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      What's really going on in Syria and Iraq?
      Mobilization Against War & Occupation Discusses US New Era of War and Occupation

      By Janine Solanki

      Keeping track of what is happening in Iraq and Syria is no simple task these days, if only viewing the situation through the filter of mainstream Western media and with the rhetoric of US politicians. However if you look past the media manipulations, the US imperialist policy and actions in Iraq and Syria are full of contradictions and misinformation.

      While the US-led offensive in Mosul claimed to be with the intention of liberating the city from Daesh (also known as ISIS), one can imagine how liberation in that city felt when the US dropped bombs every eight minutes for three days and bombed targets such as schools and hospitals. The narrative is flipped in Syria, however, where the main goal of the US government is to overthrow the Syrian government. An intense mainstream media and imperialist propaganda campaign have demonized the Syrian government’s efforts to take back East Aleppo from so-called rebels after four years under their control. US media does not mention how these “rebels” which they support include Al-Qaeda linked groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra. US media also fails to mention that these terrorist groups stopped or killed civilians trying to leave East Aleppo, or what life was like for four years under the rule of these terrorist groups.

      In order to discuss these contradictions and to bring forward the facts and analysis on the US war in Iraq and Syria, Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) organized a public forum on December 13, 2016. The forum was titled “US and All Imperialists Hands Off Syria! From Mosul to Raqqa and Aleppo, What Strategy is the US Pursuing in the Middle East & North Africa?”

      The forum began with video and news clips including alternative media, providing the audience with perspectives not found in mainstream news. The speaker of the evening was Nita Palmer, author of “War and Occupation in Afghanistan: Which Way Forward?” from Battle of Ideas Press. Nita spoke on the current situation in Syria and Iraq, as well as the overall strategy of the US-led new era of war and occupation. While Syria and Iraq are bearing the brunt of this war drive now, the new era of war and occupation is a US-led imperialist strategy to gain hegemony in the Middle East and North Africa, that also includes the war and occupation of Afghanistan, the bombing of Libya and Yemen and sanctions and threats against Iran.

      Following the videos and speakers forum participants took part in an open discussion. This included discussing the government of Canada's role in Iraq and Syria, and the large behind-the-scenes military involvement Canada has in imperialist operations in both Iraq and Syria.

      The forum closed with the MC of the night, MAWO chair Alison Bodine, encouraging participants to join MAWO in the next antiwar rally and petition campaign, to take the antiwar perspective discussed in the forum out on the street in protest.

      US Hands Off Syria and Iraq!
      No to War and Occupation! Yes to Self-Determination!

      For more information on MAWO antiwar events and actions visit: www.mawovancouver.org

      Follow Janine on Twitter: @janinesolanki

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