In this second instalment of their regular series, Comrade Joti Brar and radio host Garland Nixon discuss Yemen and Palestine, touching on: the vigour of the Palestinian resistance despite apparently overwhelming odds; the role of Yemeni solidarity in the Red Sea; the importance of the zionist project to US imperialism; the degradation of the US military machine; the export of capital as part of Lenin’s thesis on imperialism; and finally finishing up with a broad overview of the Ukraine war.
Garland begins by asking for Joti’s thoughts on the importance of the debacle in the Red Sea – referring to Yemen’s capture of Israeli ships and the resulting redirection of global trade – a move that revealed the power of a state that is only ever presented as a poor victim in western media (if it is mentioned at all).
Putting the situation into a wider context, Joti points out that although different parts of the middle east are facing their own struggles, the various resistance forces have all “over the years increasingly come to realise that their struggle is centred in Palestine; because zionism is the main weapon that the imperialists use to control all of the middle east. They’re not there to control Palestine, they’re there to control the region.”
And so, the reason Palestine and other peoples in the middle east fight back? Oppression breeds resistance. And as the oppression faced by these countries is largely directed by US imperialism through the state of Israel, Palestine has logically become the centre of their struggle.
So why is the zionist project so critical to imperialism, Garland asks? To the onlooker it appears totally bizarre that the US government is willing to continue funding and arming Israel, staking its (albeit in tatters) international reputation, when public discontent at home grows by the day and workers all over the world are marching and acting against it?
Oil. This is the simple answer given by comrade Joti. The United States of America is the world’s biggest imperialist power, and the imperialist global economy (and its war machines) runs on oil.
Ever the insightful listener, Garland proceeds to describe the degraded state of the USA’s military, calling it “feckless and ridiculous” as compared to its cold war peak. Adeptly summarising the contradiction of the military-industrial complex – where profit-driven public contractors manufacturing the same equipment as its opponents at an infinitely dearer cost are rotting the system of US imperialism from the inside – Garland asks how the system can paradoxically weaken itself in this way?
The huge military power that is the USA is relying on private industry to provide an essential service. In this way, capitalism is shooting itself in the foot. Military contractors need to make a profit in order to survive, and every dime they make is a cost to the US government not borne by its opponents in the middle east, many of whose weapons are made underground, sometimes even without electricity.
In the end, of course, the decisive factor in any war is not weapons but people. The Koreans and Vietnamese long ago proved that a seemingly weak but motivated people, well organised and fighting for a just cause, will ultimately defeat the demoralised troops of an aggressive power far from home.
In these days when the USA fears to put boots on the ground for just this reason, preferring instead to bomb from skies where its planes meet no air defences, the resistant armies of the middle east have also learned the art of tunnel warfare pioneered by the Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese resistance forces in the mid-20th century.
Little by little, at great and painful cost, they have learned the strengths and found the weaknesses of their imperialist enemies. The successful blockading of the Red Sea to Israeli-aligned ships by Yemen’s Ansarullah government is just one indicator that the axis of middle-eastern resistance has not been wasting its time in the last 50 years.