Jun 6, 2016
In 1979, the United States started sending massive amounts of weapons, money, and training to support Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan fighting the Soviet Union. Ever since then, U. S. imperialism has plunged a wider and wider swath of the Middle East into war as the United States and its imperialist allies try to impose their control over this whole oil-rich region.
These current wars are a continuation of the struggles the imperialist powers launched 100 years ago to divide up the riches of the Middle East among their respective giant corporations. At that time, Britain, France, Germany, and the United States fought each other for the spoils, especially oil. Today, the giant corporations like ExxonMobil or BP are truly multinational, so the various imperialist powers cooperate – at least for the moment. But then and now, the people of the region have paid an enormous, bitter price. People who share common languages, traditions, and history were divided from each other. Wars were fomented, dictatorships set up with the backing of imperialist armies. And always, always, the big imperialist countries sent their own military machines into the region to impose their wishes.
In Afghanistan, war has continued on and off for almost 40 years with no end in sight today. Iraq has been in almost constant war since 1980. Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya have all been laid waste. Between the bombs dropped directly by the U.S. or its allies, and the fighting of various proxy forces propped up by the imperialist powers, these wars have killed millions of people. Millions more have been driven from their homes. Sewers, water systems, electric power networks, hospitals, schools, and almost anyplace someone could work have been destroyed in all of these countries. And the desperation this has created has fueled the most reactionary forces, like ISIS or the Taliban, which offer nothing but the most backwards and misogynist answers to people who see no hope in their present situation.
Imperialism remains a fundamental part of capitalism, and these wars in the Middle East show that it is just as brutal today as it was 100 years ago. We can be sure that imperialism will continue to cause war after war, until we put this deadly capitalist system in the trash heap where, 100 years ago, Lenin had already said it belongs.