Socialist Worker

Escalation in Iraq will cause more bloodshed

Issue No. 2429

Troops in Iraq in 2003

Troops in Iraq in 2003

British drones dropped their first hellfire missiles on Iraq on Monday of this week.  Now the logic of escalation is being played out in the latest war on the region. 

The US also announced it is sending in 1,500 ground troops, doubling the official number deployed in the country. 

This figure doesn’t include covert special forces.

The US is sticking to its claim that these are not combat troops and will only “train, advise, and assist” Iraqi forces. 

Yet these words echo those of US military leaders when they sent similar numbers into Vietnam between 1955 and 1960 to train and assist troops of the rotten South Vietnam regime. 

This became a war that lasted a further 15 years.  Almost three million Vietnamese people died, and hundreds of thousands of US troops were deployed. 

Today the military and political leaders are slowly dragging us into a conflict that they already admit has no end in sight. 

None of the politicians mention that the US is training an army that it already spent billions on after the West’s invasion and occupation of the country. 

Nor do they admit that the growth of Islamic State forces is a product of that war which put in place a sectarian Shia dominated regime. 

Now the West is shoring up that regime and its forces because the country is too strategically important to lose control of.   


Britain’s first drone bombs were dropped near the town of Baiji, which is controlled by Islamic State forces.  It is no coincidence that the West is keen to take the town—it lies close to Iraq’s biggest oil fields. 

When the RAF talk up a bombing mission in which Tornado jets fired Brimstone missiles to destroy a shipping container last Sunday, you know there is not much progress to boast about.

Islamic State forces are making new conquests, even beyond Iraq and Syria. 

They have declared they now control the town of Derna in eastern Libya, almost 1,000 miles from the nearest other territory it controls.

Imperialist intervention has left a legacy of bloody and violent chaos in Libya. 

The West attacked Libya in 2011 claiming it had to intervene to stop a massacre of revolutionaries in the town of Benghazi who were fighting to bring down dictator Muammar Gaddafi. 

Yet the Western bombs left Libya fragmented, with feuding militias controlling different towns and regions. Ordinary people have paid the heaviest price.

The latest imperialist intervention to protect Western interests threatens to extend the same chaos and violence across the region. 

That’s why every anti-war activist must organise opposition to stop the warmongers and challenge their lies.

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