Socialist Worker

US missiles will worsen Iraq crisis

by Judith Orr
Issue No. 2421

US air power will not bring peace

US air power will not bring peace (Pic: US Department of Defense)


The US started a new bombing campaign in Iraq this week. It no longer claims to be carrying out a humanitarian mission. 

Barack Obama made a live statement on TV on Wednesday of last week. 

He announced his latest war plans against the Sunni Islamist group Islamic State, formerly known as Isis.

This included the intention of bombing Syria for the first time. He prepared people for a long war saying the US intended to “degrade and ultimately destroy” Islamic State.

The new bombing offensive followed an international summit in Paris. 

Political leaders from over 30 countries vowed to fight Islamic State “by any means necessary, including appropriate military assistance”.

US secretary of state John Kerry claims this new coalition, which includes ten Arab states, will mean that the West will not have to send in troops.  

Every politician hopes that they can get away with using other forces to carry out the fight. All the talk is of air strikes and military advisers. 

Imperialist wars have often started with false assurances that only advisers will be sent in, when in fact escalation is almost inevitable.

The politicians know there is no appetite for a new war among ordinary people.  Obama had to acknowledge this when he said, “I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The US ruling class faces a problem. It wants to avoid a new war.

But the West’s war and the sectarian regime it promoted have created the conditions for the growth of Islamic State.

The West claims there is a new inclusive government in Iraq now. Yet it has fewer Sunnis than the last one. 

Islamic State is growing in power. It controls vast swathes of both Iraq and Syria and its ability to capture and murder Westerners exposes the West’s inability to control the situation.

David Cameron supports the US’s escalation of military intervention. 

Imperialist

He slapped down defence secretary Philip Hammond last week when Hammond said Britain would not join in with bombing Syria. Government representatives were quick to say that nothing could be ruled out.

But because Cameron lost the last vote to bomb Syria he will have to ensure he can win a majority before he puts a new proposal to parliament.

Crucially this means he will need Labour to shift to support a vote for bombing. The murder of hostages is being used to whip up a mood for war. 

Yet a new bombing campaign does not make Westerners in Syria or Iraq or anywhere else safer.

Instead imperialist intervention legitimises Islamic State and its claim to be fighting an imperialist enemy.

Thousands of civilians living in Islamic State controlled areas, such as Raqaa in north eastern Syria, are terrified as they will be put in the line of US bombs. 

This is a complicated situation for the West. 

The Western powers justify military action in Iraq saying they are simply supporting the Iraqi government at its request. 

Yet this intervention cannot be separated from the growth of Islamic State in Syria, where they say they will be conducting a “counter terrorism” operation.

But they have ruled out working with Bashar al-Assad so instead say they plan to arm Syrian opposition groups that will work with them. 

Obama wants congress to approve £386 million to be spent on rebel groups in Syria.

They want to channel support through regional Arab states, who have been funding and arming opposition organisations for some time, including Islamist groups. 

Cameron and Obama both also said that they are going to go on the offensive at home against those looking to join the Islamists’ struggle. 

This will be a green light for targeting Muslims and increasing Islamophobia as all Muslims are portrayed as a terrorist threat.  

The West’s plans for war will only make the crisis in Iraq and Syria worse. The millions of ordinary people there will suffer the most from air strikes and the influx of Western arms. 

The warmongers and their plans must be opposed.


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