The Party for Socialism and Liberation (U.S.) condemns the horrific attacks on innocent civilians in recent days and weeks in Paris, Beirut, Ankara, Latakia and over the Sinai Peninsula. The so-called Islamic State (also known as ISIL or ISIS) have taken responsibility for these terrorist attacks. ISIS is thoroughly reactionary and a variant of fascism.
ISIS has been killing Syrians for the last four years. Most of its victims are Muslims.
ISIS, which now controls vast parts of Syria and Iraq in its so-called “Caliphate,” was an off shoot of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Al-Qaeda in Iraq did not exist before George W. Bush and Dick Cheney ordered the criminal and unprovoked invasion and occupation of Iraq that toppled the secular Baathist government of Saddam Hussein.
Neither did ISIS exist in Syria before 2011 when the United States, France, Britain and its reactionary allies in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar funneled billions of arms and funds to armed groups (including ISIS and Al-Qaeda) who were fighting to topple the secular Baathist government of Bashar Al-Assad. This foreign-funded civil war cost 250,000 Syrian lives, 85,000 of whom were members of the Syrian army. Until ISIS surprised the United States by seizing the city of Mosul in Iraq last year, the U.S. government never spoke about the threat posed by ISIS and instead only condemned President Assad and demanded that he “must go.”
In Libya too there was no ISIS until NATO, led by the United States, France and Britain, mercilessly bombed the country until the secular, nationalist government of Muammar Gaddafi was destroyed in 2011. The killing of Gaddafi was a pet project of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
It is critically important to tell this basic truth: It was the imperialist policies of the United States and Western powers that created the chaos in the Middle East. This chaos has been the breeding ground for the rise of ISIS. Moreover, it was NATO and its allies that gave Al-Qaeda and ISIS money and weapons. That was “okay” just as long as they were killing Syrian army members and their supporters. ISIS was not really even an issue in the Western media as long as they were fighting to topple the Assad government in Syria.
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Hillary Clinton were the feckless champions of war and aggression that has now opened the gates of hell for the people of the Middle East and for the entire world. Will they be held legally accountable for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have been killed or will the new massacre in Paris be used to again demonize Muslims and Arabs for the next round of aggression abroad and the destruction of civil liberties on the home front?
While French President Francois Hollande declares his determination to defend the people of his country, it is in fact his government’s extremely aggressive and militaristic foreign policy that has greatly contributed to the current crisis.
Instead of facing this reality, however, much of the capitalist media in France, the United States and elsewhere is already engaged in a racist campaign targeting for blame the Arab and Muslim communities in France, and the refugees fleeing from imperialist-caused chaos in Syria. The same media headlines and personalizes the Western victims of terrorism, while treating the far greater amount of Arab and Muslim victims as merely numbers.
In the United States, several of the Republican candidates for president have responded with new outbursts of extreme militarism, Islamophobia and theocratic views that show them to be extreme fanatics and chauvinists. They want endless war against multiple Muslim nations, and now they want to bar Syrian refugees, many of whom are fleeing ISIS.
As Arab American journalist and author As’ad Abu-Khalil wrote about the attacks in France:
“Just as ISIS and Al-Qa`idah brought terrorism to the heart of the West, Western governments have also been exporting death and destruction to the Middle East and North Africa: from Mali to Libya to Egypt to Sudan to Somalia to Syria to Iraq to Pakistan to Afghanistan. Terrorism has been inflicted on people in those countries by the terrorism of ISIS and Al-Qa`idah and by the bombs and rockets and drones of Western governments.”
Khaled Barakat, a spokesperson for the International Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat, said in an interview with the information department of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine : “Responsibility for the heinous massacre that took place in Paris last night, claiming the lives of at least 120 innocent people, lies primarily with colonialism, imperialism, and the murderous criminal takfiri forces, and particularly with the United States, the French state and their reactionary tools in the region . . . the fascist right wing and the Zionist enemy are the sole beneficiaries of this heinous crime, which is a net profit for them. Arabs, and in particular Palestinians, are and will pay the price of both the attacks that took place in Bourj al-Barajneh in south Beirut against innocent people, and those in Paris, also against civilians.”
The Party for Socialism and Liberation calls for an end to the U.S./NATO wars in the Middle East. The genuine feelings of sadness and revulsion at the massacres in Paris, Beirut and elsewhere must not become the pretext for new assaults on refugees, Muslim and Arab communities and on civil liberties in general.
The Syrian Arab Army, under the government of Bashar al-Assad, along with the Kurdish forces in the People’s Protection Units, have been the main forces fighting ISIS on the ground. If the U.S. and French governments were committed to defeating ISIS as its top priority, they would have allied with these forces alongside Russia, Iran and the Hezbollah resistance forces from Lebanon. This is what the U.S. and French governments have refused to do so far. Instead, they have fought to remake the Middle East under Western hegemony, adopting a policy of regime change in Iraq, Libya and Syria.
The PSL extends its solidarity to those forces in the Middle East that are bravely fighting to turn back ISIS, and working to rebuild the unity between peoples to defeat sectarian reaction and imperialism.