Rohingya flee violence

Since 25 August, almost 430,000 Rohingya, 1,400 of them orphaned children, have fled Myanmar amid some of worst violence seen against them. A further 30,000 members of other small minority groups have also been displaced, with around 214 villages completely razed and still smouldering; flames and smoke visible from neighbouring Bangladesh. After an attack on an army base and police posts by Rohingya militants, Myanmar state officials reacted with massive force, beating and firing at unarmed Rohingya children, women and men, and using rocket launchers.

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Korea in the firing line

South Korea corruption 

The threat to use US military force against North Korea made by the new US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, on his visit to South Korea on 17 March 2017 and the US deployment of an anti-missile system in South Korea earlier in the month have ratcheted up tensions in the Asia-Pacific region. While the US states that its purpose is to defend South Korea and Japan from missile attacks by North Korea, China and Russia are also threatened. With the recent impeachment on corruption charges of South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye, after 134 days of candlelit mass mobilisations involving millions of people, the 9 May presidential election will have South Korea’s sovereignty and relations with North Korea, China, Japan and the US at the centre of the campaign. If South Korea yields to US bellicosity it stands to suffer substantial economic losses from Chinese retaliation.

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The Central Asian Holocaust of 1916

The Baku Congress

The Central Asian Holocaust of the First World War, when Tsarist imperialism massacred at least 500,000 Khirgiz Tartars in 1916 is little known today but forms part of the twentieth century Koroglu of the Turkic Peoples. It took place in the midst of the First Imperialist War of 1914-18 when Russian imperialism was facing a major crisis in its war against German imperialism.

The massacre was mentioned in the Manchester Guardian of 28 November 1917:  'While Western Europe has heard about Armenian massacres, the massacre of the Central Asian Moslems by the Tsar’s agents has been studiously hidden.'

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Kashmir: the struggle for independence

Joy Bose

The struggle for Kashmiri independence is central to Indian and Pakistani politics and the conflict between the two nations. Both countries claim Kashmir as their own, with no regard to the wishes of the Kashmiri people. Its partition in 1947 was the inevitable outcome of the manoeuvres of British imperialism in the first half the last century as it attempted to split the Indian independence movement along religious lines. Today, two-thirds of the 10 million population of Indian-occupied Kashmir are Muslims.

When the British left India in 1947, 77% of Kashmiris were Muslims, but its ruler was the Hindu Maharaja Hari Singh. At the time of independence India was to be divided into two states, with Muslim-majority regions going to Pakistan. Accordingly Pakistan claimed Kashmir, but Singh was reluctant to accede. To put pressure on him, Pakistan launched a guerrilla invasion, only to drive him into Indian hands. The arrival of the Indian army in Kashmir led to the India-Pakistan war of 1948, ending in a UN-sponsored ceasefire agreement, the demarcation of a line of control between India and Pakistan and since then, de-facto partition. The UN resolution included a promise to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir about its future, which Nehru and subsequent rulers of India ignored. The unresolved situation has led to three further wars between India and Pakistan: 1965, 1971 (mainly over Bangladesh but also involving Kashmir) and 1999.

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Philippines: militarising disaster

’What the disaster victims need urgently are food, water and medical attention, not US warships bringing in emergency rations to justify their armed presence in Philippine sovereign waters... If the US government were really interested in providing assistance to countries who have suffered from calamities, then it should increase its funds to civilian agencies that deal in disaster response and emergency relief, not in fattening its international military forces and taking advantage of the people’s miseries to justify their presence.’

Communist Party of the Philippines, 15 November 2013.

On 8 November, Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, hit the Philippines. The second-deadliest typhoon to have hit the country, it has left up to 10,000 people dead and thousands more injured. Total damage to infrastructure is estimated at up to $240m or more according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council.

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