Joint statement on Iraq

PO global at
Mon Sep 16 11:21:52 MDT 1996

 Jose Reply to Nathan said:
> We agree with you when you said:
> " Yes, US attacks on Iraq that hit civilian populations are to be
> But so are Iraqi attacks on the Kurds."
> In the fight between both Kurdish bourgeois factions the workers don't
> support anybody. We defended the Kurds against Hussen while we defended
> against the US attacks.
> There are many progressive struggles in the world. Hussein is not a
> progressive left wing leader. He is a brutal dictator. Why Iraq is so
> important?
> Because it is necessary to stop the US violent attitudes and militarism.

We mean by this that US imperialism is the main enemy.
 US and other imperialists created the the causes of the current
 situation in the Mid-East during WW1 with the Sykes-Picot secret
Treaty which divided the Mid-East among the imperialist powers. Ever
since then imperialists have set up strong men to ensure that their
interests are guarded. Saddam was armed and supported against Iran.
He only fell out with the US when he threatened US oil interests in
the gulf by invading Kuwait [which had been part of Iraq until 1921].
The Kurdish question was subordinated to all these other dealings and
remains so. But to say that we do not defend any oppressed
semi-colony like Iraq against imperialism because Iraq is itself
oppressing the Kurds is putting an abstract defence of human rights
ahead of fighting imperialism, the main enemy. Are you saying that it
is better for the US to smash Iraq and so protect the Kurds? Not only
would a US victory not help the Kurds, it would be a defeat for
workers everywhere as the US once more is allowed to get away with a
unilateral strike.  This is exactly the US imperialist line which has
softened  up public opinion and now allows the US to unilaterally bomb Iraq
 without the majority support of the UN security council, on the pretext
 to defend the`safe haven'. It turns out that the `safe haven' was the haven
for CIA covert operations to bring down Saddam.  US` protection' of the
Kurds would be  to create another client state it can use to keep Saddam in
line. Therefore defence of Iraq and defeat for Imperialism is not separate
>from the defence of the Kurds. The defeat of imperialism opens up the
possibility for the defeat of Saddam at the hands of Iraqi workers
and peasants, and for the creation of a Kurdish socialist republic in
a Mid-east federation of socialist republics.]

> Nathan wrote:
> Okay, please explain to me why allowing Iraqi-backed Kurds to butcher
> Iranian-backed Kurds is the progressive position?
> The Gulf War was all about oil and the defense of the Kuwaiti oil well--I
> mean regime.  Well, the US et al won all that.  The Kurds could die and it
> doesn't change a thing, a good reason no one really cares about the
> Kurdish situation.  In fact, a lot of folks around the world (including
> the US) have traditionally been just as happy to see the Kurds die over
> the years, since they just create complications in geopolitical dealings
> with Iran, Turkey and Iraq.
> Frankly, it seems completely nonsensical to make defense of a regime
> seeking to exterminate the national aspiration of the Kurds as the top
> priority of the Left.  The situation in northern Iraq is complicated by
> about seven different sides and morality is hardly black-white.  Yes, US
> attacks on Iraq that hit civilian populations are to be condemned. But so
> are Iraqi attacks on the Kurds.
> With real, clear democratic fights around the world, from the fight for
> freedom of the rising rebellion against the Indonesian regime to the
> struggles of the Zapatistas in Mexico to anti-racism organizing in the US
> and Europe, why concentrate left activity on Iraq?
> One of the reasons the Left has lost influence in foreign policy is that
> we have abandoned any principled stance around human rights, progressive
> nationalism and humanitarianism in favor of knee-jerk
> anti-interventionism.
> If folks want the left to unite on Iraq, what should the Left position be
> on the disposition of the Kurds in Northern Iraq?
> --Nathan
> On Fri, 13 Sep 1996 DavidKeil at wrote:
> > In a message dated 96-09-13 13:57:48 EDT, global at writes:
> >
> > >The Gulf war is the most important issue in world politics today and
> every
> > >socialist have to build a LEFT UNITY in action against that attacks.
> >
> > Yes. Let's talk about how socialists can work together against this
> enormous
> > danger of a new U.S. Gulf war against the population of Iraq. It'd be
> > especially shameful for socialists to duck their heads right now,
> the
> > rest of the world powers haven't even felt strong enough to say openly
> that
> > they back the U.S. bombing. This means that the socialist position of
> > opposition to Clinton's war is probably a majority position in nearly
> every
> > country of the world.
> >

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