The U.S. in the Middle East, 1948-2015: Murder, Inc

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


In the period from 1948 to the present day, the US and its allies have been responsible for the deaths of millions of people in the Middle East and neighboring regions. Below are just a few examples...

Black Friday Massacre, Iran, 1978 | Photo: AP

Overthrowing the Government of Iran - Imposing the Murderous Shah

In 1953, the CIA organized a coup overthrowing the nationalist Mossadegh government of Iran and installed the Shah as an absolute monarch and U.S. puppet who ruled for the next 25 years. The Shah tortured, killed and imprisoned his political opponents. In September 1978 the Shah’s troops carried out the “Bloody Friday” massacre of thousands of protesters. When it became clear that the Shah was losing control, the U.S. made a call that the reactionary Islamic fundamentalist regime led by Ayatollah Khomeini was a “lesser evil” outcome of the uprising.

US-backed Islamic Jihadist forces fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan | Photo: AP

1979 - 1989: The Afghan proxy war—a million dead, seven million refugees

In 1979 the U.S. began arming and organizing Islamic fundamentalist fighters in Afghanistan as part of the “cold war” contention with the rival imperialist Soviet Union. In over nine years of horrific conflict between the U.S.-backed jihadists and the Soviet-backed regime, from 850,000 to 1.5 million people were killed, five million refugees were driven outside the country, and two million were driven from their homes in the country. Among the recipients of U.S. aid in Afghanistan was the then little-known Saudi jihadist Osama bin Laden, who began to develop his terrorist network Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

1980-1988: Iran-Iraq War—over a million dead

Iranian soldiers stand over Iraqi soldiers killed in the Iran-Iraq War | Photo:AP

September 1980: Iraq invaded Iran with tacit U.S. support, starting a bloody eight-year war. The U.S. supported both sides at times in the war—”tilting” to one side or another in order to prolong the war and weaken both sides. Estimates of the death toll range in the neighborhood of one million for Iran and 250,000-500,000 for Iraq.

1948-Present: support for the founding of the state of Israel and nearly every war waged by Israel

The U.S. has had and maintains a “special relationship” with the settler-colonial state of Israel, a nation founded on terrorist ethnic cleansing—which continues today, with unstinting support from the U.S. In 2014, Israel’s massacre of the Palestinian people in Gaza—including repeated bombings of schools, hospitals and apartments—resulted in the deaths of over 2,100, including almost 500 children.

Watch video of Israel’s attack on the UN school in Beit Hanoun, Gaza in July, 2014.

Propping up of the “royal family” of Saudi Arabia

Rubble in Yemen from U.S. backed-Saudi Arabian air strike, September 8, 2015. Photo: AP

Saudi Arabia’s dark-ages rulers whip and behead those who violate an extremely brutal and oppressive variant of Islam. The U.S. backs and works with and through the Saudi regime to control the country’s vast oil resources and as a force for its interests in the Middle East. Today Saudi Arabia is carrying out devastating bombing campaigns targeting civilians in Yemen.

1991: First Gulf War—over 100,000 killed

In 1991, a U.S.-led coalition launched “Operation Desert Storm.” For the next 42 days, U.S. and allied planes pounded Iraq, dropping 88,000 tons of bombs, systematically targeting and largely destroying its electrical and water systems. On February 22, 1991, the U.S. coalition began its 100-hour ground war. Heavily armed U.S. units drove deep into southern Iraq. The U.S. used radioactive depleted uranium coatings on its artillery, leaving carcinogenic poison across vast swaths of Iraq that has caused a huge spike in birth defects. Overall, 100,000 to 200,000 Iraqis were killed during the war.

1990s: U.S. sanctions against Iraq—500,000 children murdered

The aftermath of the U.S. war was even more devastating to Iraq. The shattered infrastructure, combined with imperialist sanctions on food and medical supplies to Iraq, turned the country into a poverty-stricken and disease-wracked society. In 1996, ABC News correspondent Leslie Stahl asked then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright whether the sanctions on Iraq—which kept the country from important needed medicine, food and sanitation equipment—were worth the estimated death of 500,000 Iraqi children from malnutrition and disease. Albright’s answer: “It is worth it.”

Afghan villagers gather near a house destroyed in a U.S. raid, June 2012. Photo: AP

2001: U.S. invasion of Afghanistan—thousands dead, millions driven from homes

After the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to hunt down Osama bin Laden and drive out the Taliban regime. After 13 years of war, thousands of civilians have been killed directly by U.S.-led invasion and occupation forces who bombed wedding parties, humiliated Afghans with house-to-house searches, and locked people up in U.S.-controlled dungeons where many were tortured. Today the U.S. still has “advisory” troops in the country to try to prop up its puppet regime. Some five million people have been driven from their homes.

The Second Iraq War and occupation—over 100,000 killed, millions driven from homes

Abu Ghraib, Iraq

Iraq Body Count estimates over 150,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in the second U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Over four million were driven from their homes in the ensuing war and occupation. U.S. forces committed numerous massacres and acts of terror against Iraqis, like the destruction of Fallujah in 2004 and the torture carried out in Abu Ghraib prison. The U.S. relied on brutal warlords and then a Shi’ite Muslim regime to help clamp down on the Iraqi people. Iraqi women, once among the most educated in the Arab world, were slammed back into subservient roles in society. The actions of the U.S. led to rise of the fanatic fundamentalist ISIS.

2011: Overthrow of Qaddafi in Libya—hundreds killed in NATO air strikes

Destruction caused by U.S. bombing in Libya

In 2011, after an uprising broke out against the regime of Muammar Qaddafi, the U.S. and its NATO allies intervened to shape and control it for their own interests. NATO launched thousands of air strikes, killing hundreds of civilians. After Qaddafi was murdered by a group of insurgents, Libya became enmeshed in warfare among rival groups of warlords and Islamic fundamentalists who have been variously backed and condemned by Western powers.

U.S. responsibility for carnage in Syria

In the past month the U.S. has massively ramped up bombing attacks on Syria. Obama sent 50 Special Forces to Syria, and there is talk of sending in more U.S. troops. U.S. moves, along with bombing campaigns by Russia, the military actions of Syria’s reactionary regime, and the actions of ISIS and other Islamic Jihadists, are all intensifying the hellish situation in Syria. Over 250,000 people have been killed in four years of war, and over 12 million people out of a population of only about 22 million have been driven from their homes—refugees inside or outside the country.

Syrian Kurdish refugees at a refugee camp in Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border. Photo: AP


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