knows that the US still hopes that its Arab allies will not drop the proposal, at least completely, if only because every time the PLO or their governments refused to negotiate, they ended up losing even more territory.
What is certain is that to date the only thing the “peace plan” has been useful for is to increase tension and the mobilization of troops.
The struggle for pensions
In France, the pension reform left the “State Council” with serious doubts about its legal validity. But what seemed to be a stumbling block for the government has been ignored without much difficulty and the law will be voted on in parliament next Monday. But surely it is not the republican laws that are going to defend the workers no matter how much the unions and left-wing parties insisted on creating, as always, false hopes. Neither will the trade union parades defend them. At Wednesday’s parade, one could see the familiar and deadly combination of anger and exhaustion of a series of struggles artificially sustained and isolated from each other. The workers have little time left to react now. If there is not a decisive breakthrough among the workers, the republic will be thankful to the trade unions for having reached the procedural date in parliament with the government’s objectives fulfilled.
In Spain, meanwhile, the machinery is being set in motion. The IMF is urging the Spanish bourgeoisie to hurry. The Vice President and Finance Minister of the new Sánchez government has resurrected and brought back to the forefront the “Austrian backpack” even though Podemos had in theory removed it from the government’s agenda. And the unions, at the moment the Basque nationalists, have already staged a regional general strike whose objective is none other than to territorialize the pension system, accelerating the generalization of the EPSV mixed system, the prelude to the famous ” backpack”.
Entering a critical time
We’re entering a critical time. The forces and tensions driving the spread of war in the Mediterranean and North Africa are constantly unfolding. The degree of involvement of the European powers, the USA, Russia, Turkey and the Gulf countries keeps increasing. In other words, the imperialist stakes continue to rise. And at the same time, European workers are close to suffering -thanks to the trade unions- the first serious defeats in the fight for their pensions. It is time to intervene more strongly than ever in the thinking of our fellow workers, in the neighborhoods, in the companies, in order to break the isolation of information and to draw lessons from the direct cost of the illusions in “progressivism” and the unions, but also to point out that the growing proximity of war is not merely an anecdote, it is a horizon that cannot be separated from the fate of our own struggles.