It has been over a decade since imperialists last bombed Iraq, leveling whole cities back to the stone age. That bombing was preceded by an embargo that starved millions to death. And it was all justified by a grand lie: Remember the “weapons of mass destruction”, the weapons that were nowhere to be found? At the end, the imperialists achieved what they wanted; full control and exploitation of Iraq’s natural resources, a guaranteed oil bonanza for Exxon, BP and others.
They are bombing Iraq again. There are recent reports of U.S. air-strikes hitting ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) positions in Iraq.
ISIS? Isn’t this the Al-Qaeda splinter group which has been funded and armed by Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Monarchs and NATO member Turkey, all U.S. allies? In fact, isn’t ISIS one of the major forces along with other Al-Qaeda groups, that has been doing most of the fighting in Syria, on the side of US imperialism, in its effort to achieve regime change?
So why is ISIS, essentially a product of the U.S., in the cross-hairs of the U.S.? Why now?
Could it be that ISIS has recently murdered thousands of Yazidis and other minorities in Iraqi Kurdistan? After all, there are reports of people being buried alive, beheaded and crucified in addition to kidnapping of women as slaves. Thousands of others, having fled ISIS violence, are trapped in the mountains of Sinjar, facing mass starvation.
Is it that the imperialists, who have slaughtered millions in Iraq barely a decade ago, who have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians by the terror they have funded in Syria, who are behind the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza at the hands of their loyal ally Israel, are now suddenly caring for the lives of some Yazidis in Northern Iraq? No, of course not.
So, what is the real reason behind their recent bombing of Iraq?
Having extended its territorial control in eastern Syria, ISIS moved on to the neighboring Iraq, capturing the strategic oil city of Mosul early June. It is estimated that ISIS rakes in over $1 million a day from the sale of oil from the captured oil fields which is then smuggled to Turkey. ISIS also controls the path of the Kirkuk/Ceyhan oil pipeline that runs from Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey. Earlier this week, along with Sinjar and Qaraqosh, a town situated between Mosul and Arbil with a predominant Christian population, ISIS militants seized Iraq’s largest dam which provides water to a large part of the region. The Kurdish Peshmerga, allies of the U.S., have not been able to stop the advance of ISIS forces which are now closing in fast on Arbil, the regional Kurdish capital. With military personnel stationed in a joint operation center in Arbil, the U.S. imperialism has long relied on this city as a base for many of its operations inside Iraq. As ISIS gains control of strategic territory and resources in Northern Iraq, turning into a threat to the interests of US imperialism in the area, imperialists will not hesitate to strike a blow at their own product to safeguard their interests.
Taylor Goel is a leading member of the Pittsburgh branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation. He focuses on the Middle East, including Turkey and Syria.