US and Britain on the slippery slope to combat troops back on the ground in Iraq

The people who brought us the Iraq war in 2003 are doing it again - the anti-war movement must mobilise to stop them.

Source: Stop the War Coalition


THE EXPECTED announcement by Barack Obama that another 500 US troops are to be sent to Iraq is an admission of failure by the US in the region - and the possible presage of much deeper involvement.

This is only a few short years following the much hyped withdrawal from Iraq and more than a decade after George W Bush declared 'mission accomplished' following the bombing and invasion.

It's also a year since ISIS gained control of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. In that year we have had repeated promises that the US and its British allies would deal with the Islamist group. To this end, MPs voted in parliament for airstrikes on Iraq (although not on Syria, following David Cameron's defeat in 2013 over attacking Assad). US planes have been bombing both Syria and Iraq. But, ISIS remains in control of Mosul, recently conquered Ramadi, and is far from being defeated militarily in Syria and Iraq.

Indeed both countries have been effectively partitioned, with a large ISIS controlled area straddling the border. The Iraqi army has been totally incapable of dealing with this, abandoning extensive amounts of US supplied sophisticated weaponry to be snapped up by ISIS.

Another 500 troops - used for 'training', as are the extra 100 plus to be sent by David Cameron - could be the start of an increased direct involvement by the imperial powers in the region. The US military increasingly acknowledges that air strikes are not sufficiently precise in order to destroy their enemy and that 'boots on the ground' are needed.

The US thought initially that it could train the Iraqi army (highly corrupt but least committed) to do that job, but this is increasingly revealed as an illusion. The west has also relied on the Kurds in northern Syria to do the fighting against ISIS, but find this politically unreliable in different ways, since those doing the fighting are regarded as terrorists by Turkey and the EU.

The training will almost certainly involve foreign troops carryout military functions themselves. It should be remembered that the decade long US military quagmire in Vietnam began with the despatch of military advisers.

The US is harvesting the bitter fruits  of bombing and occupation. The support for a weak and sectarian government, the fanning of religious sectarian tensions, the policy of divide and rule which was fostered by the occupying forces, as well as the tacit acquiescence with the support for and funding of ISIS by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, have all contributed to the present situation.

Imperialism has taken a wrecking ball to a series of Middle east countries - Libya, Iraq and Syria - and supports reactionaries like Saudi Arabia throughout the region. Unfortunately the end is not in sight.

The failure of the War on Terror and the derailing of the Arab Spring have consequences now being played out in these bloody conflicts. The people who brought us the war in 2003 are doing it again - and the anti war movement has to mobilise to stop them.