Revolution #253, December 18, 2011
U.S. Threatens Another War
Who Is the REAL Aggressor in the Middle East?
The U.S., along with Israel, France and Britain, are ratcheting up a multi-pronged offensive against Iran. A U.S. drone of the type used to collect detailed information to prepare military attacks recently crashed in Iran, and numerous news reports are speculating on the likelihood of an Israeli attack on Iran, justified as a preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear program.
The U.S. and its allies portray Iran as a dangerous, aggressive, and lawless rogue state intent on obtaining nuclear weapons. The Islamic Republic of Iran regime, which brutally oppresses women and the masses of people within its borders, has aspirations to be a regional power. But the question people must ask is: Who is the real aggressor in the Middle East?
Examine the facts: For over 50 years, since they became the dominant power in the Middle East, the U.S. imperialists have employed enormous violence to maintain their stranglehold on this region—where 60% of the world's oil reserves are located, and where three continents intersect, making it a strategic-military linchpin.
Here is a brief overview of just a few of the terrible crimes committed by the U.S. over the past six-plus decades in Iran and the Middle East.
Backing Israel's Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine and Invasions of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. The U.S. backed, and continues to back, Israel's ethnic cleansing of the land of the Palestinian people. Palestinians have been confined to refugee camps and a few territories surrounded by Israel's huge military, funded with billions of dollars a year in U.S. aid and including an existing and ready-to-use arsenal of nuclear weapons. The 2009 Israeli war on Gaza killed over a thousand civilians. Israel has launched war after war in the region to strengthen its position and serve U.S. imperialism: against Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan in 1967 and again in 1973; against Lebanon in 1982 and again in 2002. All of this has taken place with unwavering and unquestioned backing by every major political figure in the U.S.
1950s and '60s:
Installing Despots in Iran...and Across the Region. In 1953, the CIA orchestrated a coup in Iran to overthrow Prime Minister Mossadegh, who had loosened Britain's stranglehold on Iran and its oil, and put the Shah (King) Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in command. The Shah ruled through terror and what Amnesty International called "a history of torture which is beyond belief," carried out by the U.S.-trained secret police, SAVAK. Across the region during these decades, the U.S. backed or installed autocrats in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, and the Gulf states—some of the same tyrannies the people in the region are now rising up against.
Fueling the Rise of Islamic Fundamentalists in Afghanistan. Next door to Iran, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, and the U.S., already involved covertly in that country, expanded its activities there. The Soviet Union at the time was the main imperialist rival of the U.S., and a top American official said the aim was to "give the Soviet Union its Vietnam." The U.S. funneled more than $3 billion in arms and aid to the Islamic Mujahideen through the 1980s, helping create a global network of Islamist fighters. By the time the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989, more than a million Afghans had been killed, a third of the population driven into refugee camps, the country shattered, and the ground laid for a decade of civil war and the rise of the Taliban.
Orchestrating the 8-Year War Between Iraq and Iran. The Shah was overthrown in 1979, and the fundamentalist Islamic Republic of Iran led by Ayatollah Khomeini took its place. The U.S. immediately started working to isolate and weaken the Khomeini regime and regain its influence in Iran. The U.S. gave Iraq's Saddam Hussein a green light to invade Iran, and then worked to turn the Iran‑Iraq War into an eight-year bloodbath. U.S. allies supplied Iraq with billions in weapons and material while also supplying Iran, playing both sides against each other to prevent either from winning. The death toll from the war is estimated to be at least 262,000-367,000 Iranians and 105,000 Iraqis. An estimated 700,000 were injured or wounded on both sides, bringing the total casualty figure to over one million.
Murdering a Million Plus in Iraq. When Iraq became an obstacle to U.S. designs in the Persian Gulf following Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the U.S. launched a massive war. In 1991, a U.S. Census Bureau demographer estimated that 158,000 Iraqis died as a direct and indirect result of the U.S. war, including 70,000 civilians. The end of the war marked the beginning of murderous economic sanctions lasting until 2003, blocking the flow of food, medicine, and other vital materials. A 1999 survey by UNICEF and Iraq's Ministry of Health found that 500,000 Iraqi children died as a result of sanctions between 1991 and 1998—5,000 children under five were dying each month. That is more than a World Trade Center catastrophe every 30 days.
Invading Afghanistan. After 9/11, the U.S. launched a so-called "war on terror," which is in reality a war for greater empire, aimed at defeating the Islamic fundamentalist forces who pose obstacles to U.S. aims to more directly control and exploit the region. In October 2001, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan—and continues its brutal war and occupation today. The U.S. troops carry out night raids on villages, covert assassinations, massive detentions and torture, and all-around terror.
Invading Iraq. In March 2003, under the pretexts that have been proven to be outright lies about Iraq having "weapons of mass destruction," the U.S. invaded Iraq. A 2006 survey published in the British medical journal Lancet found that there had been more than 650,000 "excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the war" up to that point. Over 4.7 million Iraqis were driven from their homes.
"UN condemns 'war crimes' in Gaza," BBC News, September 16, 2009.
"Rights Group Puts Gaza Death Toll at 1,284," CBS/AP, November 4, 2009.
William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World War II (Zed Books, 2003).
Larry Everest, Oil, Power and Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda (Common Courage Press, 2003).
Roger Hardy, "The Iran-Iraq war: 25 years on," BBC News, September 22, 2005.
"CIA's Decades of Criminal 'Service'," Revolution #191, February 7, 2010.
"Timeline: Soviet war in Afghanistan," BBC News, February 17, 2009.
"Toting the Casualties of War," Bloomberg Businessweek, February 6, 2003.
"UN Says Sanctions Have Killed Some 500,000 Iraqi Children," Reuters, July 21, 2000.
"Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey," Gilbert Burnham MD, Riyadh Lafta MD, Shannon Doocy PhD, and Les Roberts PhD, The Lancet, October 12, 2006.
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