Mar 1, 2021
Just after midnight local time Friday morning, U.S. bombers hit seven targets with guided missiles, killing 22 people and injuring dozens more, with some likely to die. The targets were said to be part of a way station just across from the border with Iraq. This way station was used by Iran-backed rebel militias in Syria.
The U.S. attack came a week after a rocket attack on a U.S. air base in northern Iraq that killed a private military contractor and injured a U.S. soldier, among others.
Biden administration officials described this as a justified and proportionate response, to defend U.S. personnel and protect American citizens.
Both of the militia groups targeted in this attack have denied responsibility for the attack in Iraq, and had even condemned it. So the U.S. attack in truth had nothing to do with that attack.
In fact, numerous military and diplomatic observers have noted that the U.S. attack was more about sending a message—a message to allies and adversaries alike that, even though there’s a new sheriff in town, that sheriff plays by the same basic rules.
Biden is moving to reopen talks with Iran to reestablish the nuclear arms control agreement that had been in place before Trump scrapped it. At the same time, he wants Iran—and other players in the region—to understand that the U.S. is still willing to use whatever force it deems necessary to protect its interests in the region.
It probably also helps reassure Saudi Arabia, right at the moment when intelligence reports were declassified, showing that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had a direct hand in authorizing the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Saudi Arabia is competing with Iran for influence and control in the region; with this attack, the Biden administration has signaled to the Saudi rulers that the U.S. still supports them.
So, this attack on foreign soil, condemned by the president of the country it took place in, killing over 20 people, was simply meant to send a message. Those human lives mean that little to the Biden administration.
But one thing this attack absolutely was NOT—was an act of self-defense!
Eighteen years after the U.S. military invaded Iraq using trumped-up excuses, followed by its methodical destruction and fomenting of ethnic and religious division, Iraq and Syria are completely ravaged. Armed groups fight to control pockets of these countries, backed by other regional powers like Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia. U.S. intervention keeps those conflicts going, making sure that its interests are represented.
And the fourth U.S. president to preside over this disaster has just signaled to the world that nothing will change.
Self-defense? In another country, half-way around the world, where the U.S. has not been asked to be? Only in a world where U.S. military presence around the world is a given, just simply accepted, would this at all fly as an act of “self-defense”!
The U.S. is the only country in the world to have such a world-wide military presence. This was not an act of defense of the country’s population. It was an act to defend the interests of the U.S. capitalist ruling class, of its oil and commercial interests. Just as the U.S. world-wide military presence does not help or protect the American working class; it protects the interests of U.S. capital around the world.
Those interests are the same interests that attack working people here in this country every single day.
U.S. imperialism is the main culprit for this widespread disaster in the Middle East. It creates disasters like this all around the world. It does not represent working people of this country, not one bit, not at all.