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    New War in Iraq Targets Syria!

    By Alison Bodine and Janine Solanki

    In December of 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the war on Iraq was over and that the last of the U.S. troops that had occupied Iraq for over 8 years would be leaving. In the last 3 years since this announcement U.S. troops and mercenaries have remained in Iraq, and now U.S. bombs are once again dropping on the people of Iraq. Now, the U.S. and their allies, including Canada, have launched a new war against Iraq and have also expanded their campaign of airstrikes to include Syria.

    ISIS/ISIL: Another Bogeyman excuse

    Since June 2014 ISIS/ISIL (the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham) began establishing control of cities and areas of Iraq and Syria through terrorist actions directed against Iraqi and Syrian civilians. ISIS/ISIL has become the justification for the new U.S.-led war on Iraq and Syria. But where did ISIS/ISIL come from anyways?

    Besides the fact that the U.S. is itself responsible for the creation of ISIS/ISIL, we can also look to the U.S. track record of “assistance” in Iraq to decide if the U.S. has anything positive to offer in their stated mission to help “defeat terrorism” in Iraq. Over 3 million people have been killed in Iraq through 20 years of US sanctions, war and occupation, including 500,000 children killed by 12 years of devastating U.S. sanctions that began in the 1990's. The death and destruction of U.S. occupation has left 1.6 million Iraqi widows (March 21, 2015 United Nations Mission in Iraq – UNAMI). Iraq, which previously boasted one of the best education systems in the Middle East, now faces the complete destruction of medical, educational and civil infrastructure.

    When the U.S. began dropping 500 pound bombs on Iraq, it was only a short time before Canada joined in with almost 700 soldiers, six CF-18 warplanes, two surveillance aircraft and an air-to-air re-fuelling aircraft In the first six months of “Operation IMPACT” the Canadian military conducted 693 sorties which included at least 53 airstrikes against Iraq. This mission to further destroy Iraq has cost taxpayers $122 million dollars.

    Target: Syria

    As Canada's 6-month bombing campaign in Iraq neared it's end, the conservative Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper stated, “We cannot stand on the sidelines while ISIL continues to promote terrorism in Canada as well as against our allies and partners, nor can we allow ISIL to have a safe haven in Syria.” On Monday, March 30, Canadian Parliament voted to extend their war in Iraq by another year, and to expand their airstrikes to Syria.

    Now the U.S. and their allies are seeking a more direct means to accomplish a take-over of Syria, and they have the excuse that they need with the “fight” against ISIS/ISIL. U.S.-led airstrikes continue to push ISIS/ISIL deeper into Syria, towards the capital and Syrian government strongholds. More directly, U.S. President Barack Obama has asked Congress to approve the Authorization for the Use of Military Force which would open the door for U.S. ground troops and a direct military intervention into Syria. Additionally, the U.S. is continuing their strategy of supporting, training and arming “rebel” forces and mercenaries to go into Syria. This includes a recent U.S. deal with Turkey and Jordan to train Syrian so-called rebels on their territory. Also, in mid-March 2015 the U.S. government announced they would be spending $70 million on aid for so-called “moderate” rebel groups in Syria.

    Imperialist End Game

    In last 14 years of the new era of war and occupation, starting with the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in 2001, we have seen the devastating outcome of this plan. The U.S. and their allies have targeted every country in the Middle East and North Africa that has an independent government. Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have been completely destroyed, and now Syria is currently fighting off becoming the next Libya. U.S. sanctions and threats keep Iran in the hot seat for future intervention, as the most influential independent country in the region that the U.S. has been vying to regain control of since they were kicked out after the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

    Sanctions, war, occupation and covert and overt military operations and foreign intervention have been carried out all with the goal of establishing U.S. hegemony of the region. The human costs of this brutal war drive have been immense and we have seen some humanities oldest civilizations reduced to ruins. The war on Iraq and Syria is reaching a critical point, we cannot let the war expand deeper into Syria. Now is the time for all peace-loving people around the world to join the antiwar movement and demand:
    Hands Off Iraq and Syria!

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