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The US is escalating tensions and warfare in the Middle East in many ways. The bottomline is that the US needs to exit the Middle East militarily. This article will attempt to briefly highlight some of the impacts US is having and what might be appropriate demands of an antiwar effort should be making of the US government
The US in recent years has supported an unsuccessful attempt at regime change in Syria, primarily through the backing of armed militias. Forces the US has backed have ended up in tacit and explicit alliances with Al Qaeda linked Al Nusra and ISIS and much of the weapons and resources provided by the US has ended up in the hands of such sworn enemies of the United States. In response to unproven accusations of use of chemical weapons by Syria, the US recently launched a bombardment of 55 cruise missiles at a military airport in Syria. The US has conducted massive bombings inside Syria resulting in 1000s of civilian casualties - ostensibly targeting ISIS but often striking Syrian and Iranian forces and the allied Hezbollah militia forces.
The number of US troops inside of Syria is uncertain - it was said to be 500 but recently a US general suggested it could be much higher number. There are about 10 US military bases inside of Syria.
The US has attempted to justify its presence inside Syria as intended to counter ISIS but Russia and Syria are claiming that ISIS has effectively been eliminated so that justification, flawed as it was, is no longer valid.
For its part, Israel regularly conducts bombardment and aerial patrol over Syria, and has threatened to take out Syria's air defenses, a threat often echoed from within US's foreign policy establishment.
While Trump has stated that there are pending agreements with Russia to de-escalate and possibly begin to resolve the Syrian war, there does not seem to be any intent to withdraw US forces or draw back US participation in supporting armed groups, The US is also imposing sanctions upon Syria that harm the people the most, driving up costs and reducing available food and medicines.
We need to demand an immediate halt to US bombings and other military operations, a withdrawal of US troops and privatized mercenary forces, the shutting of the US bases and an end to sanctions. The US needs to abandon its regime change strategy and its support for armed groups and let the Syrians settle their own matters.
Iran / Lebanon
While these two countries have vastly different situations and histories they now have fallen in common crosshairs. Israel and Saudi Arabia have formed a tacit alliance and are pressing hard for a war targeting both nations. Lebanon based Hezbollah militias and Iran have both worked with Syria to oppose regime change. Iran supported Hezbollah has expelled past Israeli aggression on Lebanon. Former Lebanon Prime Minister Hariri on a visit to Saudi Arabia has resigned and denounced the Lebanese government and Hezbollah. There is a major shake up in Saudi Arabie that could be a prelude for wider war.
Similar threatening noise emanates regularly from all sectors of the US foreign policy establishment as well, The US is threatening to abrogate the nuclear treaty with Iran which would imply increased sanctions and US hostilities and threats and possible military action. The US has also bombed Iranian forces and Hezbollah soldiers inside of Syria. US designs in Iraq are also challenged by Iran which is heavily influencial in the Shiite influenced Iraqi government. When Trump did the sword dance with the now fratricidal Saudi royalists in Riyadh he bombastically threatened Iran and accused Hezbollah of terrorism.
We need to recognize the seriousness of these threats and call upon the USA to denounce any threats to attack Iran and Lebanon. We need to demand that the US communicate to Israel and Saudi Arabia that it opposes an attack on Iran and Lebanon and will not support either in such an endeavor. We need to demand the halt of all bombardments of Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria, reassert the support for the nuclear treaty and lift the sanctions upon Iran.
Currently there is a crackdown with the killing and arrests of several Saudi princes
According to Code Pink http://www.codepink.org/saudiarabia
The U.S. has spent over $8 trillion on military forces in the Persian Gulf in the last four decades, supposedly protecting the Gulf from the then-Soviet Union and Iran. The effect has been to give backing to an absolute monarchy that opposes religious freedom, female equality and humane treatment of migrant workers-- the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The hereditary despots of Saudi Arabia are infamous for beheading and/or and floggings political dissidents. In January 2016 alone, the Saudi government beheaded 47 people, some of whom were guilty of such "crimes" as political activism. Between March 2015-2016, Saudi Arabia massacred over 6,000 people in a war of aggression against Yemen, and at least half of them were civilians.
According to Code Pink http://www.codepink.org/saudiarabia
In March 2015, Saudi Arabia led an international coalition (backed by the United States) to launch air strikes against the Houthi rebel group in Yemen, sparking a full-blown armed conflict.
The increase in violence exacerbated the existing issues that have blighted Yemen for years: poor governance, lack of rule of law, widespread poverty, and insufficient access to basic healthcare and water, among others.
Four out of five Yemenis today rely on humanitarian assistance for their survival. There is no access to essential services such as clean water and electricity, and food prices have soared creating a desperate situation for millions. Yet Saudi Arabia continues its brutal campaign against the poorest country in the Middle East.
Now, a blockade on Yemen by Saudi Arabia supported by the US has restricted access to food and aid with reports that 130 are dying each day with expectations that 50,000 dying by the end of 2017 as a result, with another 400,000 children will need treatment for acute malnutrition, according to the Save the Children charity.
The US has participated in military operations and often has hit civilian targets with drone missile strikes, causing scores of civilian casualties.
While there has been an attempt in Congress to pass a resolution stating that US involvement in the war in Yemen is "unauthorized" - the US continues its support for Saudi Arabia's genocidal action.
Our anti-war forces need to demand and immediate cessation of US military support and shipments to Saudi Arabia and an immediate end to US direct and indirect involvement in the war on Yemen.
In recent history, the US brought 3 waves of slaughter to Iraq:
1. The US led war to force Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait including the massive slaughter of 10s of 1000s of retreating Iraqi forces.
2. That was followed by a dozen years of genocidal sanctions causing over a million casualties due to access to food, medical supplies and clean potable water.
3. Then came the US slaughter of Iraq starting in 2003 that resulted in over a million deaths and with resultant death and suffering from the long lasting affect continuing today.
While the Obama administration had pledged to withdraw from Iraq, the final withdrawal never occurred.
One of the results of the destabilization by the US invasion was the polarization of Iraq between the Shia allied forces which now for the most part control the government and the Sunni, which earlier on led the resistance to the occupation and in more recent years have been taken over by ISIS led militias. The US has used the ISIS presence as the primary reason to continue military operations in Iraq - participating in massive bombardments with 1000s of civilian casualties. As a result of failures by the US and the Iraqi armed forces, over 2000 US HUMV's and other weapons and supplies have fallen into ISIS hands.
The US needs to withdraw its forces from Iraq and to stop utilizing its presence in Iraq in pursuit of its strategic and military goals in the region. The US needs to instead repair the immense damage to Iraq from over a decade of deadly sanctions followed by over a decade of war and occupation. Relief is needed from the deadly aftermath of use of depleted uranium which has caused birth defects around Fallujah worse than the result of the nuclear weapons used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Antiwar Organzing: US Out of Middle East