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US intervention causes havoc everywhere it goes but it never tires of bombing Iraq

The failure of all the interventions by the US and its allies has created a series of dangerous and deadly wars and conflicts, says Lindsey German.

AMERICAN planes launch airstrikes in Iraq again. The war in Ukraine reaches a bloody denouement as the Kiev government crushes the rebellion in the east of the country.

A top US general is killed in a supposedly safe base in Afghanistan, and the Taliban overrun Sangin province, where many British soldiers were killed. A Royal Navy ship is dispatched to Libya to rescue British citizens as the embassy closes due to fierce fighting between militias.

Israel restarts its brutal assault on Gaza as the death toll of Palestinians reaches nearly 2000.

This was all happening in the week that we remembered the 100th anniversary of the First World War and politicians assured themselves this could never happen again. Unfortunately that is not true. The same people who brought us past wars seem determined to do so again.

 Barack Obama’s decision to launch airstrikes against ISIS or the Islamic State forces in northern Iraq demonstrates both the desperation of the western powers faced with the reality of Iraq, and the criminal futility of their policies. Desperation, because ISIS is threatening Irbil, where the US has a consulate, and is a growing force in the country, launching sectarian attacks on religious and ethnic minorities and claiming its own state in parts of Syria and iraq. Criminal futility because if anything has been shown to have failed in recent years it has been US airstrikes.

So while we should support everything which can bring humanitarian aid to the people now suffering in Iraq, we should not support US intervention in a region for whose disastrous state the US holds major responsibility. 

For the truth is that the growth of ISIS is a legacy of the war on terror, of the sanctions and bombing of Iraq, of an occupation which deliberately fostered sectarian divisions, and of a series of policies which have resulted in the backing of right wing fundamentalist groups to fight anyone perceived as the enemy of the US and its allies.

This began in the 1980s in Afghanistan when the US funded the predecessors of the Taliban and al Qaeda to help defeat its main enemy at the time, the USSR.

After the invasions and occupation of Afghanistan and then Iraq, the policy of the US was totally pragmatic, backing any group that would support its supposed interests in strengthening the occupations against the resistance movements which sprang up. Iraq’s central state was destroyed, replaced by a US colonial administration which ruled from Baghdad’s Green Zone and created death squads and militias. The strategy of tension which followed helped to foster and exacerbate sectarian tensions.

The failure of the Iraq occupation really accelerated the process of covert intervention however, as public opinion turned against more ‘boots on the ground’ military adventures, the US enemy Iran became the major force in the region, and the various powers desperately threw money at different groups. Taken aback by the wave of revolutionary enthusiasm which swept the Middle East during the Arab Spring in 2011, and which saw two trusted pro western leaders toppled in Tunisia and Egypt, the western powers used  the opposition to existing dictators to further its own ends.

Remember Libya in the summer of 2011, when it was hard to mobilise large numbers in opposition to western intervention to overthrow Gadaffi? NATO airstrikes, led by Britain and France, killed 30,000 in a supposed humanitarian intervention. The country immediately descended into a barely interrupted civil war, and is today breaking up.

In Syria, western powers and Middle East powers funded different groups. In particular Qatar and Saudi Arabia poured money into different armed groups, Qatar spending $3billion in two years. Saudi has doubled its arms spending in the past decade. Turkey, a key NATO member, facilitated the movement of arms and funding.

ISIS was created in part by this funding, which continued even after the British parliament voted not to bomb Syria a year ago, and Obama too had to abort his plans.

If Frankenstein had the excuse that he did not realise what his monster would become, there is no such excuse for these rulers, who now have 30 years experience.

They get away with it because covert intervention is much harder to detect, and publicise, and get a movement in opposition to it. It is one the radar of tens of thousands, not of millions. Much of the funding, and the fighting, stays in the background, barely reported by the media.

In the foreground, of course, has been Gaza, an attack which has spurred a mass solidarity movement with the Palestinians, and which has to be seen as connected to the other issues.

The failure of all the interventions by the US and its allies has created a series of dangerous and deadly wars and conflicts. The protest on 9 August is about Gaza, but it also has to be a protest against those who back Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians, and whose military and economic system is now wreaking such devastation across the world.     

Source: Stop the War Coalition

The Iraq War Is Still Poisoning Our National Life