Middle East in Turmoil: Iran Retaliates, Israel Simmers in Revolt

GAS Cluj-Napoca

On Saturday 13 April, the Iranian regime launched an offensive against Israel with more than 300 drones and missiles. This escalation followed the events of 1 April, when Israeli forces bombed the Iranian consulate in Damascus, killing several high-ranking Revolutionary Guards officers. No Israeli citizens were killed as the attack was repelled by the Iron Dome. Biden made an “ironclad” commitment to the Zionist regime to support Israel’s security. An Israeli counter-offensive against Iran is a likely scenario in the near future.

The operation is part of an alarming global trend of escalating military confrontation between the two imperialist camps of the moment: the Western one, which defends US global supremacy, and the one built by the countries grouped around China, including Russia and Iran, which wants to re-split the world into several poles of imperialist power. This confrontation is currently taking place on several fronts, in the form of proxy wars or clashes between financially and logistically supported groups: in Ukraine and the Middle East, but also in the form of civil wars and internal tensions in countries such as Sudan, Niger or Mali. Like periodic recessions, such confrontations are an inevitable consequence of the way the global capitalist system works.

The market would rather not put its invisible hand on the rifle

Netanyahu and the clergy around him have consistently demonstrated that they want a military confrontation with the enemy. In this case, Israel made the decision to attack Iran’s diplomatic territory to cause a regional reaction and conflict that-the Zionist regime hopes-will draw US military involvement. What it has failed to take into account, however, is that American capitalists would not benefit from direct intervention with the economic crisis and elections looming. As such, President Biden has already told him that the US does not want to take part in a counter-attack.

In fact, since Friday, commodity prices have been moving up – especially oil prices. Since Middle Eastern countries control a large share of global oil production, a significant rise in prices does not benefit the West. Added to this is the risk of sanctions on the oil market that Arab states could impose, leading to an oil crisis. Such developments are a major blow to the credibility of Western institutions in the run-up to the US elections.

At the same time, the West is aware of the risks of disrupting global supply chains. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have already captured an Israeli ship in the Strait of Hormuz as a warning of a possible maritime blockade in the Persian Gulf. Despite bombing Yemen, the US and UK have already failed to blockade the blockade set up in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait by Houthi forces in response to the genocide in Gaza. The Iranian regime-backed paramilitary group has managed to block the movement of Israeli, British and US ships through the Red Sea since October 2023. Attempts to build an “anti-Yemen coalition” have failed and attacks on ships continue to this day. The Houthi movement claims to have hit a US warship in the Red Sea with a missile. Several merchant ships have thus been forced to circumnavigate the whole of Africa to reach the waters of the Indian Ocean, forcing the hand of the Western capitalist class.

Several investors prefer, under such conditions, to reduce their exposure to equities. The trend had already been pre-existing for several weeks as a result of inflation and interest price trends; geopolitical instability is accentuating it. Brian Jacobsen, chief economist at Annex Wealth Management, says, as quoted by stiripesurse.ro: “If it remains tooth for tooth, rather than escalating, then we will probably see a sigh of relief among equities, even if oil, gold, dollar and bond prices all include a risk premium to reflect the conflict.”

A class solution is not only necessary, it’s inevitable

The ease with which Israel repelled the attack, without significant damage, with the help of the US, the UK and allied Arab states (Jordan and possibly Saudi Arabia intercepted some missiles) highlights the absurdity of the proposal to solve the Palestinian national problem by military confrontation-eventually by destroying the Israeli state under capitalism.

This position is taken up and practised by organisations of the Palestinian national bourgeoisie such as Hamas and the PLO, but also by forces of the left such as the PFLP-which, having adopted the failed strategy of the ‘popular front’, now find themselves in a front dominated by Islamists. This position has also been taken up by part of the international left, justified on the basis of the “abstract right to armed resistance”, the “oppressor-oppressed dynamic” and other arguments based on a moralism that has no place among the workers’ movement.

They are all guilty of promoting a dangerous illusion among the masses, which is cynically speculated by reactionary regimes like the Iranian one. These illusions are designed to conceal the reality that there is no possible solution under capitalism and to prevent the class solidarity needed to overthrow it. No wonder they are advanced by groups that have replaced revolutionary Marxism with other theories or distortions of it.

Israel has sufficient military capabilities to prevent its own destruction and is more than willing to use them; in fact, it is actively working to create pretexts to do so. Previous similar attempts have failed and resulted in annexations and expansion of the Zionist state. Moreover, the Samson option foreshadows the Israeli regime’s plans to plunge the entire world into nuclear conflict if Israel sees its existence threatened. It is more than obvious that its destruction under capitalism is impossible, and an escalation of military confrontation would lead to enormous human costs throughout the region.

For this reason, the role of the working class in Israel is essential: it must overthrow the bourgeois Zionist regime and then discuss with the Palestinian masses the terms of coexistence under socialism, starting from the common class interest. In the short term, it is fundamental that this regime is internally opposed and unable to consolidate its political base. The use of the repressive tactics previously applied to Palestinians against protesters, the silencing of anti-war activists and the prolonging of the suffering of hostages in Gaza by refusing to permanently cease fire and release Palestinian captives have exposed its true character.

Already several large-scale protests with tens of thousands of participants have erupted in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and other Israeli cities. Families of hostages have taken to the streets, accusing Netanyahu of sabotaging negotiations and demanding his removal from power. The demonstrations included messages of solidarity with Palestine and slogans such as “For 56 years, prisoners of occupation – Free us all!”. Police intervened violently and arrested several protesters.

As the inter-imperialist conflict escalates and the possibility of a full-scale war hangs over any hopes for the future, the lies and violence of capitalists everywhere become obvious to the masses. It is time to demonstrate the contradictions of the system, to explain the need to overcome it and to mobilise for an international anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist movement based on concrete class interests.

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