Arturo Desimone – Informed Comment Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion Thu, 14 May 2020 01:09:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Western Powers must Stop Rolling out the Red Carpet for Modi and Hindu Nationalism amid Pandemic: DiEM25 Thu, 14 May 2020 04:01:03 +0000 The Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25) expresses concern for the role of Kashmir in a dispute between two nuclear powers. We call on all participants to pledge to a process of nuclear disarmament of the subcontinent and of the long running India-Pakistan conflict, in which Kashmir represents one of the more inflammatory points.

As a Pan-European and internationalist movement we demand that European Union members acknowledge their errors in having consistently rolled out the red carpet for Modi–while conveniently ignoring India’s sliding down the path of post-democracy, despite the blatant imitations by factions of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of the aesthetic and the behaviour of 1930s European expressions of phalangist Fascism.

Among the great achievements of India’s Independence, stands its secular Constitution which aimed to prevent sectarian division. This document enjoyed the support of Gandhi, himself a devout Hindu. We believe in upholding the universalist spirit of Rabindranath Tagore’s ideas of East-West dialogue, as well as the class consciousness of Bhimrao Ambedkar who first began to challenge the institutions and the mythology of caste in India. Of course, these figureheads of independence have more recent heirs, our allies today, along with the striking workers and students who bravely protested the hijacking of constitutional law, (these ended shortly before the pandemic). After the twilight of quarantine ends, the protesters who shook India will return, and this time they will be less alone.

We call upon progressives in Europe and beyond to ask their representatives to take the BJP-ruled Indian Congress to task for bypassing the democratic system of Kashmir, and for having spurred deterioration of the world’s largest democracy for decades, undermined by the spread of racialist and sectarian propaganda.

Why has Europe for over 20 years turned a blind eye to Indian atrocities, and been reluctant to condemn the BJP government of exhibiting the kind of bigotry and intolerance that Europe sooner points out in its “official” enemies?

The reason for this, we believe, is Modi’s embrace of the global financial institutions’ consensus, the massive implementation of austerity which relegated India to a subordinate position in the world economy and hegemony; which sought to undo India’s legacy as a member of the Non-Aligned Movement and to reverse and dismantle the legacy of the more progressive post-colonial governance of Prime Minister Sri Pandit Jawal Nehru.

Among the few dissident provinces within India that have held onto the Nehru legacy, we recognise the progressive model of Kerala which pledged to afford its inhabitants a Universal Basic Income during the recent virus-lockdown.

Europe must wake up to the dangers befalling the world’s largest democracy, as well as the nuclear tensions existent between India and Pakistan ever since Washington’s support for the Zia Ul-Haq regime that endorsed Pakistan with a nuclear weapon.

The spectre of Indian Partition remains an important breeding ground for disputes and sectarian rivalry, military tension and propaganda-warfare to this day. The real threat of Partition however, is not known to India alone, and we see many conflicts in the world and in Europe that emerge from the political tragedy of partition and colonialism. DiEM25 is a movement with the historical memory of the dangers of crises of Partition, whether the kind that befell Ireland and former Yugoslavia, or when we speak the division of Ukraine today as a battleground between the West and Russia; or rivening tensions that threaten destabilisation within the Eurozone and beyond the EU’s borders today.

Therefore, DiEM25 as a progressive movement calls for an end to the hatred, propaganda wars and nuclear arms races. We demand that Europeans stop turning a blind eye to the atrocities of Modi’s post-democracy India. Our Carpe Diem Struggle for a more democratic EU, also means we strive for a less Eurocentric EU. Previously DiEM25 insisted the EU act decisively on abusive members like Viktor Orbán. For similar reasons, the EU should alter its until now over-generous foreign and trade policy towards non-members who violate human and civil rights, regardless their business friendly “good behaviour” in the neoliberal order.


Bonus Video added by Informed Comment:

Al Jazeera English: “India Muslims targeted in attacks over coronavirus”

The European Union must Stop Mimicking Trump on Iran: DiEM25 should call on Brussels to live up to its own Responsibilities Mon, 13 Jan 2020 05:03:00 +0000 Amsterdam (Special to Informed Comment) – In the spirit of what the EU calls “de-escalation’’ German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer recently asserted an official belief that Iranian general Qassem Soleimani masterminded the 2019 Yemeni attacks on Saudi Aramco oil fields in Abqaiq —necessitating US retaliation. Demmer denied the Yemeni origin of the guerrilla response to a genocide in Yemen that Europe and the US did nothing to stop, and used the term “self-defence” for the New Year’s Trump-Pompeo assassination of Iraqi military officers – on Iraqi soil – to kill an Iranian target.

The EU has once again distanced itself from duties that come with being co-signatories of the Obama-era Iranian nuclear deal after the EU yielded to American pressure to reinstate sanctions.

Statements like those by Demmer and the meteorically risen Ursula von der Leyen, do not only destroy the trust of Tehran in relation to the treaty: these utterances show anachronistic eagerness, unmatched by US politicians, to participate in the Trump era and to make “Trump gestures” despite how the initial years of Trump’s reign met with fervent criticism and discontent from the same EU figureheads and opinion-makers.

Such increasingly convoluted stances on the key deal they signed, justified in a language of moral relativism, political correctness (Heiko Maas’s “sanctions against Iraq are unhelpful“) and amnesia, may be the air Brussels breathes and commonplace in diplomat schools, yet remain culturally foreign to the Iranian understanding.

The recent massacre utilised drone technology first deployed experimentally in Iraq by George W Bush, and developed by Barack Obama.

Trump and Pompeo’s decision– spiteful of US Congress and Constitutional law– was followed by threats to target Iranian cultural sites like Persepolis, against the Geneva convention. Riveting much of the world, the killings have thus far generated only convoluted and lackadaisical responses from European policy spokespersons and the expert community.

In her statement, not only did Demmer sound like a US Republican by conflating the interests and identity of Washington DC with Riyadh: she also conflates Iran with the Yemeni Houthi uprising against the Saudi invasion.

Expressions of solidarity by EU pundits sound more unequivocally supportive of Trump and Pompeo’s crime than the response within the US political establishment. Former president Jimmy Carter called Trump to warn against war, speaking to Trump in the sole language he understands—that of money and expenses. Though Democrats maintain an aggressive stance on Iran and the region, most expressed discontent with the spite for Congress and the Constitution.

Rehearsed propagandistic statements require dismantling. In September 2019 Tehran denounced what it called “highly provocative, destructive” claims made by Britain, France and Germany. Did EU members seek to please Washington after Trump and Pompeo denied the Houthi rebels carried out the drone-attack as a response to the Saudi attempted genocide?

By claiming “no evidence” the attacks originated in Yemen, the Trump administration opts for Riyadh’s preferred conspiracy theory, inculpating Tehran.

Demmer either dismisses, or forgets the Saudi attempted genocide in Yemen when denying Yemeni guerillas’ responsibility for the attack on the Abqaiq oil fields, and by instead identifying Solemaini’s Quds force as the true culprit. Trump dismissed his own Congress’ overture to block US support for Saudi massacres.

Yemen found other allies.

Though Iran supports Houthi Arabs in Yemen with weapons and tactical advice (as Iran does with Lebanon’s Hezbollah) to claim these two act singularly at the highest levels of coordination, is both reactionary and analytically erroneous. Such assumptions are not only convenient to a broad neoconservative agenda: these are the European sounds Trump wants to hear. (Do EU officials intend to coax Trump into again raising NATO spending?)

Demmer mentioned Iran’s capture of a vessel in the Gulf as yet another official talking point justifying the assassination.

The Iranian retaliatory seizure ( came after a similar pirate-move in 2019 by British Royal Marines who, upon US request, abducted the Iranian tanker “Arian Dharya 1” in the British overseas territory Gibraltar, claiming the tanker coursing towards Greece would facilitate petroleum to Syria, in violation of sanctions which Iran had obviously never agreed to.

Tehran, at war with the Gulf and frustrated by Europe’s adamant support for Washington sanctions despite their status as co-signatories on the Obama-era Iranian nuclear deal, captured a vessel transporting oil to the Emirates. For years, Tehran has asserted its suspicion that Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are the bastion of support of Isil /Da’esh as Solemaini drove campaigns against the mercenary “caliphate”.

Symmetrically opposite, we find Western claims making no distinction between Arabic-speaking Shiite tribes in Yemen and their Iranian ally, justifying a bizarre “eye for an eye” combat to avenge Saudi grievances against Iran.

By going along with the strange symbiotic relationship between the US Republican establishment and Riyadh (previously explored in books like House of Bush, House of Saud

Europe risks getting embroiled, blindly, in a millennium-old Sunni-Shia conflict which Europe is incapable of understanding and which has today infused itself into regional capitalist wars.

“We don’t lament Soleimani’s death” stated Boris Johnson, whose party’s licensed arms deals with Saudi Arabia made just under 4.8 billion pounds during the Yemen crisis – at which point UK judges, under activist pressure, deemed the transactions unlawful. The recent attempted assassination of an Iranian liaison official in Yemen shows the neocon establishment’s outright identification with the interests of Saudi Arabia, scorning the nearly-forgotten protests against Western involvement in the Saudi campaign of collective punishment of Yemen. In 2018, the Western-sponsored Gulf massacres drew the consternation of US congress and high-level European judicial activists. Iranian support in Yemen (as in Iraq) only became crucial in the face of Western impotence to defy the US and British neoconservative establishment and respond to atrocities.

The Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25) must stand against any European solidarity with the American massacres, and must stand with initiatives such as those by the Italian dockworkers who halted Saudi shipments of weapons to the war in Yemen, stating “They shall not pass”


Bonus video added by Informed Comment:

euronews: “ni
US-Iran: EU urges de-escalation and commitment to Iran nuclear deal”