Down with the Imperialist War in Iraq and Syria!
(«Proletarian»;Nr. 11; Winter-Spring 2015)
In early August the American government decided to launch a limited «humanitarian action» – in the form of mass bombing! – in Iraq, after an international campaign to mobilize public opinion over the plight of the Yazidi and Christian minorities who have been threatened with «genocide» by the advance of Islamist rebels of «the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant» (better known by the acronym ISIS).
Today no one is talking about the Yazidis or Christians, it is the fate of the Kurds which is used for bellicose propaganda; the «humanitarian» operation has turned into a real war, essentially through aerial attacks at the moment. The United States are preponderantly the main military force: they have completed more than 200 bombings in Iraq, dozens in Syria and sent several hundred troops into Iraq (from where they were completely removed in 2011!); but they managed to gather a broad international coalition: according to them, forty countries are included, but since they did not give the list this casts some doubt on this claim.
The French government, tried to manifest its participation in the American intervention with maximum clarity by being the second country to carry out bombings in Iraq against ISIS. The Australian, Canadian and Dutch governments, followed by the UK, Belgium and Denmark have also decided to participate in the air war, as well as the governments of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar. Other countries such as Germany and Italy, which have joined the international coalition announced the shipment of weapons. Spain has decided not to participate in combat, but did decide to provide «logistical support». Without taking part in the coalition, Russian which was invited to the international conference in mid-September to set it in motion, announced that it would provide a «contribution» to the international military engagement (for some months already it has sent off arms to the government in Baghdad).
Even though at this stage the individual states participating in the coalition say that they don’t want to send troops to fight on the ground, France, Canada, Germany, Britain, like the United States, have already sent, sometimes for «several weeks», «military advisors» and other «special forces» in Iraq to train and supervise anti-Islamists, Kurdish and non-Kurdish, combatants.
AN INTERVENTION SOLELY MOTIVATED BY SORDID IMPERIALIST INTERESTS, NOT BY SUPPOSEDLY DISINTERESTED «HUMANITARIAN» CONCERNS
The military intervention was justified by the atrocities committed by ISIS in areas where it is present (of which it did not hesitate to publish videos on the internet from time to time): killing of prisoners including civilians, beheading of hostages, etc. ; the terror this inspires is a weapon of ISIS, but it is now used against it in order to win support for military intervention: every war needs to brandish innocent victims, true or false, to justify itself.
But until the last period, as long as they took place in Syria (where ISIS has committed them since its inception), these atrocities did not disturb the conscience of the Western imperialists, a clear conscience that is not more moved by the crimes and abuses committed by the Baghdad regime that relies on real commandos of death to maintain its authority by terror!
That all changed at the beginning of this summer, when the fighters ISIS, backed by military officers and Baathist forces from the old regime of Saddam Hussein, routed the Iraqi army, and posed a direct threat to Baghdad. The fall of the regime put in place after the victorious war of the Bush administration and in whose shadow they had access to Iraqi oil, was out of the question for the United States: this is why they have decided to intervene militarily, and not because of the alleged pressure of their «public opinion» which is always nothing but a creation of the media.
The bulk of the Iraqi oil fields, operated by American (Exxon ...), British (BP, Shell), Russian (Lukoil ...), Italian (ENI), French (Total) and Chinese (PetroChina ...) companies are in the south, a Shiite area, where ISIS and its Sunni allies have few chances to penetrate. But a significant part is located in the region of the North around Mosul, over which Kurdish nationalists have long asserted their claim vis-à-vis Baghdad; expanding their territory by close to 40%, they were able to occupy part of this territory by taking advantage of the collapse of the Iraqi army, and they now want to defend it against Isis and its bourgeois Sunni allies. Furthermore, the autonomous government of Kurdistan had recently decided, against the advice of Baghdad, to grant oil concessions to the major Western oil companies, including American «majors» Exxon and Chevron and French Total. In delivering weapons to Kurdish fighters (de facto support to Kurdish independence) (1), the Americans and the French protect their big oil interests! (2)
On the other hand, neither the big imperialisms nor the States of the region, see any good coming from the questioning of the State borders born from the colonization and the imperialist carving up of the Middle East by an «uncontrolled» group like ISIS, which took over the Baathist version of the old Arab nationalist chimera of a union between Syria and Iraq, repainting it in the colors of radical Islam.
RECOMPOSITIONS UNDERWAY IN THE MIDDLE EAST
The agreement reached last summer under the auspices of Russia for the elimination of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime was a turning point in American policy: it meant that, given its failure to find or develop a reliable political force among the rebels, the fall of Assad’s regime carried with it too many risks to the stability of the regional imperialist order for the Obama administration.
Syrian rebels are divided into multiple armed groups either more or less autonomous or roughly gathered into various «fronts» in accordance with the subsidies received from local bourgeois, neighboring countries and the imperialists, some living by robbery, extortion or smuggling. The Arab countries of the Gulf initially funded the most Islamist of the groups while Turkey gave its support, all this under the eye of Washington. Behind their reactionary common references to religion and Islamic law, and based on hatred aroused by the bloody regime in Damascus, all these groups actually defend specific and often rival bourgeois interests; for instance ISIS owed its success largely to the fact that it managed to finance itself through various means ensuring control of a part of the production and the smuggling of Syrian oil to Turkey. None of these groups deserves the support of the proletarians of whom they are actually as resolute enemies as they are of the Syrian state.
The continual efforts (in terms of money and arms) of the Americans (supported by the French, British and other imperialisms) to collect some of these groups in a «Free Syrian Army» under their control and to recruit a «moderate Islamist» political force among the Syrian politicians in emigration commanding some credibility in Syria were repeated failures. To the point that the pro-American ASL (which operates on the ground as a veritable mafia) not only was defeated in various places by the forces of the regime, not only has faced competition from other more dynamic rebel organizations, but to resist the attacks of the new organization named ISIS, it undertook an alliance with a powerful Islamist group, the al-Nusra Front, which openly supports Al Qaeda, the No. 1 enemy of the United States!
The dozens of bombings of Americans and their allies in Syria against ISIS along with Al Nosra positions (3) demonstrate that the enemy of American imperialism in Syria is not the regime of Bashar al-Assad although it is guilty of many more crimes and massacres than the Islamists: new proof that it is never the fate of the populations that determines the action of the imperialists and the bourgeoisie of all countries!
Through the current instability, which is as much the result of the economic crisis as of the fierce inter-bourgeois rivalry, realignments of power are at work in the Middle East: American imperialism has sketched out a rapprochement with the same Iran that it threatened with bombing not long ago, Turkey, after having utilized ISIS (4), is preparing to invade a part of Syria to establish a «buffer zone», Israel which refuses any Palestinian self-determination, is in favor of the independence of the Kurds, etc. Because of its oil resources, but also due to its strategic location, the region is critical to global capitalism; and it will remain so as long as capitalism lives on; it is doomed to be the scene of violent clashes of interests leading inevitably to war, «local» or more general, of which the populations are the victims. In addition to the dead and wounded in the fighting and bombing, hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the fighting had to leave their residences in recent weeks to seek refuge in Turkey or in other parts of Iraq; they add to the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who have found a precarious refuge in Lebanon, Jordan or elsewhere. Needless to say, the plight of those refugees condemned as they are to abject poverty are not bothering the bourgeois...
ONLY THE CLASS WAR CAN OPPOSE BOURGEOIS WAR!
Governments call on the population in general and the workers in particular to a «national union» in support of the ongoing military operation, repeating almost word for word the same old language it used a century ago, during the First World War. Everyone knows that these grandiloquent appeals to the «sacred union» to defend the «homeland» only served to call the workers to sacrifice themselves to defend the sordid interests of «their» exploiters, «their» national capitalism. Bolshevik revolutionaries denounced the lie of the «defense of the fatherland»; calling for «revolutionary defeatism», they took the motto of the German Socialist, Liebknecht: the real enemy of the proletariat is in their own country; it is the capitalist class; it is against this class that we must fight, it is capitalism that must be smashed by the revolution.
From this point of view nothing has changed today. The enemy of the workers is not a nebulous «terrorism» that should be protected against by military interventions and wars (for years to come according to British Prime Minister Cameron) on other continents and repressive measures at home; it is «their» own bourgeoisie, «their» own capitalism, a hundred times more guilty and criminal than all the «jihadists» put together.
Since its inception, capitalism has covered the planet with fire and blood, spreading misery and destruction to satisfy its thirst for profits, causing death by dozens and dozens of millions in wars, while leading a social war without interruption against its proletarians. Today inflicting austerity policies, it throws them out onto the street and delivers them over to the brutality and crimes of the police in an attempt to restore its failing economic health; calls to national unity for the war, are just the counterpart of calls for national unity for the economic war. And if the proletariat fails to stop it beforehand, capitalism will inevitably plunge humanity into a third world war even more destructive than the previous world wars, in order to overcome its internal contradictions which it finds increasingly difficult to control.
There is only one way to put an end to all of this, the one indicated by Marxism and the history of the labor movement: the road to the reprise of the class struggle, of independent class organization, of the constitution of the proletariat as a class and thus as a party (the Communist Manifesto) to lead the proletarian struggle until the victory of the international communist revolution and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, a necessary step to eradicate global capitalism.
This is the path that must be prepared starting with the refusal of any unity with the capitalists and their state, any sacrifice for the interests of the bourgeois economy, any renunciation of the exclusive defense of proletarian interests, any support for military intervention, any participation in the campaigns of imperialist mobilization, even and especially when they are camouflaged behind «humanitarian» alibis.
Down with the new imperialist intervention in the Middle East!
No to national unity in support of imperialism!
For the revival of the anti-capitalist class struggle!
For the international communist revolution!
(1) The American policy up to now is the defense of Iraqi unity; that’s why they oppose the evacuation of Kurdish oil by a Turkish pipeline to be sold on the world market. Turkish interests are just the opposite.
(2) The French authorities also justify their military intervention by the fact that negotiations on major arms contracts are underway with Saudi Arabia. One believes they die for their country, but one really dies for the arms merchants, as it was said during the First World War ...
(3) Syrian rebel groups still funded by the Americans have publicly condemned the attacks on al-Nusra. This group is accusing ISIS of not really fighting the regime in Damascus and of not following Islamic principles with sufficient rigor (!); It demanded to be removed from the American list of terrorist organizations, that is, to be recognized by the United States.
International Communist Party