Danger: New Threats and Provocations Against Iran by Trump Fascists...in the Name of Stopping “Threats” and “Provocations”
February 6, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
On Friday, February 3, the Trump-Pence regime threatened a new, very dangerous escalation against Iran. They imposed new economic sanctions against Iran, supposedly because Iran had conducted a “provocative” ballistic missile test that violated UN Security Council Resolutions. Trump and his National Security Adviser Michael Flynn also warned the U.S. would no longer tolerate Iran’s support of “terrorism” and “violent activities” that threatened the U.S. and its allies. “Iran is playing with fire—they don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President Obama was to them,” Trump tweeted. “Not me!”
These sanctions and threats came a few days after Trump-Pence banned travel from Iran and six other Muslim-majority countries because, they said, immigrants from these countries are dangerous and might commit acts of terrorism.
What’s Really Behind the Trump-Pence Escalation Against Iran?
The fascist Trump regime has seized on Iran’s missile test (which didn’t violate the nuclear agreement the U.S. and Iran signed in 2015* or UN Security Council Resolutions) to adopt a much more confrontational stance toward Iran. They’re doing so to advance their imperialist interests—not to stop “terrorism” or save lives: they see Iran, a reactionary theocracy which is expanding its regional influence, as an increasingly serious obstacle to maintaining U.S. domination and control of the Middle East.
To understand why this is happening now, we have to start with the so-called “war on terror” launched by the U.S. over 15 years ago. This war has actually been a reactionary, unjust war to strengthen U.S. power and dominance, focused on the Middle East. While it has targeted some reactionary Islamic jihadists, this war has never fundamentally been about ending terror—in fact, it’s been carried out through and fueled massive terror.
The Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has been one of the main targets of this “war on terror” from the start. It has not been targeted by the U.S. because it’s an oppressive theocracy (so is Saudi Arabia, one of the U.S.’s closest allies) or because it’s directly carrying out or encouraging terror attacks in the U.S. Rather, the U.S. rulers see the IRI as a major regional rival, which has fueled “radical Islam” globally, provided material and ideological support to anti-U.S. governments and forces, and challenged key U.S. allies in the Middle East—especially Saudi Arabia. However, in many ways this “war on terror” has backfired and created new problems for America’s rulers. The U.S. has not been able to pacify and control Afghanistan. It failed to install a stable, pro-U.S. client regime in Iraq. Its wars and invasions haven’t stabilized the region, they’ve helped destabilized it. They haven’t crushed Islamic jihadism, they’ve fueled it. Instead of weakening Iran, it’s the U.S. grip on the region that’s been weakened, while Iran’s influence has been strengthened—in Iraq, in Lebanon, and now in Syria and Yemen.
Why does the Middle East matter? Because America’s capitalist-imperialist economic system and oppressive social order are based on exploiting millions and millions of people all over the world, and dominating the globe politically, economically, and militarily. And having a stranglehold over the Middle East, a military and trade crossroads with vast petroleum reserves, has been a crucial component of the U.S. rulers’ global empire for seven decades.
When this system and its mouthpieces talk about “U.S. interests” or “our national interests,” this is what they are talking about: the interests of the capitalist-imperialist ruling class in maintaining their system, not the interests of humanity, including the vast majority of people living in the U.S.
Now the Trump-Pence fascists (and others in the ruling class, including in the Democratic Party) feel Obama didn’t act forcefully enough to assert U.S. power in the Middle East during his tenure. So now they are out to bully and bludgeon their way to a new world order of even more vicious U.S. domination, exploitation and oppression, and threatening war to do so. They’re starting in the Middle East, and Iran is one of their main targets (even though Iran and ISIS have been mortal enemies).
A World of Horrors...Missiles and Nukes Hanging Like a Guillotine Over Humanity
Trump’s National Security Adviser Flynn says Iran “engages in and supports violent activities that destabilize the Middle East.” There’s an element of truth here. The IRI is not an “anti-imperialist” force. It opposes the U.S. in various ways—but not in order to fully break with global imperialism and bring into being a world free of the relationships of economic exploitation and political domination which capitalism-imperialism rests on—including the relationship between oppressor nations like the U.S. and oppressed nations like Iran. Rather, Iran’s theocratic capitalist (bourgeoisie) rulers are clashing with the U.S. to both preserve their regime, and to increase their influence and strength—in other words, to get a “better seat at the table” in today’s imperialist-dominated world. To accomplish this, the IRI is fighting and maneuvering on different fronts, including both bankrolling reactionary jihadist forces and using those struggles as bargaining chips, and also allying with oppressive regional regimes like Syria as well as U.S. rivals such as Russia, China, and other countries.
For example, Iran and its allies have supported Syria’s ruler Bashir al Assad in that country’s reactionary civil war/bloodbath, which has exacted a staggering toll of 400,000 to 500,000 dead, nearly 5 million driven from Syria as refugees, and over 6 million displaced within Syria. Half of those affected are children.
But what Flynn doesn’t mention is how the U.S. and its allies have also directly fueled the carnage in Syria, including by supporting obscurantist Islamic jihadist forces. Nor does Flynn mention U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s proxy war with Iran for regional predominance.
Flynn alluded to this when he condemned Iran because “one of its proxy terrorist groups attacked a Saudi vessel in the Red Sea.” Flynn is referring to an attack reportedly carried out by the Houthi movement in Yemen. Yemen is one of the most impoverished countries on earth and desperately needs revolution and emancipation from all forms of oppression. But that’s not what any of the combatants in the war raging there are about. The Houthis are a reactionary, religiously based movement led by elements of Yemen’s traditional ruling classes. They are now waging war with U.S. ally Saudi Arabia over who will control Yemen’s future. The Houthis are aligned with Iran at least in some ways (the extent of those ties are not fully clear), and the Saudis fear any Houthi victory would further strengthen Iran.
This is why—and Flynn made no mention of this—Saudi Arabia (one of the most oppressive, fundamentalist states on the face of the earth) has waged a massive, two-year terror war against the Houthis and the people of Yemen. Backed by the U.S., Saudi planes have dropped mainly U.S. bombs and have targeted markets, schools, apartment buildings, and even hospitals, causing most of Yemen’s 10,000 war-related civilian casualties. Saudi Arabia has also carried out a land and sea blockade that has deprived Yemen of essential food, water and medicine and pushed it to the edge of famine and a humanitarian crisis many experts say is worse than what has taken place in Syria.
And now the Trump-Pence regime has deployed a U.S. warship to the Red Sea, threatening to escalate and perhaps get directly involved in Saudi Arabia’s barbaric war.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has been waging war against Al Qaeda in Yemen, and on Sunday, January 29, in the first attack carried out under Trump-Pence, the Pentagon reported that the U.S. killed 14 al Qaeda fighters. It later came out that 24 civilians had also been massacred in this U.S. attack, including a newborn baby and an 8-year-old American girl (Nawar al-Awlaki, whose father Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born Islamist, was assassinated by a U.S. drone strike in 2011). During the campaign, Trump threatened to kill the families of suspected “terrorists,” and now Trump labeled this massacre a “success.”
In other words choosing between regional or global rivals, between big powers or smaller powers, will get humanity nowhere. Their moves and counter moves, wars and proxy wars, hang like a guillotine over humanity with the real and growing danger of war—including nuclear war.
People living within the world’s most powerful and dangerous country—the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons and which continues to maintain a huge nuclear arsenal and repeatedly threatens to use them—have a special responsibility to oppose the crimes and threatened crimes of “our” rulers!
Brazen Lies, Sudden Threats, Serious Danger of Escalation
The Trump regime’s brazen charges and lies and its sudden threats are designed to send a message to friend and foe alike: these new rulers will stop at nothing in pursuit of their objectives. And Trump-Pence made a point of saying they were taking no options off the table—that means war, even nuclear war.
The whole dynamic this fascist regime is setting in motion with Iran is extremely dangerous, and there is real potential for things to escalate to war.
All this further underscores the urgent need to mobilize millions to OUST Trump-Pence from power, as part of preparing for an actual revolution that can begin to rid the planet of the system that has repeatedly given rise to such fascist forces—and countless other horrors.
* Under an agreement signed in 2015, the U.S. and other world powers agreed to lift most economic sanctions on Iran in return for Iran agreeing to severely restrict its nuclear enrichment and development program. For background, see revcom.us coverage, including U.S.‒Iran Nuclear Deal: Major Move by Reactionary Powers... Nothing Good for Humanity. [back]
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