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      U.S./Canada and All Imperialists, Hands Off the Middle East
      Protest 18 Years of the New Era of War and Occupation

      By Janine Solanki

      Last month marked 18 years of the war on Afghanistan, the longest war in U.S. history. Now into its 19th year, the war is still bringing death, destruction and immense hardship to the people of Afghanistan. On September 19, a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan killed at least 30 farmers harvesting pine nuts in Nangarhar province. A few days later, on September 23, at least 40 civilians, including women and children, were killed at a wedding by a U.S.-led attack on a village in southern Helmand province.

      Since the war on Afghanistan started, the U.S. and their imperialist allies have advanced a new era of war and occupation, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. This includes Yemen, in its fifth year of a U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war. The war has killed at least 100,000 people since 2015, according to a recent report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) on October 2019, and The Guardian, British newspaper on June 2019. This number doesn’t include those killed by starvation in what the United Nations has called the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, or those killed by cholera in the world’s cholera outbreak – both effects of the Saudi war. This brutal war has been dubbed the “forgotten war” as it has received minimal coverage in western mainstream media – also forgotten has been the quiet support of the government of Canada to Saudi Arabia, including the $15 billion arms deal for so-called “light” armored vehicles.

      Vancouver Action

      In Vancouver, Canada, the antiwar coalition Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) is on the streets every month to protest the imperialist new era of war and occupation, which started with the war on Afghanistan and continues today. On October 11, MAWO stood in solidarity with the March on the Pentagon’s “Rage Against the War Machine” actions which took place in Washington, DC, and demanded the complete end to the wars abroad, the closure of foreign bases, and that the Pentagon budget be dramatically slashed to fund health and social programs at home.

      The Vancouver action on October 11 was held at downtown Vancouver’s busy Robson square, with picket signs and banners demanding “U.S./Saudi Arabia Hands Off Yemen!” and “Self-determination for the People of Yemen!”. Organizers talked to passersby and collected signatures on a petition against Canada’s $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, and many people stopped by the information table to find out more and pick up antiwar literature.

      To find out about MAWO’s upcoming actions and events, visit www.mawovancouver.org or follow on Facebook and Twitter @MAWOVan

      Follow Janine on Twitter: @janinesolanki

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