by Douglas Hill
Ever since 9/11, the U.S. government has launched the “War on Terror,” and enacted a virtual avalanche of legislation aimed at containing the threat of Islamic terrorism. Much of this legislation legitimizes the ethnic profiling of people who supposedly “look” like they are Muslim in places such as airports. According to sources such as the media and the U.S. government themselves, this “War on Terror” is supposedly a war aimed at satisfying the altruistic goals of protecting the public from Islamic terrorism. However, the reality is that the U.S. is conducting this war for far different reasons. As we have seen, the U.S. government has been attempting to further its geopolitical interests in the Middle East since the end of World War II, when it became the dominant imperialist power of the world. Here, we will investigate how the U.S. hypocritically conducts this “War on Terror” by supporting Islamic terrorist groups and reactionary monarchies in the Middle East when it furthers their imperial interests.
Islamic Groups Supported By the U.S.
Some may know full well that the U.S. has supported Islamist movements in the past. Indeed, its support of the Afghan mujahedeen during the Soviet-Afghan War is well-known. But some may be astonished to learn that the U.S. has continued to support Islamist terrorist groups and repressive governments worldwide, and still manages to get away with getting called the beacon of freedom of the world. Many have stepped up with analyses that end up justifying the imperialist system, citing that these were just “policy mistakes” that can be corrected with due time. As we shall see, this is not the case.
First, let’s begin by exposing the different Islamic movements and countries that the U.S. supports. Here, we will also explain why this hypocritical phenomenon has nothing to do with any inconvenient “policy” of the ruling class, but is in fact a reflection of their concrete class interests as the dominant class of an imperialist power.
The House of Saud is the royal family of one of the most patriarchal, repressive and reactionary regimes on earth, which has been in power for more than seven decades. The theocratic absolute monarchy that rules in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia upholds the Qu’ran as the binding law of the land. The King holds absolute political power. Saudi dissident groups have expressed their anger at the persisting poverty, unemployment, and corruption of the Saudi monarchs. Labor unions are banned, and the government continuously represses political movements that advocate for social change. Strikes and demonstrations are illegal and punished with harsh repression, including execution, which frequently takes the form of beheading, stoning, amputation of limbs, firing squad or crucifixion. The absolutist methods of governing have frequently provoked discontent among the working classes of Saudi Arabia, particularly the oil workers, who have risen up for women’s suffrage, better economic conditions and the democratization of the state, most recently during the Arab Spring.
Women are severely oppressed in Saudi Arabia. This system of gender oppression has been compared to racial apartheid in South Africa. It is the world’s only state where women are not allowed to drive. They also cannot travel, work, study, or marry without permission from a male guardian. Saudi Arabia, from the beginning of its dynasty all the way until the present day, has carried out brutal public executions for “sorcery and witchcraft.” These situations are hardly aired in the U.S. corporate media due to the United States being loyal buyers of Saudi Arabia’s enormous oil exports.
The Saud monarchy carries out systematic interference in the internal affairs of other countries, supporting Islamic fundamentalist rebels as a reflection of the state ideology of Wahhabism. Along with the United States, Saudi Arabia has been one of the primary funders of Al-Qaeda. Osama Bin Laden, who was probably the most widely-known terrorist in modern history, was a product of U.S.-Saudi business relations. The Saudi Bin Laden Group, which is owned by the Bin Laden family, is to this day a member of the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council, and plays a large role in furthering the collective geopolitical and economic interests of U.S.-Saudi capitalists. Al Jazeera, the state-owned media in Qatar, works with the Saudi propaganda outlet Al Arabiya to shape public opinion, as well as structurally maintain the Saud family’s ruling intellectual force over Saudi Arabia. The Saudi monarchy, more recently, has been financially backing the Syrian “rebels” against Assad in Syria. Despite its infamous record in dealing with women, political dissidents, religious minorities, LGBT individuals and foreign workers, U.S. imperialism has been friendly towards Saudi Arabia for decades.
This small island country in the Persian Gulf has been a victim of British and American imperialism for decades, perhaps even centuries. The Kingdom of Bahrain is not a part of NATO, but they are a major ally of the United States. The monarchy in Bahrain has been brutally oppressing pro-democracy movements since 2011. This includes, but is not limited to, shooting in open crowds. The United States and Britain are staunch supporters and major weapons suppliers to the regime in Bahrain.
The U.S. military has a fleet there, and they are well aware of what is going on in Bahrain. This clearly demonstrates that the United States has other priorities that lay far outside the confines of protecting human rights. Bahrain is a country that many apologists of imperialism consider to have too much “economic freedom” to be criticized. Of course, this “economic freedom” only means economic freedom for foreign business owners and aristocrats in the Bahrain monarchy.
For over 24 years, Tunisia was ruled by President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, his family, and many foreign corporations that have benefited from the IMF’s neoliberal policies of “shock therapy.” Ben Ali was thus a political puppet that was very useful to the United States and other imperialist countries. The Tunisian government, in order to meet the guidelines for the IMF’s loans, cut off essential food subsidies. This “economic medicine,” coupled with the recent global economic crisis, resulted in soaring food prices across the world and the Arab region, sparking many widespread worker uprisings against the government.
The protests in Tunisia began when a young unemployed worker named Mohamed Bouazizi committed suicide by lighting himself aflame in Sidi Bouzid after the police confiscated the fruits and vegetables he was selling without a permit. He bought the gasoline with the last of his money and self-immolated in protest of chronic unemployment and police brutality. This would herald the beginning of the “Arab Spring.” Yet this movement, which was spawned by the deteriorating economic conditions of the Tunisian population, did not possess the necessary organization or political strategy to defeat the imperialist system and the neoliberal paradigm. What the bourgeois media leaves out is that these bread riots in Tunisia have been going on for decades, dating back to 1984 when the IMF first began implementing its “structural adjustment program.” It was only until recently that the economic conditions of the Tunisian people got so unbearable that major instability erupted all across the country.
A new government, which is said to be a coalition of Islamists and “secularists,” has replaced the Ben Ali regime. Regardless of widespread rhetoric touting the democratic nature of the revolution, the World Bank has still continued to approve loans, and carry out the agenda of U.S. imperialism alongside the newly-established government. There has also been widespread criticism of the new coalition’s moves towards Salafist Islamism. All of these events make it clear that Tunisia is still far from breaking free of the imperialist yolk, or achieving its national democratic aspirations.
Hosni Mubarak, the President of one of most oppressive U.S.-backed regimes, was recently taken down by millions of Egyptians via the Egyptian Revolution. For several decades, Egypt has been a friendly receiver of military aid, second only to Israel, from the United States. George W. Bush even applauded Mubarak for fostering “regional security” in Egypt, as well as supporting Israel. All of the policies of creating a social welfare system under Gamal Abdel Nasser were reversed in favor of neoliberal programs, beginning under Anwar Sadat. These were aimed at accommodating the needs of transnational corporations, as well as corrupt businessmen who established close ties to the regime. These moves by the ruling class also led to even more widespread poverty and social inequality in Egypt.
After the 2010 elections, the National Democratic Party, which was the ruling party before, held over 80% of the seats in parliament. The revolution in Egypt has inspired many movements around the world, including the Arab Spring movements throughout the Middle East, as well as the anti-austerity protests in the U.S. and Europe. These groups that organized protests go back to the early 2000s, with the Palestinian Intifada, Mahalla, and other forces showing their dissatisfaction with the deteriorating economic conditions. Yet, in the end, this revolution did not successfully complete all of its objectives. Instead, a continuation of the status quo and political backwardness is being guaranteed by forces that are still loyal to imperialism. President Mohammad Morsi, the Washington-approved replacement for Mubarak, vowed to continue efforts to establish “peace” between Israel and Palestine. He also promised not to be “another dictator,” and attempted to calm the unrest in Egypt. However, Morsi’s actions in regards to establishing a new Islamic constitution, which temporarily repudiated the lower house of parliament, gave him many powers that his predecessor Mubarak never had.
The Muslim Brotherhood also emerged as a dominant political force in parliament. One of the movement’s prominent leaders, Khairat el-Shater, maintains many reactionary stances, such as claiming that Islam requires free markets and the existence of a state that adheres to Sharia law. From Sharia law springs other far right-wing social stances, such as compelling women to wear veils and have a male guardian to travel. The bourgeois media in the U.S. hardly pays any mind to this, because their real aim is to prevent Egypt from becoming a nation that determines their own destiny, and to prevent them from recovering economically. The only way they can do this is by installing puppet regimes in place and fostering instability. Through the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi, Islamism, U.S. interests and conciliatory policies towards Zionism were protected in Egypt. On July 3, 2013, the pro-American Egyptian military launched a coup d’etat against the Brotherhood and Morsi, establishing an equally reactionary military dictatorship in Egypt. This coup was soon followed by the massacre of protestors, suspension of the constitution and the imposition of martial law. The hegemony of U.S. imperialism has been maintained in the Egypt, alongside Israel and the Gulf states.
On October 20th, 2011, Moammar Gaddafi was murdered in cold blood by the so called “Libyan rebels” against the government. For centuries, colonial powers have viewed Libya as a favorite target. After World War II, different sects of the Libyan bourgeoisie supported merging Libya with Egypt to form one Arab nation. Instead, King Idriss emerged as the next pro-Western puppet, and Libya gained their nominal independence from Italian colonialism in 1951 under the monarchy. Although valuable natural resources were yet to be discovered, the U.S and Britain still maintained a military presence in Libya for strategic geopolitical reasons, thus overseeing the transition from colonialism to neo-colonialism. Libya was still an extremely backwards country with hardly any national institutions besides the army.
In 1969, Gaddafi, along with three other officers, overthrew King Idriss and the Senoussis clique. Natural resources such as oil were then nationalized under Gaddafi’s leadership, and taken out of the hands of Western corporations. Although the social relations of capital still remained, things like infrastructure, education, health, and the position of women underwent progressive changes. Also, under the banner of Pan-Africanism, Gaddafi used as many resources as he could to fight for African unity. These changes are the primary reasons why imperialists in NATO circles referred to Gaddafi as an “evil dictator” who “had to go.”
NATO, in response, started giving social and financial support to various groups, who had their origins in Islamism, Arab nationalism and the backwards tribal divisions of Libya. These groups included Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, who were both old enemies of Gaddafi. NATO used the Libyan League for Human rights (LLHR) and the U.N. to promote the necessary war mongering propaganda to justify this “intervention” in Libya. NATO then established a no-fly-zone over Libya, and watched a country with high standards of development get torn to shreds. After Gaddafi was killed and his forces were defeated, NATO established a headquarters in Benghazi to speak on behalf of these Islamist terrorist organizations. They called this the “National Transitional Council,” who appointed a CIA commander named Khalifa Hifter to head its military operations. Libyan refugees have called these Islamists “power-hungry terrorists,” who have brutally tortured many blacks of sub-Saharan origin. In addition, these groups have rallied for Sharia law in Libya, and have warned women about what kind of marginalized position they will be expected to have in the future. Nonetheless, the bourgeois media in the U.S has continued to label these Islamist terrorist groups as “freedom fighters” who were supposedly fighting for “democracy” with the Arab Spring. Once again, this talk about “democracy” from ruling class circles is nothing but the typical hogwash.
Syria, like other countries in the Middle East, has been a country historically victimized by colonialism, and plagued by political instability. The origins of the current imperialist aggression in Syria have their basis in many historical contradictions. These have been contradictions between the national interests of the Syrian people and the external interests of foreign imperialists, who have wanted to do nothing but lay their claws on Syria. By around the 1950s, Pan-Arabism, or Arab nationalism, was a rising political force that was gaining ground in countries such as Egypt, Libya, and Syria. The Baath party was founded by a Syrian teacher named Michel Aflaq in 1947 under the slogan “unity, freedom, socialism.” Although the alleged “socialism” here is questionable, this line has been attractive to many popular Arab forces who voiced their opposition to Zionism and European colonialism in the Middle East. Most of all, the Baath party’s friendship with Iran and the “five main factions” of Palestine, is an abominable sin in the eyes of Western imperialism. Bashar Al-Assad, the current president of Syria, has been demonized as a brutal dictator who perpetually kills peaceful protesters. Yet, what we will find is that this is yet another grand exaggeration to justify armed aggression against not only Assad, but against the Syrian people themselves. What’s worse is that the various death lists, statistics, and UN figures regarding the deadly situation in Syria have often been contradictory in nature, with virtually all of the unconfirmed “reports” coming from the Syrian opposition. Overall, imperialist propaganda tends to distort the real roots of the instability in Syria.
First and foremost, the discontent among the Syrian people regarding their conditions is a real phenomenon that we must not overlook. Rising unemployment and the IMF’s so called “shock therapy,” which involves the freezing of wages, knocking down barriers to international capital, and privatization, are a cause of concern for the working people of Syria. The bourgeois media has been trying to present the issue of Syria as a problem concerning leadership. What they fail to mention is that the protest movement in Syria ended up becoming a staged operation, modeled off the “protest movement” in Libya. It is strange that many of these so called “protesters” were reported to have been carrying loaded weapons. In addition, various reports have acknowledged the killing of police officers in these so-called “peaceful protests.” These protests also did not start in Damascus, but in the city of Daraa. Moaz al-Khatib, the president of the Syrian National Coalition, is the oil rep handpicked by the Wall Street-London international order to lead the Syrian opposition. It is stated in another article by the Land Destroyer Report, “Indeed, al-Khatib had worked at the al-Furat Petroleum Company for six years, according to the BBC, which is partnered with Shell Oil.”
Yet, this is not all. In Syria, just like in Libya, influxes of foreign “freedom fighters” that have been operating under the wing of the Syrian opposition are being exposed as Islamist terrorists with links to Al-Qaeda. There are several of these groups. One of them is the Nusra Front, which is the most prominent. Another is Ahrar al-Sham, which contains more people from Syrian origin. Although this is different in appearance, in essence they share the same Islamist goals as the Nusra Front, and they will not hesitate to use suicide bombings to foster instability. Even in a New York Times article it states, “Across Syria, rebel-held areas are dotted with Islamic courts staffed by lawyers and clerics, and by fighting brigades led by extremists. Even the Supreme Military Council, the umbrella rebel organization whose formation the West had hoped would sideline radical groups, is stocked with commanders who want to infuse Islamic law into future Syrian government.” The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which is a proxy of NATO imperialism, has been training the Syrian militants to fight the Syrian government. Turkey has also been chipping in to provide weapons to these militants. The U.S. has also coordinated with Britain and Saudi Arabia in regard to shipping over 3,000 tons of weapons to these Syrian “rebels.” As the Telegraph article states, “The shipments were allegedly paid for by Saudi Arabia at the bidding of the United States, with assistance on supplying the weapons organised through Turkey and Jordan, Syria’s neighbours.” Finally, Israel has shown itself willing to militarily intervene against the Syrian government, and to support the Americans arming them, and likewise the rebel forces have been willing to “make peace” with Zionism. Revolutionary Palestinian organizations have condemned these imperialist moves on Syria.
The U.S. is willing to admit that there is a “threat of terrorism” in Syria, and that “care should be taken” when supporting these rebels. Yet, all of the media’s pompous references to Al-Qaeda only serve to promote confusion among the general public, mainly to continue the obsessive discussion about Assad. Why has the U.S. been planning regime change in Syria for over 20 years if Assad is the source of all evil? There is clearly another reason why the U.S. is so hungry for Syria. As noted in another article by the Land Destroyer Report, “The Syrian port city of Tartus is being renovated and is set to host heavy Russian warships in a bid to establish a significant presence in the Mediterranean. This would counteract NATO’s expansion along Russia’s borders as well as keep in check Western fleets north of the Suez.” Also, just like the “atrocities” Gaddafi supposedly committed, these UN reports have no solid basis. In fact, there has been no actual “investigation” conducted by the U.N. to confirm this. They have only cited the typical twaddle parroted by those with connections to NGOs, the CIA, the U.S.-Qatari Business Council, and other lackeys of imperialism. Despite the unreliability of U.N. human rights reports, the general public has bought into them, perhaps because some are taken in by the U.N’s so called “respectability.”
The Obama administration has drawn a “red-line” on Syria, and warned that an attack using chemical weapons would be met with deadly force. It is clear, however, that chemical attacks serve the interests of the Syrian “rebels,” because the Syrian government has already won a considerable amount of battles, and there is simply no logical reason for them to use chemical weapons. Yet, the U.S. and the E.U. have recently begun accusing the Syrian government of using chemical weapons again despite evidence that the rebel forces are the ones using chemical weapons. Syrian rebels have made videos threatening genocide against Alawites with chemical weapons provided by Turkey. Sources have also claimed that the U.S. and its European allies used defense contractors to train the rebels to secure chemical weapons. This should tell us many things – one being that the U.S. and E.U. simply don’t care about facts. Another is that they are growing desperate, because they are unable to sell their lies to the Syrian people.
Many pro-government protests, with over 10,000 people, have showed their support for Assad. This demonstrates that the Syrian people are not willing to let a bunch of oil titans and Islamist terrorists pose as their democratic saviors. Drawing a “red-line” on Syria is an utter violation of the Syrian people’s sovereignty. It is vital that we recognize Syria’s national right to determine its own affairs, because no crime committed by international capital is ever going to “save” the Syrian people from any atrocity.
Islamic Groups the U.S. Opposes
Just like the U.S. has those Islamic organizations that are allies, there are also those that they do not like. Thus, one form of terrorism is considered “bad,” whereas other forms of terrorism aren’t considered so bad. It is a real problem when, on one hand, this is hypocrisy is allowed to go on, while on the other hand Islamophobia continues to be given a voice. Here, we will explain what real actions lie behind these justifications and sentiments for opposing certain groups of Islamists.
When one hears the words “domestic terrorist” uttered, one may simply think it means anyone who commits a crime with intent to spread terror among the population, be it they are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or any other religion. However, this is not the case in actual practice. The U.S. ruling class’s method of “policing” for terrorism has consisted of hunting down Muslims disproportionately to other groups of people. One needs to only look at the large-scale ethnic and religious profiling of Muslims by the New York City Police Department. Documents recently released have shown that the NYPD has been working with the CIA in profiling Muslims.
As mentioned in the linked article above, “Independent sources, including Islamophobia Watch have reported that the monitoring of mosques in the daily affairs of Muslims in the United States has intensified since the 9/11 attacks; the CIA has been carrying out underground intelligence operations to scrutinize the daily life of Muslims within the country.” Indeed, many innocent Muslim Americans have been held in jail without trial. The media, in the U.S. as well as other Western countries, continue to point to the religion of Islam as a motive for terrorism. Yet, we have seen over and over again that this is simply a way to drum up support for foreign imperialist aggression overseas, which of course, means funding Islamist terrorism itself! Clearly something is incorrect about this picture.
Afghanistan has a long history of fighting wars with imperialist and colonial powers. The rise of the reactionary Taliban and Islamism in Afghanistan has origins that date back to when the Carter Administration, with the help of the CIA, decided to aid broad groups of Islamists called the mujahedeen in the summer of 1979. The mujahedeen was a collection of Islamist factions, many members being tribal-feudal lords that had economic ties to merchants in the cities. One of the most prominent and most reactionary factions was the Hizb-I-Islami Gulbuddin, led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. After the Soviets invaded Afghanistan and installed the Parcham faction of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan as their puppet government, the mujahedeen waged a war against the Soviets for over 10 years. Hizb-I-Islami Gulbuddin, which vowed to overthrow the Soviets and establish a “pure Islamic state,” received an incredible amount of CIA and ISI support. In 1979, a 22-year-old young man named Osama Bin Laden was recruited by the CIA in a training camp. The group Maktab al-Khidamar was the group formed and run by the multi-millionaire Osama Bin Laden, which also received covert support from the CIA and Pakistani intelligence service (ISI).
After the Soviets left, a civil war between the mujahedeen factions broke out. As war ravaged Afghanistan, the Taliban was born out of all the chaos in 1994. In 1996, the Taliban established a government that operated on some of the most reactionary and theocratic principles. Sharia law was declared, and women were expected to take up their traditional roles in an Islamic society dominated by men. Girls were violently punished if they were caught attending school. For a long time, anti-Western sentiment had been building up amongst the mujahedeen forces in Afghanistan, mainly after the United States withdrew their support from the war after the Soviets left. As a result, all of the U.S-sponsored funding for the teaching of militant Islam in schools for Afghan children, as well as the support to the Taliban by the Pakistani ISI would soon backfire on the U.S. The U.S. has many economic interests in the Central Asian region, so this soon created a pretext for the 2001 imperialist intervention. The excuses provided for this were that the Taliban was “harboring Al-Qaeda” and “violating human rights” in Afghanistan.
However, these excuses are laughable, and do not correspond to the reality of the situation. We must remember that Al-Qaeda got started in the first place because of U.S. funding and support during the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The Taliban also sprung from this same movement of Islamists later on. After the Taliban’s government was overthrown by U.S. forces, the abuse and discrimination of women still continued under the U.S’s corrupt puppet regime of President Hamid Karzai. There are many natural resources located within the Afghan region that many corporations in the U.S have been drooling over. Those resources include deposits of iron, copper, cobalt, gold, and lithium. Afghanistan is expected to hold one of the largest deposits of lithium in the world. The ruling class is concerned that these resources could get in the hands of the Taliban or China. It has been estimated that over 15,500-17,400 civilians have died as a result of this imperialist occupation in Afghanistan since 2001. The casualties this occupation has inflicted are more than any Islamist organization could every dream of inflicting on a country.
The United States has a very important ally in the Pakistani government even while it launches savage drone attacks against its people, and so its inclusion in either category of being opposed or supported by U.S. imperialism is problematic, as Pakistan does not fit neatly into either category. But while Pakistan is the United States’ most valuable strategic ally in the region, U.S. drone attacks have been occurring in Pakistan for several years, killing primarily innocent civilians under the guise of fighting “terrorism.” Under the Obama administration, these drone attacks have been stepped up. Members of the Pakistani government (including the ISI and U.N.) have repeatedly stated that the drone attacks are a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. It is also stated in an article by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that the drone attacks are targeting funerals as well as people trying to rescue victims. The ruling class in the U.S. has no shortage of justifications for this. Many in Washington have cited these drone attacks as “good-will kills,” while pointing to the fact that occasionally, some Taliban tribal leaders happen to die in the drone attacks. More specifically, they have been pointing the finger at Haqqani militants based around North Waziristan for attacks on NATO bases in Afghanistan.
Yet, the very notion that the U.S. is “fighting against terrorism” in Pakistan is laughable. First and foremost, it has been the objective of the NATO not to fight against terrorism, but to ensure domination of Pakistan through fomenting instability. One piece written by Michel Chossudovsky in Global Research states, “The US course consists in fomenting social, ethnic and factional divisions and political fragmentation, including the territorial breakup of Pakistan. This course of action is also dictated by US war plans in relation to both Afghanistan and Iran.” It is also cited in this same piece that the CIA is predicting Pakistan to become a so called “failed state” by 2015. What’s also important to note is that Pakistan holds up to approximately 25.1 trillion cubic feet in gas reserves. Fighting “terrorism” indeed! These mouth-watering materials entice the NATO-Wall Street alliance to gain further control over Pakistan using many methods. One of those is for the U.S. to provide jets to the Pakistani government in order to bomb Baloch villages, while Britain allegedly provides covert support to Balochistan separatists to help form a “Greater Balochistan” at the expense of the Pakistani people.
One might then ask who these “terrorists“ are that are being killed in the drone attacks. As we have seen with Soviet war in Afghanistan, the CIA has often used the Pakistani ISI intelligence service, as well as Saudi Arabia, to funnel money to various Islamist groups. As noted in another one of Michel Chossudovsky’s articles, “The ‘Global War on Terrorism’ is a complex and intricate intelligence construct. The covert support provided to the ‘Islamic extremist groups’ is part of an imperial agenda. It purports to weaken and eventually destroy secular and civilian governmental institutions, while also contributing to vilifying Islam. It is an instrument of colonization which seeks to undermine sovereign nation-states and transform countries into territories.” The ISI-supported Islamist groups include Jamaat a-Islami, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Jehad a-Kashmiri, Hizbul-Mujahidin and Jaish-e-Mohammed. The use of the predator drones in Pakistan only allows these Islamist groups, including the Taliban, to win what they call the “hearts and minds” game. This allows various Islamist groups to draw their reserves from discontented members of the population, thereby turning Pakistan into a deadly battleground. Such a growing catastrophe can only strengthen neo-colonial rule in Pakistan and threaten the Pakistani people.
There has been widespread violence in both the Southern and Northern regions of Sudan for years. According to the U.N., millions of people were displaced in 2012. However, the causes of this conflict are being distorted and muddled by imperialist propaganda. The Sudanese government is certainly not innocent in regards to their role in this conflict. Yet, the leadership of President Omar Al-Bashir in Northern Sudan has been charged with instigating “genocide” in Sudan. This is an unprincipled attack on Sudan, which only serves to justify the imperialist agenda of the United States. Sudan is a former British colony, with a large quantity of oil, uranium, and Arabic gum. Overall, there are two main problems of concern in Sudan. One, the U.S., E.U., and Israel are joining hands in an attempt to overthrow the Sudanese government by providing financial support to “rebel” groups, while attempting to further divide Sudan to gain more control over the resources they have. Two, in light of the Sahel drought, there has been widespread regional separatism and ethno-nationalism, which is a reflection of a struggle over resources. The Sudanese and South Sudanese governments have both been funding militias, while continuing to neglect these regional populations.
It should not be a surprise that the ruling classes are once again funding a whole host of reactionary “rebel” groups, with the aim of gaining control over Sudan. This must be understood in a certain historical context. Sudan used to be part of Egypt, until it was sectioned off under Britain’s Anglo-Egyptian Condominium. Sudan then became nominally independent with British troops being stationed on their land, thus initiating the “Balkanization” process in Sudan in 1956.
Recently, the South Sudan Referendum was held. This referendum, which was an allegedly “democratic” process, was held to divide Sudan into North and South in 2011. The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir for “crimes against humanity” in Darfur. When the ICC mentions “crimes against humanity,” they are referring to the force the Sudanese government has used when responding to these various “rebel” groups. These groups include the South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA), Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and many others. The SSLA has been receiving funding from outside sources since the 1980s, including weapons and even intervention from the United States. Some of these militant groups have even opened offices in Israel, in an attempt to foster “friendly relations” between South Sudan and Israel. As noted in the article, “‘After consultation with the leadership of Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in Juba, the supporters of SPLM in Israel have decided to establish the office of SPLM in Israel’ Said a statement received by email from Tel Aviv signed by the SLMP secretariat in Israel.”
This is all happening after the United States, initially, was attempting to foster peace between Al-Bashir and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). Now that the influence of China is growing larger, and Khartoum is beginning to share its oil resources with China, the forces of international capital are fanning the flames of the ongoing conflict to divide the Sudanese people, all while continuing to lay the blame at the feet of Khartoum for supposedly supporting “Islamist militants.” If they aren’t blaming Khartoum for the conflict, they attempt to portray the civil war in Sudan as a fight between the different sects of Christianity and Islam.
There are differences between these different groups. However, it is reductionist to portray the conflict as merely a struggle between “Arab Muslims” and “Christian / Animist Black Africans” without addressing economy. The Sahel drought has been contributing to Sudan’s lack of resources, and thus intensifying the struggle for these resources between different groups of people. In addition, many transnational corporations have been snatching up land in Sudan. As an article from the Harvard International Review states, “Additionally, according to research by The Guardian in the summer of 2011, many European and North American corporations have been engaging in massive land grabs in Africa for the purpose of growing biofuels. Foreign investors have no obligation to try to ensure that the benefits of biofuel production are passed on to local African communities, so it is very possible that increased biofuel production in Africa could decrease the land available for food production while providing profits for non-African corporations.”
There we have it. The corporations in Sudan are in it to make a profit. Northern Sudan is hypocritically depicted as a terrorist state, while the imperialists aim to secure markets in Sudan using their own terrorist methods. This is a problem concerning class interests, not just religion or ethnicity.
You often hear about the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” or the “Arab-Israeli conflict” in the media. The Palestinians are all portrayed as a collection of angry Muslims trying to persecute little peaceful and democratic Israel. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is in fact Israel that persecutes Palestine, ignoring the fact that they are a legitimate nation containing Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike. Israel, since 1948, has been building illegal settlements all across land belonging to Palestinians, while subjecting them to the brutality and horrendous treatment of apartheid. Yet, when people criticize Israel for violating even rights of a bourgeois democratic nature, they are all labeled “anti-Semites” who supposedly seek to undermine the Jewish people and their way of life. This name-calling highlights Israel’s refusal to admit their racist, Islamophobic and genocidal actions. A variety of slanderous names have been given to the Palestinian people, including but not limited to them being a “fake people” and a group of “terrorists.” All of this happens while Israel routinely engages in their own acts of terrorism, both inside and outside their borders. The state of Israel, which is nothing more than a settler state in the Middle East, is of vital importance to the strategic interests of U.S. imperialism, and thus deserves special attention.
Prior to Israel asserting itself in the region, most of the land in Israel used to belong to Palestine. The Jewish people were only a small minority. Yet, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians became refugees as a result of Israel’s consolidation of power, and have become trapped in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The entry of vital goods into the Gaza strip such as food, water, clothing, etc. are strictly controlled by Israel. It was none other than the 1993 Oslo Peace Agreement that allowed for this savage denial of essential needs. According to a Middle East Monitor article, Israel has guaranteed itself the “right” to use over 82 percent of Palestine’s water. The Zionist apartheid regime also has several documented human rights violations. It is stated by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) that Israeli Arabs live in third world economic conditions. The bourgeois principle of “equality before the law” only applies to Jews. As noted in a Global Research article linked above, “If Jews commit a crime, they’re fully protected under Israeli law and are entitled to a civil trial. Palestinians have no rights and face harsh military justice in military courts. Israelis have special roads, protections, privileges and advantages. Palestinians face gross discrimination in every facet of their lives with no legal protections under Israeli law.” The Israel military court system carries out all of its proceedings in Hebrew, treats Palestinian children as adults, and places them in incarceration with disgraceful conditions. Israel has also violated the most U.N. resolutions. As the Haaretz clearly outlines, “Israel leads the list. Since 1968, Israel has violated 32 resolutions that included condemnation or criticism of the governments’ policies and actions.”
It is also widely known that Israel is responsible for many more killings than any “terrorist” group that exists in their borders. The deaths from the 2009 bombings in Gaza alone tally up to approximately 1,400 people. There are simply too many atrocities Israel commits against the Palestinian people to document.
Unfortunately, Israel’s astonishing hypocrisy does not stop at torture, illegal settlements and discrimination. While Israel demonizes countries like Iran and Syria for harboring “terrorism,” Israel has continually propped up various Islamist groups for the purpose of discrediting their more legitimate enemies. Even the Israeli official Avner Cohen, who is apologetic to Israel, admitted with regret that Israel had made an “enormous, stupid mistake” when it decided to form the Islamist militant group Hamas 30 years ago. As cited surprisingly in a Wall Street Journal article, “Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah.” Israeli officials have also been caught saying that they would prefer an al-Qaeda controlled Syria over a victory by Assad’s forces. Here, we see that Israel’s real enemies are secular organizations, not Islamist groups. Israel is primarily concerned with the interest of containing Iran at any cost, while continuing to conduct their hostile practice against the Palestinian people. The United States is the largest benefactor of Israel, which is completely dependent on U.S. military aid. Currently, the U.S. sends $3 billion a year in military aid to Israel, with the Obama Administration looking to increase aid to Israel to $4 billion a year beginning in 2017.
Aside from the DPRK and Cuba, the Islamic Republic of Iran has perhaps received the most hostile treatment from the U.S. and Israel out of any other countries in modern times. The ferocious propaganda against Iran tends to portray them as something similar to a three-headed monster. Since they have been pursuing their own nuclear program, the imperialists of both the U.S and the E.U. have done nothing but display their hatred towards Iran. To punish Iran for pursuing their own road, the U.S and the E.U have sanctioned many sectors of Iran’s economy, which now includes the Iranian currency itself. The entire economic burden resulting from this has fallen on the Iranian people. The U.S. has passed legislation condemning Iran as a terrorist nation, as well as engineered assassinations and cyber warfare against Iran.
If this wasn’t enough, Iran has been accused of threatening to “wipe Israel off the map.” This has been shown to be a fabrication. It was confirmed long ago that the “wipe off the map” phrase, which was attributed to Ahmadinejad, was a mistranslation. In fact, the words “wipe out,” “Israel,” and “map” were never used in the original speech. The actual quote belongs to the late Ayatollah Khomeini, not Ahmadinejad; he was merely paraphrasing in the speech. The full quote reads like this: “Imam (Khomeini) ghoft (said) een (this) rezhim-e (regime) ishghalgar-e (occupying) qods (Jerusalem) bayad (must) az safheh-ye ruzgar (from page of time) mahv shavad (vanish from).” Nevertheless, this popular farce has penetrated all sections of the media, and has been taken as the truth without any question. This fabrication by the media was transformed into a wonderful gift to the imperialists and warmongers of the world. They finally had an excuse to threaten Iran to further their own economic goals.
Ever since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Iran’s aim has been to pursue their own road without the interference of the West. As most know, uranium enrichment has continued to be part of Iran’s economy, just like how it is for virtually all other nations. A nuclear weapons program has in fact been prohibited by various “fatwas” issued by Ayatollah Ali Khameini, and evidence shows that Iran hasn’t had a nuclear weapons program since 2003. Even Yousaf Butt, a nuclear physicist from the Federation of American Sciences, said that Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities, which are mostly provided by Russia, are used primarily to generate electricity, not to make bombs. As has been repeatedly noted: “The facts have been proven time and time again, Iran seeks economic development, technological advancement, and energy independence – it wants domestic nuclear power and the freedom to enrich uranium to 20 percent for the medical development of radio-pharmaceuticals and industrial isotopes, as it is entitled to as an NPT signatory.”
What makes the Western imperialist hatred towards Iran even more ridiculous is that when the Shah of Iran, Reza Pavlavi, was in power, the United States was working with Iran on a secret nuclear program. As noted in Iran Affairs, “At a time when Iran’s nuclear program is portrayed as an imminent threat, it is interesting to see that the program actually started long ago, with the support and participation of the same countries that today insist Iran abandon its nuclear program.” Ever since the Iranian Revolution, this nuclear program is no longer covert or clandestine in nature. They have been cooperating with the Non-Proliferation Treaty and have allowed for inspections. Despite this, the U.S., E.U., and Israel have continued to demonize Iran because they are no longer under their dirty claws.
The strategy is to discredit the Iranian government, and if all hopes go well with the U.S ruling class’s interests, regime change will result. Israel continues to threaten Iran with war. Israel does not like the fact that there is a nation willing to stand up against Zionism. There is a real risk of war with Iran on the part of Israel acting as a proxy for the United States, or possibly even an attack on Iran by the United States itself.
The U.S. has fought two major wars in Iraq. The first was the Gulf war in 1991. Then, following the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. invaded Iraq again in 2003. After the final military invasion carried out by the United States, Saddam Hussein was murdered in cold blood. Although Saddam Hussein is now gone, the U.S. is worsening the contradictions in Iraq. After all the crippling sanctions, and after all the savage killings that went on, sectarian terrorism is even more rampant in Iraq than it was under Saddam. Unfortunately, all of this is going unnoticed in the face of events occurring in Syria. Many have woken up to the fact that Iraq was mainly “about oil,” rather than about saving the Iraqi people from Saddam. The question they do not ask, however, is “why?” In order to truly understand Iraq’s conditions today, it is vital that we reveal some historical context.
The Baath Party in Iraq came to power in a coup entitled the “17 July Revolution” in 1968. This coup was led by Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, who would later turn power over to Saddam Hussein in 1979. Roger Morris, a former state department official, claims that the CIA played a vital role in organizing this coup. The Baath party made a great use of the CIA’s lists of alleged “communists,” killing an estimated 5,000 people. Throughout the 1980s, the United States supported Saddam’s reactionary war against Iran, and supplied Iraq with many chemical weapons, as well as “intelligence” to help them gain the upper-hand against Iran. As stated from the Socialist Worker, “According to the Associated Press, Saddam used chemical weapons to kill an estimated 190,000 Kurds between 1983 and 1988–along with 50,000 Iranian soldiers, about one in 10 casualties on the Iranian side during the war.” These weapons were also used to kill Shiite Muslims.
The reason for supporting this war, as stated by National Security Adviser Rober McFarlane, was that “Iran made a strategic gain on the Faw Peninsula.” Over 24 U.S. corporations have been exposed as supplying chemical and biological weapons to Iraq throughout this period, including Hewlett-Packard, Honeywell, Sperry, Rockwell, Dupont, and more.
Throughout the 1990s, Iraq continued to be a place of turmoil and disaster. Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait has been cited as a justification for the Gulf War, regardless of the fact that the “green light” for the Kuwaiti invasion was given by the U.S. Ambassador to Baghdad, April Glaspie. The invasion of Kuwait instigated by Iraq ended up slowing the “flow of oil” in the Persian Gulf, which is the most likely reason why the U.S. decided to take action. This savage invasion of the Gulf, however, was not the only war Washington pursued against the Iraqi people. A series of strict economic sanctions were placed on Iraq afterwards, which killed 3.3 million Iraqis, including 750,000 children. These sanctions, which amounted to genocide, continued through the Clinton presidency and into the 21st century.
The United States was not done with Iraq. In 2003, the U.S. pursued yet another act of imperialist aggression against the Iraqi people. Much like the Gulf War, the “War in Iraq” was based on lies and fabrications. It was claimed this time that Saddam had “weapons of mass destruction.” This proved to be nonsense. The large quantities of chemical and biological weapons Saddam had from the Gulf War had in fact deteriorated over a time span of 12 years, and could no longer be used. Even when the U.N. inspectors went into Iraq to investigate, the U.S. and Britain continued to spew out childish excuses about how the Iraqi government was “obstructing” the U.N. The truth remains otherwise. As the article says, “Dr Blix said in February that the UN had conducted more than 400 inspections, all without notice, covering more than 300 sites. ‘We note that access to sites has so far been without problems,’ he said. : ‘In no case have we seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew that the inspectors were coming.’”
After several years of killing many civilians, the U.S. “caught” Saddam and murdered him in cold blood in 2006. Since then, several reported atrocities have continued to occur in “liberated” Iraq, under the so-called leadership of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Widespread torture, rape, and sectarian violence are what characterize Iraq 10 years later. In an Al Jazeera article, it is quoted from an Amnesty International report that “Detainees have alleged that they were tortured to force them to ‘confess’ to serious crimes or to incriminate others while held in these conditions. Many have repudiated their confessions at trial only to see the courts admit them as evidence of their guilt, without investigating their torture allegations, sentencing them to long term imprisonment or death.” This makes it clear that the Maliki regime is willing to use the same tactics as the Saddam regime used in under the guise of “fighting terrorism.”
Regardless of the fact that the Obama administration pledged a “full withdrawal from Iraq,” several U.S. personnel remain stationed in Iraq to “train” and “advise” the Iraqi security forces, whose staff are composed of Shia militias. The United States spent years training militias, inflaming sectarian warfare and setting up torture sites all across Iraq.
Conclusion: “War on Terror” – Policy Blunder or Rational Interest?
Here, we have seen that the American imperialist bourgeoisie justify their aggression against the countries of the world by alleging humanitarian concern for them. Yet each time they support belligerents in existing wars or wage war themselves, a much worse situation results. America’s “War on Terror” has had an extremely destructive impact in conflicts all over the world, opposing some “terrorists” while supporting others. One might ask, if the strategy of the U.S. isn’t to counter terrorist groups, then what is it? The answer is clear by the contrasting examples above: the strategy of the United States is determined by the interests of its capitalist class, which seeks to prevent the rise of nations independent from the American sphere of influence and destroy movements that might be a threat to the U.S. empire.
The “War on Terror” is thus a transparent facade to cover the brutal and unrestrained tactics of the United States to assert its domination over the entire world. It is because of this that the American ruling class is eager to both directly and indirectly aid those particular terrorist groups in the Middle East acting as willing agents of the United States, E.U., Israel and the pro-U.S. monarchies situated along the Gulf, as well as spread instability at the expense of regimes and movements of a nationalist, progressive or independent character. Pro-American governments or groups who commit acts designated as being terrorist in nature are immune to criticism and their crimes are glossed over, no matter how grievous they may be, while legitimate liberation movements and sovereign states are dismissed as “terrorist” or accused of being “sources of terrorism” if they go against U.S. strategic or economic interests.
Imperialism is parasitic, dying and decaying capitalism, developed capitalism that has reached the stage in development where monopolies and a financial oligarchy rule at home, and that seeks the territorial division of the world abroad. Imperialist powers carry on a struggle for territory, profitable markets, raw materials and natural resources, cheap labor, and for new places for capital investment. Corresponding to this pursuit of profits, foreign policy in the age of imperialism is the struggle for the political and economic division of the world. The United States is an imperialist country, and currently the most powerful one. Thus, the seeming hypocrisy of the United States’ aggressive foreign policy is not as easy as understanding it as a “blunder” or a series of “mistakes,” but rather as a manifestation of the political, military and economic interests of the United States as the dominant imperialist power.
The American Party of Labor upholds the following points:
- We, the peoples of the United States, have an internationalist duty to carry on the struggle against imperialism and against the continuing global warfare being waged by the United States.
- All imperialist wars waged against the peoples, particularly in oppressed and neo-colonial countries, must be opposed.
- Revolutionary communist movements and national movements that fight against imperialist war and for the liberation of oppressed peoples must be supported.
- The current world situation reflects the continuation of decaying global capitalism and imperialism, and must be used by the working people to advance the cause of socialist revolution.
“The present epoch, the basic content of which is the transition from capitalism to socialism, is the epoch of struggle between two opposite social systems, the epoch of socialist and national liberation revolutions, the epoch of the downfall of imperialism and the liquidation of the colonial system, and the epoch in which new peoples shift to the path of socialism and socialism and communism triumph on a world scale” – Program of the CPSU, 1971, p. 5.
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