By Yossi Schwartz, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 31.12.2019, www.thecommunists.net
According to the American military command in Baghdad a rocket attack on Friday on an Iraqi military near Kirkuk base killed an American civilian contractor and wounded a few American soldiers and Iraqi personnel.
It was not clear who was behind the attack. The 5,000 American soldiers in Iraq are the remnants of the occupation and the destruction of the Iraqi infrastructure. The occupation of Iraq by the American imperialists has cost the life of more than 200,000 civilians.
“No one knows with certainty how many people have been killed and wounded in Iraq since the 2003 United States invasion. However, we know that over 182,000 civilians have died from direct war related violence caused by the US, its allies, the Iraqi military and police, and opposition forces from the time of the invasion through November 2018. The violent deaths of Iraqi civilians have occurred through aerial bombing, shelling, gunshots, suicide attacks, and fires started by bombing.Because not all war-related deaths have been recorded accurately by the Iraqi government and the US-led coalition, the 182,000 figure for civilians killed from 2003 to 2018 is lower than the actual figure”. (1)
The American official line is that Washington was motivated by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program. In reality the weapons of mass destruction provided by the USA were used in the 1980s Iraqi-Iranian war that cost the lives of a million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers.
Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who came to power by a military coup backed by the CIA. An article of the New York Times from 2003 states:
”On the brink of war, both supporters and critics of United States policy on Iraq agree on the origins, at least, of the haunted relations that have brought us to this pass: America’s dealings with Saddam Hussein, justifiable or not, began some two decades ago with its shadowy, expedient support of his regime in the Iraq-Iran war of the 1980’s. Both sides are mistaken. Washington's policy traces an even longer, more shrouded and fateful history. Forty years ago, the Central Intelligence Agency, under President John F. Kennedy, conducted its own regime change in Baghdad, carried out in collaboration with Saddam Hussein.” (2)
The real reasons behind the U.S. war on the Iraqi people were oil and gunboat diplomacy – to show that the USA is the master of the Middle East and other parts of the world. Ahsan I Butt, a journalist of Al Jazeera, wrote on this subject: “A quick and decisive victory in the heart of the Arab world would send a message to all countries, especially to recalcitrant regimes such as Syria, Libya, Iran, or North Korea, that American hegemony was here to stay. Put simply, the Iraq war was motivated by a desire to (re)establish American standing as the world's leading power. Indeed, even before 9/11, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld saw Iraq through the prism of status and reputation, variously arguing in February and July 2001 that ousting Saddam would "enhance US credibility and influence throughout the region" and "demonstrate what US policy is all about." (3)
Thus whoever attacked the Iraqi military base used by the American army had very good reasons to kill the American contractor who came to Iraq to enrich himself from the suffering of the Iraqi people.
The U.S. reaction was the bombing five sites of the Iraqi militia Kataeb Hezbollah which is pro-Iranian. The U.S. claims that this militia is behind the attack on the military base. However it is more likely that ISIS that has bases in the region of Kirkuk was behind the attack. It is also possible that it was an Israeli operation.
Would Israel attack an American base to push the USA to attack a pro -Iranian militia? While we do not have any knowledge of such Israeli involvement, Israel has a history of attacking American units and we will deal with two such cases.
A) The Lavon Affair. The Lavon Affair refers to the scandal over a failed Israeli covert operation in Egypt known as Operation Susannah, in which Israeli military intelligence bombed Egyptian, American and British-owned targets in Egypt in the summer of 1954. It became known as the Lavon Affair after the Israeli defense minister Pinhas Lavon, who was forced to resign because of the incident, or euphemistically as the Unfortunate Affair. Israel admitted responsibility in 2005 when Israeli President Moshe Katzav honored the nine Egyptian Jewish agents who were involved. (4)
B) The case of Liberty. The Americans have findings that show our pilots were aware the ship was American,' a newly published document by the State Archives says Amid the jubilee celebrations for the Six-Day War, the tragic story of the American spy ship USS Liberty – which was bombed by an Israeli fighter jet and torpedo boats on June 8, 1967 in the eastern Mediterranean – was somewhat overlooked. Thirty-four American sailors were killed in the Israeli attack and many others were wounded. 'The Americans have findings that show our pilots were aware the ship was American,' a newly published document by the State Archives says. (5)
In the recent bombing on Iraq the American imperialists killed at least 25 people and injured dozens. This was a pure imperialist state terrorism.
In response to this criminal attack by the USA, hundreds of Iraqi protesters tried to storm the US embassy in Baghdad shouting "Down, Down USA!"
The American attack may lead to a military conflict between the USA and Iran on Iraqi soil. This is the wet dream of the Israeli Prime Minister. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday and congratulated him on the US attack on Iranian-backed militias in Iraq. In his remarks, Netanyahu praised the US's important action against Iran and its militias in the Persian Gulf region.
Last week, before the American base was attacked, the chief of the Israeli army Aviv Kohavi said: “It would be better if we weren’t the only ones responding to them [militarily to Iran]”, Kohavi said, in an apparent criticism of the United States and Persian Gulf countries, which also see Iran as a major foe. The military chief, in his first major speech, said the IDF was operating throughout the region — openly, covertly and clandestinely — in order to thwart the plans of Iran and its proxies, “even at the risk of war.” He also issued a bleak warning to Israelis that the next war, when it came, would hit the home front hard. “It must be known and recognized that in the next war — whether in the north or against Hamas — heavy fire will be directed against our home front. I’m looking people in the eye, and saying, there will be heavy fire. We have to recognize this and we have to prepare for this… We have to prepare for this militarily; the civil hierarchies have to prepare for this; and we have to prepare for this mentally.” (6)
Is it possible that Trump decision to attack the pro- Iranian militia is connected with the speech of Kohavi? Time will tell.
As a revolutionary Marxist organization the RCIT wants to see the end of the reactionary regime in Iran toppled by a working class revolution. The role of this regime in Iran, Syria and in Lebanon is counter revolutionary. In the clashes between the mass protesters in these countries we side with the masses against the Iranian regime and its allies.
Nevertheless in a case of a military confrontation between Iran which is not an imperialist state and the USA which is an imperialist state, we want to see the defeat of the USA. Hence, the RCIT takes the position for a military victory of Iran and military defeat for the USA. The Iranian regime is an enemy of the working class but the imperialists are the worst and the most dangerous enemies.
We reiterate what we said in a RCIT statement after the Aramco Attack more than three months ago: “We condemn the rampant aggression of U.S. imperialism against Iran and call for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces from the region. We call for the immediate and unconditional lifting of all sanctions against Iran. In case of any military conflict between Iran and the US, Israel or any of its allies, we will side with the former and advocate the defeat of the imperialists. We support all activities that undermine and defeat imperialist aggression.” (7)
To those who reject such a position by saying that Iran is a reactionary or a semi fascist regime, Trotsky replied many years ago: “ I will take the most simple and obvious example. In Brazil there now reigns a semi fascist regime that every revolutionary can only view with hatred. Let us assume, however, that on the morrow England enters into a military conflict with Brazil. I ask you on whose side of the conflict will the working class be? I will answer for myself personally—in this case I will be on the side of “fascist” Brazil against “democratic” Great Britain. Why? Because in the conflict between them it will not be a question of democracy or fascism. If England should be victorious, she will put another fascist in Rio de Janeiro and will place double chains on Brazil. If Brazil on the contrary should be victorious, it will give a mighty impulse to national and democratic consciousness of the country and will lead to the overthrow of the Vargas dictatorship. The defeat of England will at the same time deliver a blow to British imperialism and will give an impulse to the revolutionary movement of the British proletariat. Truly, one must have an empty head to reduce world antagonisms and military conflicts to the struggle between fascism and democracy. Under all masks one must know how to distinguish exploiters, slave-owners, and robbers!“ (8)
1) Watson Institute Brown University, https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/costs/human/civilians/iraqi
2) Roger Morris: A Tyrant 40 Years in the Making, NYT March 14, 2003, www.nytimes.com/2003/03/14/opinion/a-tyrant-40-years-in-the-making.html
3) Ahsan I Butt: Why did Bush go to war in Iraq? Al Jazeera, March 20, 2019
4) "After half a century of reticence and recrimination, Israel ... honored ... agents-provocateur. Reuters, 30th March 2005, https://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-3065838,00.html#n
5) Ofer Aderet: 'But Sir, It’s an American Ship.' 'Never Mind, Hit Her!' When Israel Attacked USS Liberty, Haaretz, July 11, 2017, https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/but-sir-its-an-american-ship-never-mind-hit-her-1.5492908
6) Judah Ari Gross: IDF chief warns Israelis: The next war will hit our home front extremely hard, The Times of Israel, 25 Dec. 2019
7) RCIT: Aramco Attack: Defeat the US/Saudi/Israeli Warmongers! Defend Iran against any imperialist aggression! But no political support for the reactionary Mullah Regime in Teheran! 16 September 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/aramco-attack-defeat-the-us-saudi-israeli-warmongers/
8) Leon Trotsky: Anti-Imperialist Struggle Is Key to Liberation. An Interview with Mateo Fossa (September 1938)
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For the RCIT's analysis of Iran and the imperialist aggression we refer readers to our numerous articles and statements that are published on our website at: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/
In particular we refer to:
Iran: Long Live the Popular Uprising against the Mullah Regime! Unite with the popular insurrections in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria etc. to a single Intifada! Down with the US sanctions against Iran! 18 November 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/iran-long-live-the-popular-uprising-against-the-mullah-regime/
Iraq: Victory to the Popular Insurrection against the Government of Abdel Mahdi! Build Popular Councils! For a Workers and Poor Peasants Government! 04 October 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/iraq-victory-to-the-popular-insurrection-against-the-government-of-abdel-mahdi/
Aramco Attack: Defeat the US/Saudi/Israeli Warmongers! Defend Iran against any imperialist aggression! But no political support for the reactionary Mullah Regime in Teheran! 16 September 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/aramco-attack-defeat-the-us-saudi-israeli-warmongers/
Strait of Hormuz: Escalating Tensions between the US/UK and Iran. Drive the Great Powers out of the Middle East! But no political support for the reactionary Mullah Regime in Teheran! 22 July 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/escalating-tensions-between-the-us-uk-and-iran/
Iran: Down with Trump’s Sanctions and Military Threats! But no political support for the reactionary Mullah Regime in Teheran! 11 May 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/down-with-trump-s-sanctions-and-military-threats-against-iran/
Warmongering in the Middle East: Down with all Imperialist Great Powers and Capitalist Dictatorships! 13 May 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/joint-statement-warmongering-in-the-middle-east/