Here we are sending you some factual contribution to future translations of your new text about the current wave of class struggle in Maghreb and Mashreq to provide you with some examples of important actions of our class. All our sources are obtained only via internet, so we cannot really confirm all the informations. Most of sources are bourgeois media, so it is necessary to "read between the lines".
We point out, what we see from the communist point of view as important moments in the otherwise "weaker" movement in Saudi Arabia + some factual record of desertions in Syria.
Starting of February 2011, Saudi Arabia, started numerous protests on the streets, some of whose developed into the riots with police forces. At the beginning most of them were very limited in extent, usually hundreds of persons. While many of them had „pro democracy“ tone, calling for political reforms, rights for shiite minority etc., others had expressed proletarian interests more clearly.
In January in the city of Jeddah, couple of hundreds have demonstrated for payment of compensation for victims of flooding. It was followed by another one against poor state of services like water delivery and cuts in power supply etc. Around twenty of them were arrested by police.
According to regional news website www.thepeninsulaqatar.com: „...A mass message sent via BlackBerry Messenger on Thursday urged Jeddah residents to join a demonstration over the floods, while another urged all government and private sector employees to hold a general strike next week. But Friday’s protest had been unexpected. “No work for the full week until they find a solution to the roads of Jeddah,” the message said. It was not known who sent the messages....“
Over 3000 ( probably mostly foreign) construction workers stroke on Bin Laden Group site against terrible conditions in labour camp (bad sanitation in dormitories, low and unpaid wages, ). Strike lasted one day and policemen were attacked by workers with stones and police car smashed. Workers received unpaid wages and were promised to get payed overtimes. Similar strikes had erupted at the same time in construction site of King Fahad Library and in a construction sites in King Saud University. According to local „socialist“(Trockist) militant involved in the strikeworkers started to organize themselves in coordination with workers from other companies construction sites.
Other strike of more then 600 workers erupted in contruction site on Grand Mosque of Mecca in February.
With growing influence of movement in other countries of Maghreb and Mashreq, demonstrations became more widespread, often called on Friday after prayers.
In April, also in Jeddah, teachers working in „National illiteracy eradication program“ demanded they job contracts to be made permanent. When they were refused to talk with director of provincial headquaters of Ministry of Civil Service, they fought with their fists against the Ministry Guard.
At least from February onwards, there were also continuing demostrations held mostly by women (or men and women, but separately) demanding release of „political prisoners“ including previously arrested protesters.
At the beginning of March, more protests started in the Eastern Province. This region, where most of Saudi oil field and refineries are concentrated, has „Shiite“ majority and it also borders Bahrain and is close to Iran (both „Shiite“ majority states) and therefore local protests are always presented as „Shiite movement“ by bourgeoise and its media (both „saudi“ and „bahraini“ and „western“). Also local „Shiite“ bourgeoise tried to frame them in the name of sectarian „religious liberation“ and demands for „constitutional rights of Shiite minority“.
However in Qatif, regional capital, demonstrations were held in solidarity both with protests in Bahrain and proletarian uprising in „sunni“ Libya.
Protests had intensified when Saudi Arabian armed forces (so called Penninsula shield force) were sent to Bahrain to help the local police with repression of the proletarian movement.
From 15th to 18th March, several thousands of proletarians demonstrated every day in Qatif, Omran, Al-Awamiyah, Safwa, Al-Rabeeya... In act of revolutionary defetism they demanded immediate withdrawal of SA army from Bahrain and release of prisoners. Demonstrations were dispersed by police firing rubber bullets. Two days later, in Qatif it culminated in act of proletarian violence:
„...A Shi'ite judge in the town who has urged an end to street protests, Sheikh Wajeeh al-Awjami, said youth had broken through the gate of his second home and set it ablaze, after earlier sending him text messages bemoaning his opposition to protests...“.
In Syria, growing number of soldiers refused to fulfill their role of repressive forces against proletariat. Some of the mass desertions and refusals of orders are documented by bourgeois media, but it seems, that real scale is much wider. There are numerous accounts of individual soldiers or small units showing solidarity with „civilian“ proletarians on the streets, as well as videos on the internet with men in military uniform struggling side by side with them.
In the town of Quyria, crew of armoured truck joined the protests and took their vehicle with them.
Even more important fraternisation started on the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour, where army was sent in order to crush local protests. When siege of the city begun, big part of the invading military units changed sides.
„...An eyewitness in Jisr al-Shughour said around 2,000 officers and conscripts had defected from the Syrian army and were fighting alongside residents in the town to repel the assault. “They mutinied because of their orders” to shoot at local civilians, he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he feared the consequences of talking to the news media...“
It is important to say, that Assads regime, in simmilar way as regime in Bahrajn and as any bourgeois faction when facing open proletarian revolt, use the divisons of proletariat along sectarian lines to undermine its strength. Most of officers of Syrian army and profesional soldiers are „Alawis“ while conscripts are „Sunni“ or „Christians“. However, in this case proletarians in uniforms had overcome this divisons and mutined together. Even officers up to the rank of captain defected.
At least 150 local policemen and soldiers were killed in the best known event before the siege itself. While syrian state media claim, that those were killed by „armed gangs“, some protesters insist however, that they were mutiners killed by loyal forces. In any case, this killings were used as an ideological justification for bourgeoise to crush the revolt in Jisr.
As the siege continued, many mutinous soldiers also crossed the border to Turkey:
„...(Reuters) - A growing number of Syrian soldiers are deserting the army to avoid taking part in the military crackdown against protesters demanding the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad.
Unwilling to open fire on demonstrators who have taken to the streets chanting the revolutionary slogans of uprisings across the Arab world, some Syrian troops have chosen to lay down their arms and flee to neighboring countries like Turkey...“
Also during the siege of Daraa, some soldiers refused to shoot at protesters and were fired upon by loayalist units and their injuries were treated by protesters.
In Homs, soldiers clashed with special units of State security forces and used armoured vehicles to shelter protesters against their bullets.