Disasters and their causes

Syria. Libya. Iraq. South Sudan. Horror stories from these countries filled the international news as 2014 began. Humanitarian disasters. Ethnic warfare. An unexplained resurgence of al-Qaida, the current enemy-in-chief of the imperialist propaganda machine. Horror stories for the local populations.

In South Sudan and Libya, there is even talk of expanding the U.S. military presence “to help resolve the humanitarian crisis.”

What’s missing from most of the reports, or what is mentioned only as an afterthought?

An explanation of why these humanitarian disasters are occurring. At the root of these crises is imperialist aggression and intervention. The U.S., the Pentagon, the CIA, with or without Washington’s NATO allies, went in and destroyed these countries.

Sometimes the imperialists call the country’s former leader a demon. Sometimes they claimed he held “weapons of mass destruction.” The George W. Bush administration told that lie 935 times about Saddam Hussein. Sometimes their “humanitarian” pundits proclaimed that genocide had to be stopped.

All those claims were part of an imperialist Big Lie. They were the pretexts for waging war.

They hid the real reason: The Western powers, with Washington at their head, aimed at the reconquest of the many nations — especially in Africa and Western Asia — that won independence during the period when the Soviet Union existed as a progressive counterweight to imperialism.

Three of the countries named above as targets — Libya, South Sudan and Iraq — possess extensive oil, gas or other mineral wealth that the imperialists covet. They all have strategic importance.

The pretexts opened the gates to the destruction of each society in the name of “regime change.” The new regime was either a repressive imperialist puppet or so unstable one could talk of a “failed state.” Or both. Then you would hear calls for U.S. drones in the air and boots on the ground.

By the end of 2004, a growing resistance movement in Iraq convinced U.S. strategists that only by sowing internal conflict among Sunni and Shiite factions and Kurds, to divide the opposition, could Washington avoid a humiliating defeat. U.S. troops also turned immense firepower on the rebellious city of Falluja. Now, should there be any surprise that Falluja is in a state of civil war and that al-Qaida is strong there? Or in Ramadi city? And that the puppet Nuri al-Maliki regime is hated?

NATO’s bombs tore apart Libya and destroyed the Moammar Gadhafi-led government. It left the gates open for al-Qaida-type forces to contend for power. It even spread this conflict to nearby Mali.

NATO, Saudi Arabia and Qatar fed weapons to Syria’s conflict. Al-Qaida wound up becoming a serious challenge. Now every United Nations relief group and human rights organization moans over the millions of hungry refugees — all caused by imperialist arms and intervention.

South Sudan only exists as a nominally independent state because the U.S. and other imperialists wanted to keep Sudan’s oil away from Chinese customers. Now the fragile state the imperialists built is collapsing.

A similar argument holds to condemn French imperialist intervention in Ivory Coast, Mali and the Central African Republic.

For more facts about these situations, see the articles by Abayomi Azikiwe and others at workers.org. For a general framework, consider this: U.S. and NATO aggression has caused a humanitarian crisis for tens of millions of people.

If you want to end the horror, you have to fight imperialism! Get the Pentagon and CIA out of Africa and the Middle East! Get NATO and the French army out, too!