Feb 2, 2015
Twenty-one countries involved in the U.S.-led imperialist coalition against the Islamic State met on January 22nd and said that the war would be “long and difficult.” The British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond said that it would take at least two or three years to push the Islamic State out of Iraq. The U.S. leaders said there was a lot to do to weaken it. This is quite a change from Obama’s declaration on September 10th that said, “We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL.”
Besides the U.S. bombing, soldiers are present on the ground in Iraq. Officially, 3,000 U.S. soldiers are there. But there are also 35,000 mercenaries in Iraq, hired by private contractors to the U.S. government; the 17,000 employees at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad; and a large number of advisors and trainers working with the Iraqi army. Even after the official departure of U.S. troops in 2011, the U.S. never stopped being militarily involved in the area.
But, six months after the start of bombing, the Islamic State hasn’t been destroyed. The media were pleased on January 27th when Kurdish fighters took Kobani, on the border between Syria and Turkey. But half of Syria and a third of Iraq remains under the control of the Islamic State, directly or through militias allied with it.
The Islamic State imposes a ferocious dictatorship in the region it controls. A U.S. expert observed, “In Mosul, the population doesn’t have the right to leave the city. If despite this someone wants to leave, members of their family are taken hostage, and if the people leaving don’t return in a few days or a week, the Islamic State threatens to kill the hostages.” Not far from Kirkuk, fundamentalists hold prisoner dozens of families displaced due to violence.
Today, the population finds itself trapped between fundamentalist militias and the imperialist armies’ bombing, which are certainly not surgical strikes. And each bombing brings new recruits to the militias, who appear as enemies of the imperialist countries.
This war gives rise to a still greater barbarism that the civilian population is suffering. No to imperialist war in the Middle East!