– The U.S. – most responsible for sectarian civil war in Iraq and Syria
– From Iran: Oppose all the reactionary efforts to take advantage of this situation and instead use it to build a revolutionary movement
– From the U.S.: No escalation in U.S. aggression against Iraq – bring forward another way!
(AWTWNS 23 June 2014)

This AWTWNS news packet for the week of 23 June 2014 contains three articles. They may be reproduced or used in any way, in whole or in part, as long as they are credited.

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– The U.S. – most responsible for sectarian civil war in Iraq and Syria
From Iran:
Oppose all the reactionary efforts to take advantage of this situation and instead use it to build a revolutionary movement
– From the U.S.:
No escalation in U.S. aggression against Iraq – bring forward another way!


The U.S. – most responsible for sectarian civil war in Iraq and Syria

24 June 2014. A World to Win News Service. The people in Iraq, Syria and and other countries, already in hell, face even worse as the U.S. desperately tries to figure out how to draw some advantage out of the mess it has made in the region, or at least preserve core interests. The U.S., which is not alone in stoking sectarian civil war in the region but bears more responsibility than anyone else, is now justifying further interference and maybe even more violence in the name of stopping it.

In Syria it helped turn political conflict into religious war by using Sunni fundamentalists against the Bashar al-Assad regime. In Iraq it allied with a section of the Shia elite to put down Sunni-based resistance to the U.S. occupation. In both cases, it used religious sectarianism to seek political control. Ironically, the Assad government is still standing, while the U.S.-installed Maliki government is tottering. Everything the U.S. has done has brought “blowback”, but it cannot just accept these setbacks if it is to maintain its position in the region and the world.

The imperialists did not create the division of Sunnis and Shias, but often deliberately worked to deepen antagonism and further entangle religious differences with competing political and economic interests. In the region as throughout much of the colonial world, they sought to build a social base for their rule by relying on one religious or ethnic group against others, whether Christians in Lebanon, Alawis and other religious minorities in Syria, or Sunnis in Iraq, not to mention the Jewish state of Israel on stolen Palestinian land.

Further, the region would be very different if the U.S. and its allies had not encouraged the Sunni-based Saddam Hussein regime to attack the new-born Shia Islamic Republic of Iran in 1980 and then also armed Iran (through Israel and directly). That war decimated a generation of youth on both sides, with a total of a million casualties, so as to advance U.S. interests by weakening both countries whose regimes Washington found problematic. (See Oil, Power and Empire, by Larry Everest, Common Courage Press, 2004)

This process continued with the 1991 first Gulf War and the dozen years of sanctions on Iraq that served as a weapon of mass destruction against Iraqi lives. Estimates of the number of people who died as a result of malnutrition or disease because of the sanctions range from half a million to a million.

Saddam responded by encouraging a rising Sunni religiosity and religious identification, during a time when the pressures of globalization on societies and local exploiters were giving impetus to the rise of religious fundamentalism in many countries. The nationalist and secular slogans that had been the signature of the ruling Ba’athist party in Iraq (and Syria) faded, and Saddam himself came to an ignominious end, first deposed and captured by the U.S. and then hastily hanged.

President Barack Obama and other leading spokespeople for the U.S. ruling class are now bitterly complaining about Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, but they were the ones that put Maliki in power in the first place with the aim of defeating Sunni forces that are now much stronger than ever.

Maliki and the people around him (the Shia Islamist Dawa party) worked with the U.S. invaders from early on. The U.S. counted on their support as it waged a decade-long war that, coming on top of the sanctions, turned Iraq from one of the better-off and best-educated countries in the Arab world, where religiosity played a relatively small role in official life, to an inferno. Although Dawa was connected to the Iranian regime and was said to have been involved in an Islamist attack on U.S. troops in Lebanon, Washington decided it needed to overlook that.

The U.S. rampaged through the country and killed Iraqis in massive numbers, at times with no distinction. Think of the secret U.S. armed forces video Wikileaks founder Julien Assange and the American soldier now known as Chelsea Manning made public. It shows a U.S. helicopter gunship shooting people just walking down the street, and deliberately coming back to blast a van with children in it. Or the Blackwater mercenaries who opened fire on a Baghdad traffic roundabout full of cars and pedestrians because the sight of so many Iraqis made them nervous.

Even more, the U.S. ramped through and tore apart Iraqi society, in an attempt to impose its own order, and then tried to reorganize it on a basis even more reactionary than Saddam’s rule.

The occupiers held the 2005 elections, touted by the U.S. as a great victory and proof that it is a force for good, for the purpose of establishing an Iraqi regime willing and able to advance American goals. The U.S. ambassador at that time, Zalmay Khalilzad, picked Maliki to be the new prime minister and arranged for that to happen. (Now Khalilzad is calling for the U.S. to return to Ahmad Chalabi, the Shia politician who assured the Bush White House that U.S. invaders would be welcomed with open arms and provided it with fake evidence about Saddam’s non-existent biological and other weapons.)

But Maliki outlived the Bush neo-cons and enjoyed the support of Obama as well. In the 2010 elections, which resulted in a stalemate between Sunni and Shia politicians, the U.S. again arranged for Maliki to continue in office.

Obama announced a plan to end U.S. combat operations in Iraq in 2009, just as he was about to shift 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. The project of keeping 10,000 U.S. troops and many mercenaries in Iraq fell apart because Washington wanted a treaty that would give them immunity from Iraqi law, which after Blackwater, Maliki found too dangerous to deliver, but also because, as leading figures in the Obama government announced, they felt that the situation had stabilised, and the Maliki regime could be counted on. Note that as Obama now sends troops back to Iraq, his advisers say they don’t need to wait for legal immunity – presumably because guns trump law.

That “stabilised” situation when U.S. combat troops left was one in which an elite section among the Shia, centred in the state and army, and tribal leaders, turned the tables on the similarly-based old Sunni elite and reduced its power, wealth and standing. Ordinary people in Sunni areas not only suffered unemployment and new levels of poverty, they also found themselves harassed, humiliated and abused by the Shia authorities. The secret police and army carried out atrocities routinely. (In the face of the ISIS offensive, when government police fled Baquba, just north of Baghdad, the last thing they did was execute the 44 Sunni prisoners in the local jail.)

Over the last year and especially earlier this year, as disaffection and rebellion spread, places like Falluja west of Baghdad, one of the cities that suffered worst at the hands of the U.S. military during the war against the occupation, again came under siege and bombardment by the Maliki government.

If the U.S. objected, that was not made known. When Obama welcomed Maliki to the White House in December 2011, he said that Maliki “represents Iraq’s most inclusive government yet.” When Maliki’s party “won” the April 2014 parliamentary elections, amid a Sunni boycott, the U.S. was not happy but accepted his legitimacy for want of anyone better suited to their interests. It was not until 10 June, when Maliki’s army all but collapsed, that the U.S. decided to take advantage of the fact that parliament has yet to name a cabinet and new (or old) prime minister to try and find themselves a fresh face. Again, note that the U.S. now says that it can send in troops before the formation of a new constitutional government to invite them.

Suddenly the U.S. is crying crocodile tears about Maliki’s Shia sectarianism and lack of “inclusiveness”, but the fact is during the 2006-7 civil war in central Iraq, the U.S. disarmed Sunni militias first and allowed Shia sectarian forces to ethnically cleanse mixed areas in Baghdad, even while also trying to ally with Sunni tribal leaders against the Sunni fundamentalists in what would later be called ISIS.

The embryonic ISIS largely retreated to Syria, where it flourished amid a civil war the Western powers certainly at least encouraged. Over the last year it consolidated in eastern Syria and expanded back to Iraq. Now that the border between the two countries has been effectively erased and reactionary civil war threatens to reoccur on a vast and horrific scale in Iraq, as it already has in Syria, the problem, as the U.S. sees it, is not religious sectarianism, or Syrian and Iraqi lives, but simply how to get an Iraqi regime amenable to its interests and still contest for control of Syria.

One aspect of the situation that needs to be better understood is the dynamic between ISIS and other anti-Maliki forces. According to the Royal United Services Institute, the International Crisis Group and other sources, organized groups led by intelligence and army officers from Saddam’s army, including high-ranking Ba’thists, are prominent among the military leadership in this offensive and the administration of newly occupied towns. The uprising has been strongest in Ba’athist strongholds like Tikrit, Falluja and other towns and villages. Mainstream Sunni clerics (not necessarily hostile to Saddam in the past) have also played an important role, as have Sunni tribal leaders, with tribesmen said to be the most numerous fighters. The U.S. may be hoping to rebuild its ties with these tribal forces, hoping that they don’t share ISIS’s political goal of an international Sunni sharia/jihadi state.

While religion is not the only factor in this situation, it would be wrong to underestimate its importance as a growing phenomenon in itself, as an ideology and a political programme. The international conflict between the U.S. and its allies, and political (and particularly jihadi) Islamism in turn influences local situations. (Note that in Obama’s speech after the fall of Mosul, he mentioned the Islamist danger to U.S. interests in Yemen.) In the absence of a revolutionary alternative, and with the ripping apart of the old social fabric and the horrors of life in the Iraq the U.S. created, as well as the force of tradition, it’s not hard to understand why many people turn to religious fundamentalism.

Another important question is the role of the Iranian regime in Iraq. The U.S. and the Iranian Islamic Republic both supported the Maliki regime and vied with each other for influence within it. Iran’s support for Maliki has been an advantage for the U.S., but also a source of serious and growing concern. Voices in both the U.S. and Iranian regimes are hoping for cooperation on common interests, but there are major obstacles to that becoming possible.

The Iranian factor is another of the multiple links between the Iraqi situation and overall regional and even world rivalries, from Saudi Arabia’s eagerness to undercut Iranian influence by any means necessary, to the current stand-off between the U.S. and Europe and Iran and Russia around Syria, the question of Israel, and overall U.S.-Russian relations. All these things are intricately intertwined.

Finally, while we can’t focus on the question of Kurdistan here, the Kurdish ruling class, more a lucky beneficiary than a driving force in this conflict so far, would like to be a major player in redrawing the regional map. Where realpolitik (“the enemy of my enemy is my friend”) can lead was demonstrated when, despite historic Washington opposition to Kurdish self-determination, they allied with the U.S., which brought the Kurdish Autonomous Region in Iraq into existence. Now they are in a close relationship with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister of a country that has longed defined its national identity and existence by oppression of Kurds and has its own reactionary regional agenda. Turkey, a big investor in Iraqi Kurdistan, provides the main outlet for the oil that keeps it prosperous.

The very name of the Sunni Islamist group leading the charge against Maliki – the Islamist State in Iraq and al-Sham (sometimes called Da’ish in Arabic) indicates what’s at stake. The goal of uniting Iraq and Syria, and maybe Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Cyprus and southern Turkey (the region known as Greater Syria or al-Sham, after an early caliphate there) as a single Sharia-ruled entity would mean completely abolishing the configuration of states that great powers, particularly the UK and France, established when they divided up the Middle East amongst themselves during World War I. Roughly speaking, it has been the configuration of imperialist domination of this part of the Middle East ever since.

That is what the U.S., and whatever allies it may draw in, are seeking to preserve: an order of oppression. The new, also oppressive and reactionary forces threatening that order have arisen on the ground prepared by the domination of the imperialists and the workings of their world economic system.

The U.S., which not long ago thought it could do almost anything, doesn’t seem to know what to do – because it doesn’t have a real solution or even obvious choices. Nevertheless, it feels compelled to act. Obama has already sent six warships to the Persian Gulf. The Marines dispatched to re-enforce the U.S. embassy (and the airport) could be used to set up a massive airlift of American personnel – leaving or arriving. The American “advisers” (can anyone believe that after a decade of U.S. “advisers” what the Iraqi army needs is more training?) may be used to coordinate drone strikes, in Syria as well as Iraq, which could provoke further Islamist reaction. A positive outcome for the U.S. is far from assured.

The Islamists, despite their current appeal in the region, do not even claim to seek to liberate nations from the imperialist system. Although various factors tend to pull them into conflict with the U.S. and other imperialist powers, they don’t have a solution for the people’s problems caused by the world imperialist system. They have no acceptable replacement for the current imperialist order.

We have witnessed how a deep social crisis, an acute crisis of legitimacy and a few thousand armed men can rout 200,000 soldiers, seize an enormous amount of U.S.-supplied arms and equipment to use against an American-supported regime, and put the world’s sole superpower in a quandary. The same colossal contradictions causing so much hardship and misery for masses of people are also producing new possibilities for people to rise up and change this situation through revolution.

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From Iran: Oppose all the reactionary efforts to take advantage of this situation and instead use it to build a revolutionary movement

24 June 2014. A World to Win News Service. The following is excerpted and edited from a statement by the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist -Maoist) posted in mid-June.

The Islamic Republique of Iran (IRI) is another government very worried by the advance of ISIS. The Baghdad regime has very close relations with the IRI. Iranian political and military experts played an important role in training the present Iraqi army, at least its Shia sections. After the ISIS attack on Mosul, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards, the notoriously bloodthirsty General Qasem Soleimani, went to Baghdad to protect the capital with 150 military “experts” and 1,000 troops.

Ever since the formation of ISIS, the IRI has called them “Takfiris” [Muslims who label other Muslims infidels], and ever since the crisis in Syria, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have fought them. IRI leaders say that ISIS is a Saudi creation for confronting Iran. Iranian military forces are on alert in the western part of the country and in Iranian Kurdistan, and flights to Iraq, including of Iranian pilgrims, have stopped. The ISIS attacks have added a new contradiction to all the others among the Islamic Republic rulers: should the IRI use the Revolutionary Guards to go all out militarily against ISIS, or help Iraq in a more limited fashion? Should the IRI continue supporting the Nouri al-Maliki regime or abandon it?

Because of these internal contradictions, different IRI leaders have different positions. But on the whole, the IRI is using this to declare cooperation with the U.S. in dirty regional wars. On the anniversary of his election, President Hassan Rouhani cried, “We are fighting world terrorism!” On 14 June he declared, “If the IRI sees U.S. military action against ISIS, some kind of collaboration between both countries can be envisaged.” At the same time as he is yelling about “terrorism”, a very severe state terrorism is on the march inside Iran itself, as the regime continues to suppress oppressed nationalities and religious minorities. In the past few days, two Arab activists were executed and 57 Kurdish youth accused of collaborating with Salafi [Sunni fundamentalist] and Kurdish political forces were brought before the courts.

Of course, in the case of further intervention by the IRI in Iraq, we must expect a reaction from ISIS supporters in the Sunni and border areas of Iran like Baluchistan and elsewhere. The irony is that the first ones to proclaim a religious regime in recent history are now proclaiming their opposition to other reactionary forces, who, like the IRI, also want to establish the rule of Allah on earth.

Reactionary forces in the Middle East and Africa, whether Shia, Sunni or Salafi, have raised the banner of Islam to attain power and share in the exploitation and plunder of the people along with the imperialist powers. In this endeavour they will commit any crime necessary. The Islamic ideology is an extremely reactionary and anti-people ideology and social programme, and the growth of Islamic fundamentalism is the outcome of imperialist capitalism’s vicious crimes and its functioning in the world. The dire economic and social consequences have brought about horrors for millions in the peripheral countries, including in the Middle East and North Africa, and resulted in the formation of Islamic fundamentalist movements there. Islamism is a reactionary movement with no perspective other than the continuation of capitalist relations and poverty, misery, ignorance, superstition, patriarchy and misogyny for the workers and toilers in these countries.

Even though the consequences of a military engagement in a region brimming with contradictions and instability are not clear for the theocratic rulers of Iran, in the mid, long or even short term, the necessity to maintain a system which to its core is totally dependent and reliant on the world capitalist imperialist system forces the IRI in that direction. Any defeat in this engagement would worsen the IRI’s own political, economic and ideological crisis, including the contradictions among the rulers themselves. Nevertheless, regime leaders view entering this regional war as an opportunity to safeguard their system. They see the necessity of playing a dangerous and multi-sided game, striving to become the main ally of the imperialist powers in the region and challenging the Islamist fighters of al-Qaeda and the paramilitary forces dependent on Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc., even if the grenade might explode in their own hands. The situation in the Middle East is such that the ruling regimes can only gain credit with the imperialists through such measures. Almost no state can stay away from these contradictions and conflicts

Various forces in the Iranian opposition have had different positions on the situation. Right after the ISIS offensive, Mojahedin Khalq [an Iranian organization often described as “Marxist Islamic” that fought the Iranian regime] told Al Jazeera TV news that the city of Mosul was under the control of Iraqi revolutionaries and tribes. That a force like the Mojahedin in the region would start to support and even work with ISIS is not extraordinary.

In a leaflet on the first day of the crisis, Komala Zahmatkeshan [a largely Kurdish Iranian party that calls itself “Marxist-Leninist”] said that the Iraqi Kurdish government should “bring back the regions cut off from Kurdistan into the arms of the Kurdish Autonomous Region to protect them from against ISIS” and that all the political forces of Iraqi Kurdistan should unite with that government in that. Komala also said, “We declare our support for the Kurdish Autonomous Region government to protect the people of Iraqi Kurdistan and are ready for collaboration in any way possible to protect this historical experience from the danger of terrorists and racists.”

Such declarations on the part of nationalist and pro-imperialist forces like the Komala are not new. For a long time this party sang the old hymn of siding with whatever reactionary forces are in power. One day they unite with Ahmed Chalabi and imperialists against Saddam, and the next, despite their intentions, with Nouri al-Maliki and the IRI under the pretext of defending the Kurdish Autonomous Region. Even when they themselves are not in power, the class nature of such forces is obvious. These are mainly looking for a place and their part in the oppressive world and a share in exploitative relations.

Such forces are looking for a middle road out of this mess but again and again fall into the trap of trying to choose between bad and worse, going along with one set of the reactionary imperialist or Islamic fundamentalist forces and reactionary states in the region.

During the first imperialist world war, Lenin was the only one who opposed a similar stand taken by the strong Social Democratic parties of the time, and exposed the reactionary nature of that imperialist war. He said the real nature of this war must be exposed and the sophistry and patriotic warmongering of the imperialist ruling classes in promoting the war should be ruthlessly exposed. Today also, communist and revolutionary forces must expose the nature of all the reactionary forces and states, whether ruling or outside the state, under the orders of the U.S. or any other imperialists, and caution that any attempt to get close to these reactionary powers or groups on either side of the equation will only reinforce the slave chains on the region’s people.

The reason that young people of different nationalities are fighting under the black banners of ISIS, the Taleban or other Islamists in the region is not only because the states of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya and Egypt, etc., are unjust and corrupt. It is also because there is no communist alternative on the scene. A communist alternative – if it has a clear understanding of the political situation in the region and the world and the complex contradictions among various reactionary and bourgeois and pro-imperialist forces – can show a path to a real socialist revolution, for the revolutionary overthrow of all these states and the elimination of imperialist influence in the region, in unity with the international proletariat. This lack is sorely felt in the region. As long as such a force and communist pole is not formed in the region and the world, forces like ISIS will have the possibility and opportunity to mobilize masses of people, including workers and toilers. The genuine communist and revolutionary forces, even when they are a very small minority, should not leave people to choose between bad and worse and not fall into that themselves.

The task of all progressive (let alone communists) individuals and groups is to take a position against the IRI’s participation in the war in Iraq or anywhere else, and encourage the people to hate this reactionary “mission” that would serve the world imperialist system.

We need to expose the hypocrisy of the IRI’s security, military and ideological leaders who want to portray the despicable act of sending the Revolutionary Guards to fight in a reactionary war as in the “national interest” and meant to “make Iran secure” and justify it this way. People should know that the ISIS and the IRI share a common nature. The crimes of the IRI against Arab people in [the Iranian province of] Khuzestan should be exposed. Many Arab youth are going down the wrong road of serving the Salafis in opposition to the IRI. These youth and all the people, whether Kurds, Arabs, Fars, Turks or Turkmens, should know that the people’s road is not that of any of these reactionaries, whether the IRI or its Sunni rivals.

Short-sighted horizons, whether religious, national or regional, can only bring misery for the majority of the people. The people should see beyond national, regional, religious, racial and sexual/gender divisions and understand the broader horizon of internationalist unity based on class interests. The workers and worker activists in particular should take a position against the anti-Sunni and anti-Arab propaganda and “national” bigotry coming from Iran’s security and military mouthpieces. Let us not forget the Iran-Iraq war, when hundreds of thousands of youth were sent to walk through mine fields in a reactionary war, and the toilers of Iran and Iraq were forced to kill each other and be killed to strengthen Saddam and Khomeini’s thrones.

Amidst all this, women should be in the forefront in taking a position against the military adventurism of the IRI, because in a war between the Islamic reactionaries of Iran and the Islamic reactionaries of Iraq or anywhere else, women will be the first victims.

It is necessary that revolutionary and communist forces both expose the nature of ISIS and other fundamentalist Islamic forces in the region, and expose and oppose the IRI regime and its willingness to unite with U.S. imperialism and intervention and expansionism in Iraq, Syria and other places. The regime should not be allowed to strengthen its ties with the imperialists by fanning the flames of war between Shiite and Sunni and posing as “anti-extremists” to expand its own influence in the region. The regime should not be allowed to hide behind the dark face of the ISIS reactionaries, or to use them to prettify its own ugly and suppressive face in the eyes of the various sections of the people. It should not be allowed to take advantage of Sunni fundamentalism to suppress the protests of oppressed people in Iran like Arabs and Baluchis.

This is the same regime that within its own borders still enforces vicious laws like the stoning of women, that from every pulpit preaches religion, ignorance and superstition, and that regularly unleashes their morals patrol against women.

We should expose the real reactionary nature of these horrible wars. The people of Iraq in the past decades have had a taste of imperialist and reactionary politics. Millions of Iraqi children have been the victims of imperialist sanctions. Millions of Iraqis have been driven into the diaspora. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi workers and toilers have died or been injured, and many lost their lives in the dungeons of Abu Ghraib. Today, the Iraqi people must not let new and old criminals in whatever guise once again run the show.

The political structures in the region put in place after WWI and WWII under the patronage of the Western imperialists led by the U.S. are falling apart, and the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have accelerated this process. The imperialists and their local states such as Iraq and even Iran are unable to deal with this situation. The cockiness of their armies and governments is empty. They are weakened by their internal contradictions, and this creates important opportunities for revolutionary communist forces to organize against all this oppression and exploitation amidst masses who are sick of the situation, and to start a movement for revolution – a revolution that destroys these states and instead establishes new socialist states.

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From the U.S.: No escalation in U.S. aggression against Iraq – bring forward another way!

24 June 2014. A World to Win News Service. The following edited excerpts are from Revolution, newspaper of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, no. 342, 22 June 2014.

President Barack Obama says the U.S. needs to respond militarily because ISIS “poses a danger to Iraq and its people” and to “American interests”. But the main cause of the unimaginable suffering of the Iraqi people has been those very same American – imperialist – interests.

The conflict between the U.S.-backed regime in Iraq and ISIS is part of a much larger, complex set of challenges to the U.S. empire by rivals and other reactionary forces. This has taken expression in intense conflict, brutal oppression, and horrific suffering in Iraq and neighbouring Syria. Three years ago, the U.S. (and, with both overlapping and conflicting interests, U.S. allies) encouraged and backed an array of reactionary forces seeking to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and install a regime more compliant with the interests of U.S. imperialism. The result has been a civil war in Syria that has devastated the country, destroyed basic infrastructure, and created a massive humanitarian crisis with hundreds of thousands of refugees. The U.S. occupation of Iraq, and the preceding decades of murderous sanctions and invasion, have created terrible conditions for the people there. And from Pakistan to Yemen, and beyond, U.S drones, mercenaries and allied regimes have generated widespread fury at the U.S. These and other factors, including the lack of a real radical revolutionary alternative in the region, have created fertile ground for the rise of reactionary forces like ISIS.

The 2003 invasion and occupation by the U.S. – based on lies about “weapons of mass destruction” – led to the deaths of 600,000 to 1.4 million Iraqis, the displacement of over 4 million more, and the strengthening of reactionary Islamic fundamentalism including ISIS. And those imperialist interests are essentially maintaining and enforcing a world of exploitation, oppression, and environmental devastation.

What is at work in Iraq – and beyond that in large sections of the world – is conflict between different oppressive and reactionary forces. Supporting any of them will only perpetuate oppression and suffering. And any escalation of U.S. military involvement must be opposed by people in the U.S. in whose name this aggression is being carried out.

What will it take for something good to be wrenched out of this madness devastating the people of Iraq, and the whole Middle East? In a word: revolution! One that uproots – not intensifies – oppression, including the oppression of women. There is a deep basis for revolution in the misery and anger, the chaos and constant crises generated by the workings of the capitalist-imperialist system in the Middle East in general, and in Iraq in particular.

One thing revealed by this latest crisis for the U.S. in Iraq is that U.S. imperialism is not all-powerful. The whole situation in Iraq and the region is racked with contradictions. Despite its military might, the U.S. has failed to achieve its objectives in Iraq. The 13-year-long global so-called “war on terror” (really a war for empire) has weakened their system and spawned new contradictions and difficulties, including the spread of reactionary Islamic jihadism across North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and elsewhere.

Absent a real alternative, all the outrage and fury generated by imperialism will be channelled into dead-ends, despair, and reactionary agendas. But there is another way! Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism is the real, radical, viable and visionary alternative to Western imperialism and Islamic fundamentalism. Bringing that forward requires digging into the science of revolution. It means leading people in struggle, transforming their thinking, to make revolution. And as part of that, it requires a movement worldwide, and on the political map in the U.S., that exposes and opposes imperialist crimes but rejects and opposes the Islamic fundamentalist (non) “alternative”.

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