The cowardly assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani on Iraqi soil, the deployment of more US troops to the Southwest Asia and North Africa region (SWANA), and the belligerent threats of the Trump administration, reveal to the world what billions of people already know: The United States is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world, the single largest threat to the peace and security of Southwest Asia and North Africa, and a rogue state with no regard for international law. The assassination of Soleimani constitutes a war crime, and a violation of the sovereignty of both Iraq and Iran. It makes the world less safe, and increases the chance of an all out war in the region. The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) US Chapter joins with the tens of thousands who took to the streets of the US on Saturday to denounce the assassination and calling for ‘US out of Iraq, no war with Iran!’ We stand with all peace and justice loving people, international civil society, and particularly the peoples of Iraq and Iran in opposing the belligerence of the US terrorist state. We call for the immediate removal of all US troops from Iraq and the whole region, and a lifting of all sanctions on Iran.
US imperialism has long sought to dominate the SWANA region because of its strategic location, and the importance of the flow of oil to world markets. US troops continue to occupy parts of Iraq and Syria, while the US alliance with the Saudi monarchy wages a genocidal war in Yemen. After arming Iraq in its war against Iran in the 1980’s, the US turned against it in the First Gulf War, and subsequent sanctions, which resulted in the death of at least half a million Iraqi children (when asked about the death toll, then-Secretary of State Madeline Albright famously remarked that it was ‘worth it’), before finally launching the 2003 invasion and occupation, leading to approximately one million deaths, and creating the conditions for the rise of ISIS. It was in the war against ISIS where Qasem Soleimani gained his reputation as a general, and he was widely credited with helping to defeat ISIS in the region.
ILPS chair emeritus Jose Maria Sison has observed: “In committing his criminal act, Trump is short-sightedly motivated by his selfish desire to overcome his current impeachment and to win the next presidential elections through warmongering and arousing the jingoistic sentiments that favor US imperialism. But the criminal act has serious consequences. The oppressed peoples and self-respecting countries in the Middle East are justly outraged, aroused and mobilized to fight against US imperialism. So are the people of the world, including the American people, who are against the aggressive and terrorist acts of US imperialism.”
Indeed people in over 80 cities took the streets on Saturday to denounce the US war machine — an important first step in building anti-war and anti-imperialist resistance, but the movement must go further. Leading representatives of the Democratic Party have attempted to restrict opposition to Trump to simply procedural issues, accepting the lies of the administration, and continuing to support US war and occupation in Southwest Asia and North Africa. It is crucial that the growing resistance reject the imperial logic of both Trump and the leadership of the Democratic party, and assert our solidarity with the people of Iraq and Iran, affirming that all countries and peoples have the right to national sovereignty and self-determination.
The people who live in the United States have a special responsibility to oppose the crimes of this empire, and to declare that our position is against the empire which threatens the future of the whole planet. We must stand with the people of the world, especially where they are rising up for a better future. Only guided by that internationalism can we fulfill our duty, to expose and oppose the US empire from within. We can learn from, and build with, the courageous forces already in motion against empire: the anti-war veterans, the religious communities, and the indigenous and national liberation struggles within the US. In addition, we have a responsibility to bring many more people into the struggle — the youth who will be recruited as cannon-fodder, the communities that have been targeted for repression, and millions of progressive and conscious people who can see the empire has no future for them. We must develop the leadership of the oppressed and working class people, and engage in a process of unity and struggle with a wide variety of social forces.
The US empire in decline is a rogue state, with no respect of international law, the sovereignty of nations, or the norms of diplomacy; it represents the single greatest threat to life on the planet. The people of the world, united in struggle, represent the solution. ILPS-US calls on our member organizations, allies, and comrades to join us, in deepening our commitment to the struggle against US empire and against US-led wars of aggression, and building deeper solidarity with people all over the world. Show your solidarity at the global day of protest for Iran nearest you on January 25th.