Analysis, Side Feature

Views on the News – 5 July 2017


  • Syrian Refugee Camp in Lebanon Destroyed by Fire
  • Grenfell Tower Fire Brushed under the carpet?
  • The French Empire

Syrian Refugee Camp in Lebanon Destroyed by Fire

One person has died and a number more injured in a fire that broke out at a camp for Syrian refugees in eastern Lebanon. Earlier reports put the death toll from the fire at three and gave a far higher number for the tents destroyed. Reuters say the camp had housed 102 families for years. Of the 1.5 million registered Syrian refugees, many have lived in similar poor conditions and are also at risk. Many Syrians, displaced by more than six years of fighting in their own country, live in makeshift camps dotted around Lebanon. Most of the camps that were built for these families are made out of cheap plastic and wood, which are extremely flammable, hence why the fire spread so rapidly. Violence within the region has left millions to wither away – and little has been done to accommodate these refugees. To this day, the Muslim rulers within the region have been idle, with no attempt to mobilise their army to rescue these people nor to accept them as their own.


Grenfell Tower Fire Brushed under the carpet?

This week Grenfell Tower survivors have submitted a letter to UK Prime Minister Theresa May to press reset on public inquiry plans. Despite the government admitting to failures in their management of Grenfell it is feared that the gross failures prior to the incident will be brushed under the carpet. This includes the ignoring of complaints by residents, the use of plastic cladding and the refusal of the police to admit to the true number of fatalities. It is clear that the establishment is trying to hide the reality of such a situation in the best way it can as the spotlight is on it due to the capitalist system which has led to the poor being treated in such a way.


The French Empire

The leaders of five countries in North Africa are meeting French President Emmanuel Macron in Mali to discuss the deployment of a new African force to fight “terrorism” in the Sahel region. This makes it Macron’s second visit since being elected in May. Currently UN peacekeepers and French troops are fighting armed groups; however Macron said the strategy is not working. He wants an African force to help confront what he calls “Islamic terrorism”. He is calling for countries in the Sahel region of northwest Africa to contribute 5,000 soldiers. They will be tasked with wiping out fighters Macron describes as “terrorists, thugs and murderers”. However, it is extremely difficult to discern to whom he is referring to. UN peacekeepers are currently facing new allegations of sexual exploitations and abuse of civilians across the region where more than 55 UN peacekeepers have been accused since January 2017. The French troops deployed are also in the same boat where reports of abuse and exploitations are rife as well as the accusation of War crimes particularly in its intervention in Mali’s civil war in recent times. To deploy 5000 troops from the region itself will be logistically difficult as getting 5000 people to fight against their kinsmen to promote the French agenda will not be easy. Funding this contingent and training them will be another hurdle and recent indications have shown that western trained indigenous forces often don’t have the will power to fight a difficult battle despite their superior equipment, as seen in Syria and Afghanistan with the US.