In this section of our defence, we’ll evaluate the Middle East, an area of great importance to imperialism. For this reason, imperialism constantly tries to keep this area under control for its own benefit, using every kind of manoeuvre. No day passes on which blood doesn’t flow, no day without massacres and attacks, no day without war.
Why the Middle East?
It’s a fact that every development there in one way or another affects all the countries of the world… Apart from this, the Middle East has another importance for Turkey. In this area, geographically close to Turkey, imperialism uses every means to crush the people’s movements and the struggle for national independence. And it has thought up several roles for Turkey in this. For Turkey has historical, cultural, religious, economic and political relations with the neighbouring countries, it has a place in the Middle East according to its role in imperialist politics, as well as for its own benefit. Turkey watches every development in the Middle East with great vigilance, and the other way round, every development in Turkey has an effect on the Middle East.
We, as Marxist-Leninists evaluating Turkey, cannot see imperialism and the Middle East as separate from each other. For this reason, we head a new chapter in our defence with the words “the Middle East”.
I. THE MIDDLE EAST IS ONE OF IMPERIALISM’S LIFELINES
“This era is the epoch of imperialism and the proletarian revolutions.” The one is sinking into oblivion and the other is the developing force, representing the future. This historical development is characterised by the increase of the national and social liberation struggle in the countries which depend on imperialism, and of the oppressed people. Successfully accomplished revolutions and increasing resistance threaten the existence of imperialism. Its end is coming.
Imperialism cannot tolerate the loss of this market, and with threats to its existence, it increases its aggression against the peoples. As a reaction against the resistance, blood flows and massacres are carried out. By suppressing resistance, imperialism hopes to keep territory in its hands. The Middle East is an area in which imperialism doesn’t tolerate any form of reconciliation with the oppressed people. Furthermore, the Middle East is not just another market, it’s something special. The special importance of this area lies in its geographical position, the resulting geopolitical and strategic benefits and its economic potential. All this makes this area indispensable. It isn’t just this century that this area was of such great importance to the colonial powers, it has been a area of special interest in earlier epochs as well. That makes the rapid political changes and the liveliness of this area more understandable. It connects three continents with each other. The transport roads of the world economy go through this zone. The geostrategic importance , the economic potential and the possibility of large profits have always led to confrontations between several powers of different civilisations, struggles to rule this territory. For this reason, this part of the Eastern Mediterranean was dominated, one after one, by the most important civilisations, and eventually religions also arose there. The colonial powers waged wars against each other to conquer the area, to bring the silk trade and the trade route from Europe to India under better control. The peoples couldn’t liberate themselves from this fate, more and more the area became the stage for imperialist wars between the German, French, British and American imperialists. Regarding technical and scientific developments, it seems the Middle East has lost importance, but the fact of its military and strategic advantages still makes it an area of indispensable importance to imperialism. The oil wells and the energy sources in this area are of vital importance to imperialism. The Suez Canal, the sea link between the Far East and Europe and a great advantage for sea transport, is situated in the Middle East as well.
To prevent the extension of socialism to the south of the Soviet Union, control over the Middle East is absolutely necessary. Furthermore, it stops the Soviet Union from reaching the Indian Ocean. Imperialism nourishes the reactionary Arab states and tries to contain the Soviet Union in the south. But this is still not the end of the political calculations imperialism makes, on the contrary, it is just the beginning. To get a larger market in their hands, imperialism transformed the Middle East into a hell with its military and economic policies during the third period of crisis. The results were more wars, armed confrontations and massacres. Furthermore, the Middle East has become an important market for the major arms manufacturers.
Seventy-five per cent of the oil for Japan, half of the oil for Europe, and 20% of the American oil stem from this area.
The Middle East, with its structure as a region which has been kept underdeveloped and contains neo-colonial countries, is an important accumulation of markets where the imperialist corporations carry out their competition and struggle for a bigger share in the plundering. In short, the Middle East is one of the most important areas in world politics. Because of the national liberation struggles, the anti-imperialist people’s movements, the territorial and civil wars, the large arms and oil monopolies, it continues to be an area of great interests. Of course, when its economic, political and military advantages are considered, it’s one of the most important lifelines of the imperialist system.
Therefore, imperialism cannot tolerate it if this important lifeline is cut. Imperialism tries to suffocate every development which would reduce its influence. Using new methods, it tries to keep the strings in its hands, and it intervenes in even the smallest developments. Whatever the price it will have to pay to keep this area under its control, imperialism is willing to pay it.
II. THE VIOLENCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST NEVER STOPS
When the interests of imperialism are concerned, it uses different methods – according to the political situation – to protect its interests. With these methods, imperialism sometimes seems to support the right of self- determination of the peoples, sometimes it wears the veil of freedom, sometimes it argues that the expansion of the Soviet Union must be prevented , or that countries must be protected against communism. Imperialism has always intervened in the internal political affairs of countries, making them more dependent. To protect its interests in a country, imperialism stages coups, patented by the CIA. Hatred among the peoples is stirred up and used to inflame regional wars. Sometimes imperialism intervenes quite openly.
These are the main characteristics of imperialism, pushing through its interests or protecting them. The peoples in the Middle East have had their share of it. But they have not accepted the situation just like that. Resistance was organised, from which anti-imperialist movements emerged.
IMPERIALISM HAS EXPORTED THE POLICY OF PLUNDERING AND THE FREEDOM TO EXPLOIT
TO THE MIDDLE EAST
When German imperialism, at the beginning of this century, realised the importance of the Middle East, it made friendly approaches to the Ottoman Empire. The French and British imperialists noticed this and tried to push the Ottoman Empire from the area.
They stirred up hopes for national independence among its peoples as well as inciting hatred against the Ottoman Empire.
In the years around 1916, the French and the English posed as the representatives of freedom, however, they divided up these areas among themselves secretly in the Sykes-Picot agreement. After the first imperialist war of partition, they wanted it to be a divided and weakened area. It was much easier to rule a broken up, divided and weakened area. Thus they created the basis for a long-term policy of exploitation in the Middle East, with cooperation from the reactionary countries and its collaborators. It was quite difficult for the weakened and divided countries to resist an enemy who was militarily and economically superior. That’s how Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain came to exist. In line with imperialist interests, artificially created governments were brought to power. Peoples who had been living together for centuries were broken up and hatred among them was incited even though they had the same culture, language and traditions. Wars between them were the desired consequences. Behind every conflict in the Middle East is imperialism.
THE STRIKE FORCE AND BASIS FOR THE IMPERIALIST POLICY OF TERROR IS THE ZIONIST STATE OF ISRAEL
After the second imperialist war of partition, new power relations emerged but the fate of the Middle East remained the same. The only thing that changed was that the USA, as in the rest of the world, began to play the dominant role in the Middle East as well. The loyal friend of American imperialism in the Middle East was the Zionist state of Israel, founded in 1948 after being an English colony. Following its foundation, Israel took upon itself the role of a police station for the US empire in this area. To understand these relations more clearly, it’s useful to look more closely at Israel and the conditions of its founding.
With the active support of the English colonial rulers and the Zionist Jews, from 1910 efforts were made to create Israel, something which would eventually succeed after the second imperialist war of partition. The cruelties and massacres perpetrated against the Jews by fascism during the second imperialist war of partition, revealed the Jews to be a people subject to oppression and massacre. Hatred of fascism and the injustice committed against the Jews created sympathy for them. Under these circumstances, there was – except for the Palestinians and the Arabs – no voice which didn’t support a Jewish state in the Middle East. Imperialism supported these undertakings with body and soul, because they were entirely in its interests.
This should not lead to the conclusion that we are enemies of the Israeli people. We cannot be enemies of any people. That’s not our character, it’s the character of imperialism and its agents.
We are the true friends of the people. It’s obvious who poses as the friend of the people and remains silent about the massacres against the Palestinian people. It’s also obvious who criticises the acts of the Israeli government against the Palestinians while stealthily cooperating with it. We are fighting for all peoples of the world to live together as brothers in a classless society, free of exploitation. For this reason, we make no distinction between the Israeli and the Palestinian people. As said, we are not the enemies of the Israeli people and we do not propagate a war of annihilation against the Israelis. But we are the greatest enemies of imperialism and of Zionism and in order to destroy these, we want the Israeli and Palestinian people to fight together.
Let’s come back to the question of Israel. Israel tries to secure its unrecognised existence with bombs, massacres and occupation of territory. It is the basis of imperialist terror against the people’s liberation movements in this area. For this reason, it occupies first place among the countries that are steered by America.
IMPERIALISM HIDES ALL ITS METHODS BEHIND THE BOGEY OF COMMUNISM, AN IMAGE IT CREATED ITSELF
After the second imperialist war of partition, imperialism lost control over one third of the world. Socialism developed into a world power, gaining a lot of esteem. The national and social liberation movements of the third period of crisis, becoming more and more vocal, caused fear among the imperialists. It developed the strategy of the Cold War and the winds of McCarthyism began to blow. The actions of imperialism were hidden behind the mask of anti-communism and offering protection against communism. As a result of this strategy, two treaties were reached with the Middle East within the framework of the Eisenhower doctrine and the number of military bases and listening posts was increased. The Baghdad Pact, later known as CENTO, was also a product of this policy.
The biggest enemy of imperialism was communism. A great smear campaign was launched against this enemy. But not only was communism the target, everything was targeted which opposed the strategy of imperialism. In Iran, MOSSADEQ became the target of such an attack. Mossadeq, putting his country’s interests first, followed a nationalist policy and he nationalised the oil resources which were controlled by the imperialists, and then was driven from power by a coup organised by the CIA.
Another example would be Egypt, 1956. The Suez Canal, as the Egyptians still remember, was under the control of the imperialists. The NASSER government, following a petit-bourgeois nationalist line and known for its anti- imperialist stand, nationalised the canal in 1956. The strike force of French and English imperialism, Israel, occupied the canal. The Soviet Union showed a severe reaction. The USA criticised the occupation because it had not been informed in advance. They demanded an end to the intervention. By leaving the Suez Canal, the French and English imperialists withdrew from the entire Middle East. Their place was taken by the USA.
The increasingly vocal anti-imperialist people’s movements were answered by the Eisenhower doctrine. This doctrine states that it is natural to launch attacks to protect weakened collaborators and to prevent independence movements in the neo-colonial countries. Imperialism legitimises its attacks and tries to force the peoples to subject themselves to the collaborating governments. At the same time, smear campaigns were launched against the people’s movements. The interventions and massacres of imperialism were hidden behind these campaigns.
As a first victim, Lebanon was targeted. There was a civil war going on in Lebanon and things weren’t going well for the Phalangists who had been in power, collaborating with the imperialists. After a call by state president Camille CHAMOUN, the Eisenhower doctrine was invoked and American marines landed in Lebanon. At the same time, British paratroopers, stationed in Cyprus, arrived. Imperialism made clear once again that it doesn’t honour any international treaty as soon as its spheres of interests are concerned. In the years 1960-1970, the radical petit-bourgeois national movements centred around Nasser and the Ba’ath governments and the Palestinian resistance movement posed a threat to imperialism. Egypt and Syria posed a grave threat because they supported the liberation movements and had good contacts with the Soviet Union. These facts could prove to be to the detriment of imperialism. Given these circumstances, imperialism tried to deliver a blow against the anti-imperialist forces. The imperialists openly sided with Israel and promised it every support. In 1967, Israel conquered the Sinai and marched towards the Suez Canal. At the same time, it occupied the Golan Heights, the West Bank and Gaza. Once again, history was witness of an imperialist occupation and the subjugation of the peoples of the Middle East to its rule. The war of 1967 did not quite fulfil the expectations, but the situation changed to the benefit of the USA and of Israel. The picture which emerged required an even more multi.faceted and sensitive policy.
The importance of Israel in this area doesn’t change. Israel was the ace of imperialism, ready to be used in difficult situations, and as a threat. But it was also necessary to gain new friends which didn’t threaten the interests of imperialism and with whom the basis for reconciliation could be laid. Furthermore it was necessary to render the Palestinian movement harmless. The growth of the anti-imperialist movement had to be stopped. At the same time a barrier was to be thrown up to prevent relations between the countries in this area and the Soviet Union. That was the calculation of the imperialists…
IMPERIALISM ALWAYS WORE THE MASK OF “PEACE” IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Imperialism on the one hand wore the mask of “peace”, but on the other it revealed its true face to the oppressed countries, telling them there was no other way but to cooperate with Israel and the USA. The Geneva Conference (1973), the diplomatic efforts of Kissinger after the war of 1973, the Camp David accords (1978), the plans about the role of Jordan and the Reagan plan (1982), all were part of this policy of intimidation.
Israel was the long arm of imperialism. With the strategy of conquering the fortress from the inside, reactionary fascist monarchs were put in power in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and so on. But this was not all. In secret, imperialism tried to win over as collaborators and control the countries which were characterised by an anti-imperialist attitude and which had good relations with the Soviet Union. Imperialism got some good results with this . Egypt made approaches to imperialism after Nasser’s death, Nasser who had set in motion an anti-imperialist wave in the Middle East during the 1960s. Egypt went as far as signing treaties with the Zionist murderers’ government in Israel. It isolated itself from the other Arab countries by signing the Camp David accords. But Israel broke out of its isolation with this new ally . As a reward, Egypt received back the Sinai, occupied by Israel since 1967. Furthermore, Egypt received some privileges, such as military and economic aid. In the 1970s, imperialism not only saw successes in the Middle East, there were defeats as well. In Iran, the mullahs, possessing more or less an anti- imperialist character, gained power against the fascist Shah. And so imperialism lost one of its bases in this area. The revolution, led by the mullahs in Iran, meant a loss of strength for the imperialists. The march of Soviet troops into Afghanistan in 1979 shattered the image of imperialism. Imperialism now needed a strong and reliable friend in the Middle East. Turkey was best suited for this role. And so Turkey gained importance in the Middle East policy during the 1980s.
THE DEPLOYMENT OF RAPID REACTION FORCES (RRF) OF IMPERIALISM IN THE MIDDLE EAST RESULTS FROM THEIR FEAR OF THE PEOPLE’S MOVEMENTS, DESPITE ISRAEL FUNCTIONING AS A POLICEMAN AND DESPITE THE EXISTENCE OF THE COLLABORATING STATES
When imperialism had to watch how one of its fortresses were lost, it was forced to develop a capability for very swift response. Its answer was the deployment of the RRF (Rapid Reaction Forces) in the region. Now, the USA could sent its troops into this area within 48 hours. For years, the attention of the people was diverted from the true goals of imperialism with the propaganda against the expansion of the Soviet Union, or the protection against communism. The same chorus was repeated again and again when the RRF was deployed. The actual aim was to secure direct control of this area and direct intervention in case of possible threats by people’s movements. All NATO states and the reactionary Arab states agreed to this plan. Egypt and Oman even carried out joint military operations with the imperialist forces. Turkey was one of the allied states as well. Its territory was used as an arsenal for munitions. Despite its bases, collaborators and police stations, imperialism feared a loss of territory to the growing people’s movements. The deployment of its RRF is an expression of this fear. To prevent another event like in Iran, the deployment of the RRF was re-organised and the Arab version of the RRF was introduced. The RRFs were re-organised according to the principle of preventing anti-imperialist movements. Furthermore, the US Sixth Fleet was deployed, causing new problems for the people in the area.
IMPERIALISM AND ITS COLLABORATORS LIVE ON A POLICY OF MASSACRES AND TERROR
The 1980s are also the years of world-wide attacks by imperialism against the peoples. This aggression policy is reflected in the Middle East policy. Imperialism either uses Israel for its policy or it launches attacks itself. The policy of violence of the 1980s was hidden behind diplomatic relations. Imperialism tried to make clear to the people they had no choice but to obey its directives.
In the 1980s, there were also overt attacks by imperialism. During the war between Iran and Iraq, Israel was given the green light to occupy Lebanon. The occupation forced the PLO to leave Beirut and caused demoralisation within the PLO. But the developments in Lebanon began to cause headaches for Israel, and the USA, as well. The calculation of the imperialists didn’t work. But the attacks continued.
The attacks of Israel against the nuclear depots in Iraq, against the positions of the PLO in Lebanon, against the PLO camps in Tunisia, the attacks of the USA against Libya and against Iran continued throughout the 1980s. The national independence movements were to be intimidated. Libya was a typical example for this.
Using the pretext of “punishing terrorism”, children were massacred at night through carpet-bombing. The USA welcomed the massacre in Libya and declared it had been necessary to punish terrorism.
While imperialism denounces the people’s liberation fighters as terrorists, we ask the collaborating regime in Turkey which wants to condemn us: Who are the real terrorists?
Is Libya, a country which supports the independence movements and doesn’t kneel to imperialism, the terrorist, or are those powers terrorists which came from thousands of miles to occupy these countries, to pose as the rulers of these areas, to massacre people, and who practice this as a permanent state policy?
Are the Palestinian fighters, suffering under occupation and fighting for a liberated country the terrorists, or is it the Zionist Israeli state which subjugated a people to its rule, which annexes land and massacres people? The answer from those who see the continuation of exploitation as beneficial to themselves is clear: every act which opposes imperialism and is directed against its collaborators is a terrorist one.
The military, the intelligence services, the police organisations and all the institutions of imperialism which waged a war against the peoples of this world, leave the people’s liberation movements no alternative but to wage an armed struggle against this system of injustice. The legitimacy of their revolutionary violence cannot be the subject of discussion. Imperialism isn’t legitimate and will vanish into oblivion. It is the true terrorist. It’s the one who carries out terror against the peoples. The unchanging characteristic of imperialism is its hypocrisy, and therefore it uses the demagogy of terrorism against everybody. Its own terrorism is hidden behind it. While it was trying to crush the Algerian independence movement, the situation there was presented as resulting from Arab barbarism , and a French victory would be the victory of civilisation. This is the true face of those who denounce the people’s liberation movements as terrorists. Terrorism is the name of all their activities. Behind every policy of imperialism are terrorism, war and massacres. Once in a while it hides behind diplomacy, but when the situation is serious it doesn’t stop short of any act of violence. It created the pillars to keep the Middle East as an area of exploitation. The Palestinian movement and the other radical anti-imperialist organisations were to be attacked and rendered harmless, the USSR was to be kept out of the area, and the activity of Marxist-Leninist-orientated organisations was to be hindered. The Arab countries were to be governed according to the guidelines of imperialism, Israel directly supported under all circumstances, and if necessary, used as the strike force of imperialism .
The geopolitical and strategic importance, as well as the economic, military and political advantages of this area were known to imperialism and they would never want to give it up. In this respect, the class struggles have passed a sentence on imperialism a long time ago.
III. THE TROJAN HORSE OF IMPERIALISM IN THE MIDDLE EAST: TURKEY
Turkey, despite its different construction, shares the same historical, social, religious, cultural and economic ties with its neighbours, it has identical traditions. With this advantage, Turkey can enter into good relations with the countries in the Middle East. On the other hand, because of its strategic position and its strong military force, it plays a major role in this region.
Imperialism, capable of evaluating this situation quite well, gives Turkey a place in its Middle East policy. Turkey depends on imperialism and goes along with it. In the history of Anatolia many different civilisations emerged there, and as many went into decline. These different civilisations maintained good relations with the Middle East, but sometimes there was war as well. The actual relations between Turkey and the Middle East started during the Ottoman Empire with a policy of exploitation and plundering of the area, as well as occupying it. When the Ottoman Empire sank to the level of a semi-colony and imperialism began to become interested in the area, its role there was determined by imperialism.
The first imperialist war of partition ended the direct relations between the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East. The independent Republic of Turkey was proclaimed. In its foreign policy, it followed an insecure road, caused by its unstable anti-imperialist stand. Turkey began to play a new role in imperialist Middle East policy when it developed into a neo-colony. From this time, the Middle East policies of Turkey became imperialist policies. The Marshall Plan, the Truman doctrine, bilateral treaties, the deployment of troops, regional treaties and NATO, all these treaties and plans were put on the agenda by the ruling classes of Turkey to integrate Turkey into imperialism while Turkey itself became more and more dependent on imperialism, developing into a semi-colony. The change in Turkish policy into a policy of the imperialists began in the 1950s under the government of the Democratic Party (DP). The DP government declared its confidence and loyalty to imperialism in the event of being accepted into NATO. On July 20, 1951, the Turkish minister of Foreign Affairs, Fuat Köprülü, made a speech to the imperialist powers in the Turkish parliament: “We believe that the defence of the Middle East must, strategically as well as economically, be a necessary protection for Europe. From this angle, Turkey, if it joins the Atlantic Treaty, will carry out all tasks in the Middle East and take all necessary measures.”
Thus Turkey became the gendarme of imperialism in the Middle East and its protector against anti-imperialist people’s movements. With the idea of being the Little America of the Middle East, Turkey volunteered as a policeman for the area. Turkey, led by Menderes, is a typical example of the excellent services which were rendered to imperialism.
To keep the area under its control, it was necessary to sign important military pacts, to prevent the anti-imperialist movements and to surround the Soviet Union from the south. The monarchy in Iraq and the fascist Republic of Turkey were key elements of these military pacts. In 1955, the Baghdad Pact was signed. Pakistan and Iran joined this pact in the following years. The participation of the American and English imperialists in the pact shows the willingness of the other countries to cooperate with the imperialist powers.
Turkey made great efforts to get the other Middle East countries to join this pact. It even threatened countries. Menderes told the Syrian ambassador in Turkey: “If you continue to behave with such a mentality, it could become very nasty… Tell your master I’ll march into Syria with two divisions and that I will cause fatal confusion there.” The parliamentarian Fatih Rüstü ZORLU told Egypt, which didn’t join the pact and was confronted with an attack by Zionist Israel: “If you had joined the pact, nothing would have happened.”
Imperialism developed new methods according to the situation and Turkey adjusted to them. When imperialism declared Syria was a country under the influence of communism, Turkey saw it as its task to strengthen its army at the border with Syria. Faisal, the king of Iraq, a member state of the Baghdad Pact, was brought down in 1958. Thereupon Turkey, with approval of the state president, proposed to march in.
During the march of the imperialists into Lebanon in 1958, Turkey offered all its strength. The military basis in Incirlik near Adana was totally occupied by imperialist forces during this action. The imperialists didn’t even bother to ask for permission. It was the same during the military coup on September 12, 1980, in Turkey when the generals acted first, and later passed the necessary laws. Imperialism acted in the same way. First it used the base, and later it asked for the necessary permission. There are a lot more examples which could be listed. But those mentioned suffice for now to show how Turkey was used as an instrument of the imperialists in their policy. In the years ahead, Turkey will continue to play this role. And thus it will become the main enemy of the peoples of the Middle East. Turkey is a country which is subjected to different factors. It showed its Islamic character to the Islamic countries, it wanted to present itself as a secular and Western-oriented country to the imperialists, and then there is the Soviet Union which must be reckoned with as a factor. Turkey tried to keep a balance in its state policy in order to prevent negative reactions. But it didn’t forget the role it had to play in the Middle East, a role given by the imperialist forces. A task it was given as early as 1950. But around 1980, the wind started to turn in the Middle East. The revolution in Iran brought down one of the fortresses of the imperialist forces in the Middle East. Furthermore, the Soviet Union had marched into Afghanistan. These losses had to be made good as quickly as possible and the image had to be improved again. The candidate to do this was the loyal friend of imperialism, Turkey. Turkey was a Trojan horse in the Middle East. It could help imperialism in conquering the fortresses from the inside. The first thing to do was to establish warm relations with the countries concerned. Secular views were put aside and instead Islamic conferences on the highest level were organised. Turkey, the Trojan horse of the imperialists, was rewarded with the leftovers of the imperialist monopolies for having established good relations.
Turkey intended to appear as a strong and neutral state to gain the friendship and support of these countries. The friendship won was then to be used to direct the countries towards imperialism. Turkey with its new task was always on the side of the reactionary and collaborating Arab states. The people of Turkey were always lied to with the argument that this “neutral” policy was to the benefit of the Turkish nation.
In the war between Iran and Iraq, Turkey propagated neutrality, according to its role. But was the neutrality of Turkey possible? One of the forces which were in the war were the radical Islamists. The Islamic Revolution was to be expanded. This strategy influenced Turkey. Iran was ruled by an anti- American regime, following a policy against imperialism and the Turkish oligarchy.
The victory of Iran in the war and its influence on the Middle East threatened the profits of the oligarchy. Despite their “neutral” policy, they risked threatening Iran. Turkey demanded from Iran that it stop its propaganda against Turkey. Turkey thought of marching into the cities of Mosul and Kirkuk when it saw its spheres of influence were being threatened.
On the other hand, it always presented itself as a “neutral” and reliable partner.
In fact, Turkey, together with Iraq, adopted the position of the reactionary Arab states, among which Saudi Arabia played the major role. The main tasks of imperialism were fighting the anti-imperialist people’s movements, and ending the threat they pose. These forces were the main enemies of imperialism. At the same time the developing people’s movements threatened the oligarchy in Turkey. A success of the people’s liberation movements could have a positive effect on the class struggle, led by us. On the other hand, it would be a bad example for the oligarchy in Turkey. Therefore Turkey had to do everything in its power to prevent such a development, to crush it.
THE FRIENDS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE ARE NOT THE OLIGARCHY, THEY ARE THE PEOPLES OF TURKEY
When one talks about the Middle East, the first thing which comes to mind is the heroic resistance of the Palestinian people. The Intifada has become a symbol for the oppressed peoples. Its martyrs of the struggle have resulted in world-wide recognition of the Palestinian reality. The resistance of the Palestinian people has met great approval among the world peoples and the Turkish people. Therefore Turkey couldn’t allow itself to openly side with Zionist Israel and the imperialists. And this wouldn’t be in accordance with the role it has to play. Turkey acted as if it would support the resistance.
What has the oligarchy, promising its support for the Palestinian people at every occasion, really done? They have to account for that. This is what they have done for the Palestinian people: opening PLO offices in the country and organising fake protests after Israeli massacres. All this to hide what they did to the Palestinian and the other peoples of the Middle East.
Turkey tries to take away the aim of the movements, their radicalism, steering them in the direction of imperialist policy, making them an instrument of imperialist policy. For this reason, it continues its relations with them.
It tried to give the appearance of being a supporter of the Palestinian people’s liberation struggle. On the other hand, it continued its relations with Zionist Israel. It continued its hypocritical policy.
It was Turkey which attacked the revolutionary progressive forces at the solidarity rallies for the Palestinian people, using the methods of Zionist Israel. Thus Turkey’s oligarchy showed which side it is on. They were the ones who called the actions of the Palestinian fighters against imperialism and Zionist Israel terrorism and who asked for measures to be taken against them.
They were the ones who cooperated with the secret organisation MOSSAD against the people’s liberation movements.
Despite these facts, they were so insolent as to claim time and time again that they supported the resistance of the Palestinian people. The oligarchy of Turkey, the loyal friend of Israel and imperialism, is the enemy of the peoples. They never acted as the friend of the oppressed peoples. Their existence is based on oppression, terror, exploitation and plunder. With the oppression of the peoples it aims at their silent enslaving. This is the policy they pursue.
THE KURDISH NATIONAL MOVEMENT IS THE NIGHTMARE OF TURKEY
Besides the Palestinian movement, another national liberation movement developed in the Middle East: the Kurdish. It was even more threatening for the oligarchy in Turkey because it directly touched on Turkish interests. In the beginning it wasn’t a serious threat, but in 1984 it became a threat the Turkish oligarchy had to deal with. Because of the losses and the neglect of control during the war between Iraq and Iran, the Kurdish liberation struggle reached a point where it negatively influenced the relations between Turkey and Syria, Iran and Iraq.
It was the aim of Turkey to crush the Kurdish movement in and outside the country. Therefore it mobilised all its strength. With the approval of Iraq, it attacked Kurdish positions in Iraq and Kurdish villages were bombed and massacred. Iraq, unable to wage a serious intervention against the Kurdish people’s movements, was pacified with military actions. But this was just secondary. Primarily it was about crushing the movement. If Iran would give its approval, Turkey would do the same there. Turkey called upon Iran again and again to better control its borders and to prevent intrusion across it. Syria, which supported the Kurdish movement, was threatened with having its water supply cut off.
The oligarchy of Turkey also showed its hostile face, already shown to the people’s movements in the Middle East, to the Kurdish liberation struggle. It couldn’t tolerate the Kurdish liberation struggle. The oligarchy expanded the state terror and military operations nationwide. Kurdish villagers were massacred before the people’s eyes on village squares. Operations across the border showed the other Kurdish movements that they weren’t tolerated. The military operations were in fact trials for taking over the role of gendarme of the region. The oligarchy didn’t accept the attempts of the US imperialists to establish good relations with right-wing Kurdish movements.
The Kurdish national movement was a potential threat to the oligarchy and the imperialists.
IV. EVERY ANTI-IMPERIALIST MOVEMENT, DEVELOPING IN THE MIDDLE EAST, IS A DEATH SENTENCE FOR IMPERIALISM
The history of the Middle East, as it is the history of the manoeuvres of imperialism, is also the history of developing anti-imperialist movements. The peoples of the Middle East always expressed their protests against the manoeuvres and games of imperialism through several organisations, and they still do. The actual liberation of the peoples lies in their struggle against the imperialists and their collaborators, a struggle led by the Marxist-Leninists.
World history shows the scientific facts in many concrete examples. This is also true for the peoples of the Middle East. However, from this perspective it is clear that the formation and development of Marxist-Leninist movements in the countries of the Middle East isn’t very successful. All communist parties follow the reformist-revisionist line of the USSR. The conformist parties are unable to take on the concrete contradictions of the peoples, to find concrete solutions. Under these circumstances they can’t, of course, take a leading role in the struggle of the peoples.
Although they are influenced by Marxism and Leninism, its leadership hasn’t been consistently Marxist-Leninist on the practical and theoretical level. Petit-bourgeois movements filled this gap and the protests in the Middle East against imperialism were consequently taken over by the petit-bourgeois nationalist movements.
In the Middle East, the Ba’athist governments and the Nasserist movement were, besides the Palestinian movement, the decisive anti-imperialist forces . They were able to influence many countries and movements. But in practice, their petit-bourgeois and inconsistent line hampered the function of these movements.
Of these countries, only Syria remains nowadays with its pro-Soviet policy and indecisiveness, from time to time signalling its willingness to compromise to the imperialists.
Lebanon is also a country where anti-imperialist movements exist. But when we look at these movements individually, there is no movement in the Middle East which is active and strong enough to change the balance in this region. Only the national movement in Lebanon plays a role, presenting a progressive anti-imperialist front. At times, this movement – which possesses no consistent unity and programme, was close to taking over power. But nowadays Lebanon presents a picture where even the anti-imperialist forces have conflicts among each other.
Nowadays three large publicly known movements exist in the Middle East who developed against imperialism, delivering severe blows to it. One of them is the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation), long established in the Middle East. The other two are, on the one hand, the Kurdish National Liberation Movement, showing its strength on the political stage especially in the 1970s, and the radical Islamic movements in Yemen, Algeria and Lebanon on the other.
INTERMEDIATE BOURGEOIS AND PETIT-BOURGEOIS PROTEST IN THE MIDDLE EAST: ISLAMIC RADICALISM
The main dynamic of Islamic radicalism on an anti-imperialist basis is constituted by the Shi’ites. This movement, which has to evaluated because of its historical and social basis, is a social movement which is inclined to act from religious instead of class-specific motives. With these characteristics it is able to reach broad masses. To the extent it can serve as a political weapon for the oppressed peoples, it only expresses its class demands in a covert fashion.
Radical Islamism, developing after the political revolution in Iran, is mainly based on the Shi’ites as its dynamic force. These, viewed historically, stayed away from the influence of religious and political authority and they were able to unite the oppressed sections of the population under their roof. Shi’ism constituted a form of protection and a basis for social opposition by the constantly oppressed segments of the population, regarded as second class. The continuous repression and oppression gave the Shi’ites a character of radical opposition and a militant tradition against the system.
Its character of, according to their religion, “recognising no authority but God”, that is to say a tradition of rebellion against all political authorities who wanted to control them, plays a major role. Furthermore, the special traditional structure of the Eastern societies, going through development towards capitalism later, enabled the institutions of the feudalist superstructure (religion et cetera) to have a special influence. Unlike Christianity, Islam had a major influence on social life and religious factors played quite a role in several social-political developments.
On the other hand, the development of the Islamic movement also played a role in the destruction of traditional structures and pre-capitalist institutions and values, caused by the expanding neo-colonialist relations of imperialism and the introduction of a distorted capitalism. The semi- proletarian petit-bourgeois masses, uprooted from the rural areas and feudal relations, with their class-specific opposition character, constituted an element of potential social unrest. The search for solutions for the problems and improvement of living standards, as well as the lack of Marxist -Leninist leadership, made the petit-bourgeois religious movements attractive to the poverty-stricken masses. After realising that the destruction of traditional structures was a result of imperialist-capitalist values, social groups and elements emerged with a religious and fanatic character, based on their anti-imperialist reactions. The masses rejected the imperialist-capitalist system and its cultural values, but they also regarded the Marxist-Leninist ideology and socialist system as alien and unsuitable. Islam, on the other hand, was propagated as a “new way to liberation”, appropriate to their culture. As a result of all these factors, Shi’ite religion became, viewed historically and politically, a political and religious force. The success of the movement in Iran brought a new dynamic and prestige for the radical Islamic forces in other countries. Radical Islam reached the zenith of its strength in the Iranian revolution. Originating from history and subjective conditions, it put a stamp on the Iranian revolution of 1979, becoming a political force with a state of its own. During the Iranian revolution, a broad coalition of all opposition forces waged an armed people’s uprising against the Shah’s regime. The mullahs succeeded in using the advantages of the revolution and claimed leadership. Within a short while, they had eliminated their co-fighters. Supported by the petite and intermediate bourgeoisie, and even segments of the ruling classes who were in conflict with the Shah’s regime, they dissolved almost all institutions of the old system. To create more room for manoeuvre, they organised under the name of the “Islamic Republican Party”. But because of their ideology, they were unable to act against capitalism and offer an alternative. The existing capitalist relations, whose influence they couldn’t escape, created the basis for the mullahs to come to a rapprochement with imperialism sooner or later. The policy of the mullahs and their political line especially hindered the imperialists and their collaborators. The USA could no longer pursue their interests which were connected with the Shah’s regime, and the anti-imperialist line together with the danger that the Arab countries would import the “Islamic revolution of Iran” caused reactions by the imperialist forces against Iran. Iran became a major factor in the balance of power in the region.
Imperialism witnessed how the Shi’ites in Lebanon, influenced by the revolution in Iran, pushed back French and US imperialism and its base in the region, Israeli Zionism, thus posing a threat. Therefore this movement had to be completely destroyed, or forced to reconcile itself with imperialism, containing its influence. To do so, its anti-communist characteristics were to be used in the interest of imperialism. The war between Iran and Iraq brought some advantages in this respect. The influence of the mullahs decreased and the system was weakened economically, politically and military. The mullahs lost strength and prestige and had to accept an armistice. During this phase, the inconsistent line of the mullahs towards imperialism became evident. Its anti-American stand lost meaning because they primarily bought weapons from the USA during the war, and later they looked for a reconciliation with the USA. They had lost considerable strength since the revolution of 1979, the time they reached their zenith. This loss of strength of radical Islam in Iran and their attempts at reconciliation with the USA will prevent a growth of the other anti- imperialist Islamic movements. With the end of the war, the growth of Islam will decrease.
These movements, developing on a road which is separated from capitalism and socialism but unable to evade the influence of capitalism, are becoming caught in the web of exploitation of imperialism. They are unable to develop further, even though they will continue to exist.
These movements developed with the development of capitalist relations in the neocolonialist countries of the Middle East as a product of a certain conjuncture of circumstances. When the middle classes, on which the rulers are based, dissolve during the development of distorted capitalism, the feudal parts of the superstructure are condemned to decay as well. This dissolution leaves no chance for survival on the long run. The relations, on which their existence is based, will create the conditions for their own dissolution through the development of the system. The only force which can defeat capitalism is the proletariat. The class movements of the proletariat and the oppressed peoples will develop and grow in strength, not the other tendencies and world views. While time will defeat the reactionary forces and its collaborators, the future belongs to the national and social liberation struggles, led by the Marxist-Leninist people’s liberation movements.
THE KURDISH NATIONAL MOVEMENT, RAISING ITS VOICE FROM THREE OF THE FOUR AREAS WHERE KURDS LIVE, GIVES THE SIGNAL FOR BECOMING ONE OF THE DECISIVE MOVEMENTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST IN THE FUTURE
The Kurds in the Middle East are among the people who haven’t yet realised their national unity and who weren’t yet able to found their own state. Because of the backward social structure, their national consciousness was not yet awakened. Conflicts and animosities among the different clans prevented them developing into one nation, they were even incited against each other.
The first war of partition, during which the borders in the Middle East were drawn, brought the division into four parts of the area where the Kurds live . While one part was given to the Turkish state (within the framework of the Misak-i Milli borders, the national pact of 1920 in which independence was demanded for the areas with a Turkish majority), the other parts from then on belonged to Iran, Iraq and Syria, while the imperialists played a decisive role in determining the borders. The imperialist manoeuvres in the Middle East divided Kurdistan. The constant battle for the right of self- determination of the nations had not reached its goal yet, except for a short while. The Kurds for the first time created their first national state after the end of the second war of partition, influenced by the existing balance of power: the Mahabad Republic in Iran. But this state didn’t please the imperialists and the republic was soon destroyed. The first Kurdish state in history only lasted a short while. In the 1970s, the Kurds appear on the stage again in the Middle East, drawing attention to themselves. The Iraq-Iran war brought favourable circumstances for the development of both Kurdish national movements. Their influence grew. In particular, the struggle in Iraq saw important victories against the Iraqi government. Compared to other countries, the Kurdish movement in Syria which was governed by petit-bourgeois dictators did not wage a struggle worth mentioning.
Within the borders of the Turkish state, the awakening national consciousness of the 1960s led to the founding of petit-bourgeois nationalist Kurdish organisations in the second part of the 1970s, and especially during the years up to 1984.
It wasn’t until the armed struggle of the PKK which became a force after 1984, that it was taken seriously by the Turkish republic. Pre-capitalist relations still determined developments in all four parts of Kurdistan, and together with the characteristics of a “peasant nation”, these also determined the character of the leadership.
The petit-bourgeois or bourgeois leadership of the Kurdish national movement which was influenced by feudalism lost influence to the petit-bourgeois nationalist leadership which was influenced by Marxism-Leninism. In particular, the inconsistent conduct of the leadership, together with other negative developments, increases the problems for the Kurdish liberation movement.
The political fragmentation of its strength and a lack of joint operations with the same goal on the one side, and the inconsistent leadership, a lack of programme, a lack of perspective, a wrong development of the struggle away from class struggle constitute the main deficiencies of the movement. The pragmatic way of operating of the movement, lacking a class perspective, and a struggle which was waged solely on a nationalist basis made these movements into tools of the imperialists.
The history of the Kurdish movement in Iran and Iraq shows many examples of this kind. Iraq and Iran, constantly fighting each other, weakened their opponent by supporting the Kurdish movement in the other country. In this respect, they used the Kurdish movement. But at the same time, both countries fight the Kurdish movements in their own countries with every means, trying to prevent the justified struggle of the Kurds. The Kurdish movements where pragmatism gained the upper hand, began to cooperate with the countries which oppressed their own peoples, trying to exterminate or assimilate them, and the movements began to fight each other. When these countries, normally enemies of each other, are in agreement, the support for the Kurdish movement in the other countries is terminated, and the movement which based its policy on that support goes through a crisis. As long as the Kurdish movement sees pragmatism as the guideline for its policy, and as long as there is no solidarity with the other Kurdish movements, but only looking out for themselves, this danger will also be present.
THE END OF THE IRAN-IRAQ WAR WAS A SPECIAL BLOW TO THE KURDISH NATIONAL MOVEMENT, WHICH PROFITED FROM THE WAR SITUATION
About the present situation of the Kurdish movements:
With the end of the Iran-Iraq war, a new balance emerged in this region. Iran suffered defeat. Iraq gained the upper hand and Iran had to accept an armistice, meaning a loss of influence and prestige for Iran. It wouldn’t be wrong at all to say that Islamic radicalism is losing strength in the Middle East and that it has reached a low. From now on, Iran will be occupied with its own conflicts, instead of “exporting the Islamic revolution”. In short, in future both countries will be busy with their own problems. The ruin of both countries after the war, the increased attempts to reach rapprochement with imperialism and the ensuing balance in the Gulf have developed to the benefit of the imperialists. The first consequences of the ending of the war showed for the Kurdish national movements. The conditions of the Iran-Iraq war, helping the Kurdish movements in these countries, brought big advantages for Kurdistan in Turkey, especially for the PKK. The PKK created a rear base for itself within the absence of centralised authority emerging behind the borders. But the end of the war ended these advantages and put the Kurdish movement in a difficult spot. The Iraqi attack against the Kurdish movement, immediately after the armistice, was a clear sign. Immediately after the armistice, the reactionary Ba’ath regime started a genocide against the national Kurdish movement, which it had been unable to attack during the war. Although important successes had been gained during the war, progressive developments weren’t possible any more because the bourgeois-feudal leadership pursued a policy which was based on what was good for itself. The Ba’ath regime killed the Kurdish people in a genocide, the old, the young, men and women. Iraq wanted to enforce its own solution after severe blows had been delivered against the Kurdish movement. Because the Kurdish movement had no more aces against the Iraqi regime, it was pushed from its position.
After the attempted genocide, the Kurdish people crossed the border with Turkey, looking for protection in Turkey.
During these developments, Turkey opened its borders and acted “humanely”. It declared it would “not remain silent about these massacres”. This statement is a lie, of course. It pursues a two-faced policy. The enemies of the Kurdish movement, drowning the struggle of the Kurdish patriots in blood , using police and military violence in the villages and carrying out operations against the Kurdish people across the border, cannot speak of humanity. With every step they take, they think about the interests of the oligarchy and imperialism.
The first measure of the Republic of Turkey against the Kurds it accepted was to separate them from the people, to disarm them and to house them in camps. The Kurds, escaping the regime of SADDAM, were kept imprisoned in camps in Turkey.
What has this to do with humanity? Nothing. This is all done to secure the interests of the oligarchy and the imperialists. No matter how the oligarchy in Turkey acts, it calculates the long-term advantages, evaluates the exchange of opinion among the imperialists, and pursues policy accordingly. This policy is no danger to the interests of the USA in this area. On the contrary. It’s in accordance with them.
The Republic of Turkey keeps an ace by opening the borders for the Kurdish refugees. This policy is used against the Kurdish movement, developing in its own country. Furthermore, the Republic of Turkey regards the position of the Kurds in Iraq as a rear base of the Kurds in Turkey, and therefore it operates outside the own state territory also. It is at the side of the Ba’ath regime, murdering the Kurds and crushing their strength. In reality, it has no objections to the policy of Iraq, and it wants to use its hostages to pressure the Kurds in Iraq, so they will not help the Kurdish patriots in Turkey.
Another reason for opening the border was improving the image and prestige of the Republic of Turkey which had been tainted by oppression, terror and massacres. It wants to mask the civic and military face of the junta. Looking at the latest developments, the policy of Iran does not differ from the policy of Turkey. To weaken Iraq, it supported the Kurdish movement during the war and immediately after the war, this support was ended. The Kurdish movement has gone through such developments several times, but the petit-bourgeois leaderships learned nothing. As a consequence of a nationalist policy, they relied on foreign forces, and every time they experienced the bitter results.
Iran neither acts humanely, nor does it think about the Kurds when it declares it will open the borders for the Kurds which have been hit by the genocide in Iraq, or that it wants to take in the Kurds who looked for protection in Turkey. Iran also used the national Kurdish movement for its own goals from time to time. By stating it will open the borders to the Kurds, they are trying to improve their image in world public opinion, hoping it will strengthen its position in the negotiations with Iraq. Furthermore, it wants to use the conflicts between the Kurds in Iraq and in Iran against the Kurdish national movement in Iran.
When the interests of the countries coincide, the Kurdish national movement feels this. Iran, Iraq and Turkey always agreed on strangling the Kurdish national struggle, even though they come into conflict with each other once in a while. Every measure is acceptable to them when it is about oppressing the Kurdish movement.
The Kurdish villages are bombed, and those who aren’t intimidated with bombs are attacked with chemical weapons. Furthermore, operations across the border are discussed, such as between Turkey and Iraq, to eliminate the Kurdish movement.
The victory of an anti-imperialist Kurdish national movement, and subsequently an independent Kurdish state, would not only cause concern to these countries, it would also worry the reactionary and fascist regimes in these area. It is inevitable that these forces will cooperate with the imperialists. The national Kurdish movement is far from posing such a threat to imperialism. The movements in Iran and Iraq especially are, because of the class character of their leaderships, not a serious threat to the interests of imperialism. Therefore the imperialists do not yet consider radical steps necessary. They even initiate talks and try to use these movements against Iran and Iraq. The class character of the leadership of these Kurdish national movement offers the necessary basis for this. As long as the Kurdish national movement doesn’t base its struggle on the class struggle, it will remain a tool of the imperialists. The Kurdish national movement is led on the basis of nationalism in the four parts, each with its peculiarities and on a different political basis. This road cannot bring liberation.
The road to success for the Kurdish national movement is clear. This road is through the joint struggle of the oppressed nations and peoples. The Kurdish national struggle, led by petit-bourgeois leadership and without a perspective, can neither offer national liberation, nor liberation of the classes.
The problems of the Kurdish people are the problems of all the peoples which live in this region.There is a common enemy. The liberation struggle of the Kurdish people cannot be seen as independent from the liberation struggle of the Turkish, Arab and other peoples.
This is how the solution looks: common organisation and common struggle of the oppressed peoples and classes. The Kurdish Marxist-Leninists must act in those countries based on this understanding. They must set up a common platform and take on the democratic and national demands of the Kurdish people, based on the class struggle. Only with such a perspective can we act successfully against imperialism and its local collaborators who deny the Kurdish people the right of self- determination. Through joint armed struggle. And only through liberation from imperialism can the Kurdish people and the other peoples be freed. Imperialism and its collaborators will not be able to prevent the liberation struggle of the Kurdish people. The struggle of the Kurdish people, led by the Marxist-Leninists in all the four parts, will sooner or later lead to success, despite the many attempts to suppress it.
FROM THE DEPTHS OF THE MIDDLE EAST, A VOICE IS HEARD: “THAWRA HATT-EN NASR” (REVOLUTION UNTIL VICTORY!)
A struggle is being waged in the Middle East. The battle cry “Revolution until victory!”, coming from the mouths of seven-year-old and seventy-year- old Palestinians, is a sign of believing in the future and the success of the struggle, in the continuation of the struggle till victory. This struggle, over a history of decades, has found worldwide recognition, despite the intervention of others, despite massacres and treason. The Palestinian liberation struggle cannot be addressed here in total. The history of this struggle starts with the history of the several manoeuvres of imperialism, and it still continues. The struggle of the Palestinians began with the plan of the Zionists to found a Jewish state on Palestinian land, and it grew with the immigration of Jews with the support of imperialism and expulsion of the Palestinians from their own land, as a reaction of the people. From time to time, these reactions turned into uprisings. They tried to take away the land from the Palestinians, land on which they had been living for thousands of years. The main motive of the Palestinian resistance was to protect their national rights and nationalism.
On the one hand, the English tried to oppress the struggle of the Palestinians, and on the other gangs forced the Palestinians to emigrate through attacks and massacres. The well-planned Deir Yassin Massacre, shortly before the foundation of the Israeli state, caused many Palestinians to migrate to other Arab states. The Palestinians were forced from their homeland.
Because of this struggle they wage to protect their homeland, they are now called “terrorists” by the imperialists and the Zionists. Terror has, albeit temporarily, succeeded. Its cries of victory could be heard over the dead bodies of the Palestinians.
The second half of the 1950s and 1960s were the years of the Palestinian resistance organisations. The struggle took on an anti-imperialist and anti- Zionist character after it became evident that imperialism was behind Zionism. The struggle of the Palestinian people against imperialism and its accomplice Israel was also organised in the neighbouring countries. Every uprising in the Israeli occupied areas was met with the “holy terror” of Israel. Massacres, expulsion, expropriation, the bombing of houses, concentration camps, et cetera, were the price which was demanded for the struggle of the Palestinians. But the struggle of the Palestinians accepted all the sacrifices and it has been continued till today. In 1964, the individual Palestinian groups gathered under the umbrella of the PLO. The developing struggle demanded that all Palestinian organisations gathered under a central roof. The efforts of the petit-bourgeois Nasser government, presenting itself as a candidate for the leadership of the Arab world, speeded up the development of the struggle during this phase. In 1964, the first Arab zenith took place in Cairo. These efforts were a source for fear among the reactionary petit-bourgeois-nationalist Arab regimes. They all feared a radicalisation of the Palestinian struggle and they wished to control this movement. At the first zenith, the groundwork was laid for the PLO and the liberation of the Palestinian people. On May 28, 1964, the Palestinian National Congress took the first concrete step by presenting the principles of the struggle, the minutes and the programme of the PLO. Furthermore, the decision was made to create a liberation army, connected to the PLO, to strengthen the military wing. This is how the PLO was founded, officially representing the Palestinian people. For a time it was still controlled by the Arab states. In these years, the Palestinian organisations saw the necessity for the armed struggle, realising they would gain liberation through a prolonged people’s war.
A short time later, they harvested the first fruit. The oldest and most influential Palestinian resistance organisation, with a petit-bourgeois leadership and a heterogeneous structure, Al-Fatah, realised (under the influence of radical Marxist-Leninist forces) the necessity for the organised armed struggle. From this perspective, Al-Fatah took up the armed struggle against Israel in 1965, bringing the Palestinian resistance to a higher level.
During the developing struggle, other Marxist-Leninist influenced groups emerged. In 1967, the largest organisation after Al-Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine was founded, calling itself Marxist-Leninist . It also had the view that liberation of the Palestinian people was only possible through a prolonged armed struggle. 1969 was a turning point for the PLO. The leadership of the PLO was taken over by Al-Fatah and ARAFAT, and the Nasserites were replaced. From this time, the Palestinian people acted more independently of the Arab states and pursued a policy which put the interests of the Palestinian people first.
The voice of the Palestinian people and its justified struggle, gaining world attention, exposed imperialism and Zionism. The support and the sympathy of world public opinion was clearly on the side of the Palestinians . In 1974, the PLO received the status of observer from the UN and more than 100 countries got to know the PLO. It received permission to open offices in many countries. It was recognised as the only official representative of the Palestinians by the reactionary Arab states. But this pro-PLO attitude of the Arab states should not deceive people. The reactionary states, collaborating with the imperialists, Saudi Arabia in the first place, always saw the anti-imperialist Palestinian movement and progressive revolutionary forces as a threat to their existence. The economic and diplomatic support for the PLO by countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait was necessary for these regimes to remain in power. Furthermore they wanted to deceive their own peoples, but they also wanted to soften the radical anti-imperialist side of the PLO, keeping it under control. These countries also didn’t hesitate to remove their mask when they were threatened. They took many measures to oppress and destroy the PLO. Palestinian history shows many examples. It is also the history of betrayal of the Palestinian struggle by the Arab states. The Palestinian people witnessed the biggest betrayal in September 1970. Sympathy for the PLO was rising in Jordan, which concerned King Hussein, a faithful lackey of imperialism. The PLO was a thorn in his flesh and he attacked it. This massacre entered the history of the Palestinians as “Black September”. After Black September, many Palestinians fled to Lebanon.
The enemy behind the friendly mask had massacred the Palestinian people. When this traitor acts as if he supports the PLO, calling the PLO the only representative of the Palestinian people, he surely isn’t thinking about developing the PLO. Rather, he is being forced to recognise a movement which is recognised worldwide. Furthermore, he wants to prevent reactions by his own people. The unbending and honourable struggle of the Palestinian people even impressed its enemies. The same is true for the countries with petit- bourgeois dictatorships. Especially in the 1960s, these countries wanted to control the PLO which has caused a wave of anti-imperialism in the Middle East, preventing it becoming dangerous for these countries as well. A revolutionary Palestine in the Middle East would threaten their existence and constitute a bad example to their own peoples. From this perspective, Syria tried to hit the Palestinian people, as well as the progressive movement, in Lebanon. When in 1975, during the civil war, the progressive forces, the National Movement of Lebanon and the PLO formed a coalition and were on the brink of victory over the reactionary Phalangist organisation, Syria intervened to prevent this. Syria did not tolerate an independent and progressive Lebanon as its neighbour. The Phalangists surrounded the camp at Tel Za’atar for 52 days, killing thousands of Palestinians. Palestinian women were raped. Syria secured the area around the camp to protect the Phalangists, preventing Palestinian forces coming to their aid. Syria bears the responsibility for the massacre in Tel Za’atar.
The inconsistent and pragmatic attitude of the petite bourgeoisie caused a policy which weakened the anti-imperialist forces. This conduct would be repeated many times, such as with the occupation of Lebanon and the siege of Beirut by Israel in the 1980s, where Syria remained silent about the blows that were delivered against the Palestinian movement. Or during the fights which occurred after the split of Abu MUSA, when Syria intervened on the side of the forces of Abu Musa.
The advantageous conditions, caused by the resistance, were not sufficiently used by the PLO in the 1970s. Instead of developing the conditions on the basis of the armed struggle, realising further steps towards liberation of the Palestinian people, the petit-bourgeois leadership of the PLO remained under imperialist influence because of their lack of self-confidence. While the PLO tried for a peaceful policy, looking for solutions for the Palestinian problem in diplomatic manoeuvres and within the framework of the international balance of power, the reactionary Arab countries also did everything to ensure this “non-threatening” road would be taken. Camp David was the first step. But imperialism couldn’t reach its goal of conquering all of Palestine. As a consequence of its leadership, the PLO did indeed tend towards reconciliation, but total capitulation was out of the question. During the 1980s, this tendency became stronger. In 1982, when Israel occupied Lebanon and surrounded Beirut, the PLO had to leave Lebanon. This loss of a strategically important basis meant a loss of strength and prestige as well. Furthermore the split within the PLO deepened. This situation strengthened the hopes of the petit-bourgeois leadership on diplomacy, but it also strengthened the Marxist-Leninists who believed in the strength of their own people and who tried to carry the armed struggle into the occupied zone.
Despite everything, the barriers to the Palestinian revolution are not insuperable. The Palestinian people and its struggle carry this dynamic. This was proven during decades of boycotts, strikes, in the prisons, during the uprisings, in the camps. The people has learned to endure pain, it has learned to stand up against horror. A newborn Palestinian is confronted by the occupation of his land, or with the reality that he is close to his land , but also far away. He has to live with the pain that he is without fatherland. Even before he can walk, he resists, and before he learns how to say daddy or mommy, he learns the slogan “Revolution until victory”. Stones and slings used against the enemy, are his toys. The future generals of the Palestinian revolution grew up with the feelings of hatred and revenge against Zionism and capitalism. Such a people possesses the potential which will lead it to victory. The uprising in the occupied zones, going on for months now, is clear proof. The Palestinian people is fighting the weapons, the tanks and gas grenades of the Israeli soldiers, with stones, slings and slogans. Young or old, seven or seventy, all take part in a sacrificial uprising against the occupiers. The cruelties by Israel are witnessed by millions on the television screens. Since the beginning of the uprising, daily two or three Palestinians are murdered, many more are wounded. Many have their arms and legs broken, hundreds are imprisoned in camps. When the justified and legitimate uprising of the Palestinian people was supported by armed forces for days, and when world public opinion was already waiting for its success, Israel once again intervened in a most cruel fashion. The PLO commander Abu Jihad, leading the uprisings in the occupied zones, was murdered by Israeli agents. Israel, terrorising the Palestinian people, simultaneously attacked the leadership to break it. Israel doesn’t see the fact that the resistance creates its own leadership and that they cannot prevent this. The resistance brought Israeli public opinion into motion. Actions were organised in which the terror by their own state was condemned. World public opinion damns Israeli terror. The resistance is making Israel go through difficult times.
The last step has been the manoeuvre of the Palestinian resistance judicially and administratively to reject the land which is occupied by Jordan. The declaration of the PLO to found a state or government in exile was met by Israel with the words: “we will crush this with an iron fist”. The resistance of the Palestinians was noticed by enemies as well as friends . Because of this last uprising, the movement has now reached a certain level. The PLO prepares to declare a Palestinian state for the occupied zones. The USA and the other imperialist states have not recognised the PLO, because it has not recognised Israel. But it can be seen also that the PLO is preparing to declare a state of its own, accepting the existence of Israel at the same time. Also, the USSR and other socialist states have increased the pressure on the PLO to recognise Israel and find a solution within that framework. Despite obstacles by Israel, a Palestinian state is to be founded next to Israel. The USA and Israel are enemies of the PLO and try to harm and destroy it, but they will accept the PLO and they will have to deal with accepting a Palestinian state in the Middle East. Without doubt, this will not happen overnight. The Palestinian question will be on the agenda of world public opinion for a while to come. Imperialism can use new manoeuvres to influence the PLO. But a solution is inevitable. The struggle has found its support and has now reached this level. It will be difficult for imperialism and Israel to oppose it. The efforts of the Palestinian movement to found a state in the occupied zones are on the right track. A state under occupation will not be a definite solution, it will be a step towards liberation.
Victory in the Middle East will belong to the Palestinians and the peoples of the Middle East. The imperialists and its collaborators, the Zionist state, and the reactionary Arab states will not escape their just end. They will be thrown in the dustbin of history by the peoples of the Middle East. The peoples in Turkey will take their responsibility in this struggle as well and stand at the side of the Middle East with international solidarity.