The U.S. drone assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi Commander Abd Mahdi al-Muhandis, along with eight of their staff, is a war crime by any definition, violating both Iraqi sovereignty and international law. The risk of a warlike escalation of an unforeseeable scope, even more so when it is a premeditated and publicized assassination that radically violates international law. Such a display of impunity does not allow the possibility of an escalation of the conflict leading to open confrontation affecting millions of people to be taken lightly.
President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo persisted in their aggression with a series of lies, which were repeated by much of the media and many politicians, claiming that General Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of more than 600 US soldiers in Iraq. In reality, it is Iran that has been the victim of U.S. aggression since 1953, when democratically elected President Mohammed Mossadegh was overthrown in a joint British-U.S. coup d’etat, followed by the imposition of the tyrant Shah Reza Pahlevi. From 1980 to 1988, the U.S. fueled the Iran-Iraq war, which cost the lives of more than a million people. In 1988, the U.S. shot down an Iranian civilian airliner and killed over 290 Iranian civilians. Since 1984, the U.S. has imposed crippling sanctions that have devastated Iran’s economy and the lives of its citizens.
Iraq has also been devastated by the Clinton administration’s sanctions, which killed 500,000 children, and by the U.S. invasion and occupation that followed in 2003, which resulted in the deaths of over a million Iraqis.
Donald Trump’s order to assassinate General Soleimani has been the culmination of his “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic of Iran. The bipartisan attack began when the Democrats joined the Republicans in resuming sanctions in 2017, giving Trump the chance to withdraw from Iran’s nuclear deal (the “5+1” agreement, or JCPOA).
But this action has to be put in context: the repeated US provocations to Iran, the unsubstantiated accusations of Iranian aggressions, the economic war, the attempts of internal destabilization, the withdrawal of the nuclear agreements… and the repeated threats of war launched by the empire for years.
Iran is a strategic element in the area that escapes the control of the Western coalition led by the US, which wants to tear down this obstacle at any cost. The control of the Eastern Mediterranean is a declared objective by the US imperialism since the end of the Second World War and at this moment Iran is the one who makes unfeasible to achieve that objective that it has been pursuing for decades. Therefore this is not a one-off aggression, it is a moment in a longstanding strategy.
The people of Iran and Iraq have spoken out. Millions have taken to the streets to mourn their martyrs and both governments have responded quickly. The Iraqi parliament passed a law requiring the U.S. to close its embassy and remove all military personnel. It also ended all security arrangements and now denies the U.S. the right to use Iraqi airspace. Iran announced that the JCPOA has officially died, that it will resume uranium enrichment, and that it will take its case to the United Nations. And the first Iranian attacks on U.S. military bases in Iraq have already taken place.
Donald Trump is the last U.S. president to sweep away the nations of the Middle East, a region whose problems can all be blamed on Washington. Democrats in Congress have made a big show of their impeachment but not before giving Trump everything he wanted. They agreed to remove from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) terms that would have required him to seek congressional approval before taking action against Iran. They granted him more than $700 billion for defense spending – more than ever before – and refused to end the Use of Military Force Authorization (AUMF), which is the pretext for continuing occupations in the region.
Trump’s provocations have not ended with the murders. He has publicly stated that the U.S. is targeting 52 locations in Iran, including some of great cultural significance, yet another war crime. He also threatened Iraq with extreme sanctions, as never before seen, after its parliament and prime minister called for all U.S. troops to leave their country. Finally, he said he would force Iraq to pay for bases built to support the U.S. occupation. This is a serious violation of Iraqi sovereignty and a slap in the face for the Iraqi people.
The obscene coincidence of this assassination with the current U.S. president’s difficulties in getting re-elected this year should be noted. This character, increasingly linked to the practice of gangsters, is immersed in a process for corruption that could end his presidency before time and, even if he is saved by his party, which is not justice, he will be sensibly touched.
Once again, an external conflict of sufficient entity can overshadow the internal conflict and group forces around the current president; if there is no such conflict, it must be created, and if it already exists, it must be aggravated.
The criminal and cowardly act carried out by the U.S. military forces under Trump’s direct order is part of the destructive strategy of all that manifestation of resistance to world domination and hegemony, which is manifested in the growing imperialist interventions all over the planet and which are bringing us dangerously close to catastrophe.
We also denounce the role of the Spanish state as an accomplice to the aggression by allowing the use of US military bases in our territory for the execution of its misdeeds. And we demand once again from the political leaders of the state a radical rethinking of the relations of subordination to the criminal strategy of the United States of America as a NATO ally.
From the Internationalist Anti-imperialist Front we are totally opposed to a war against Iran, which could have devastating consequences for the whole planet. We demand the withdrawal of the United States army from Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and the whole of the Middle East. We stand in solidarity with the struggle and resistance to the aggression of the peoples of Iran and Iraq, who want the US/NATO axis to leave their region and put an end to its deadly interventions and interference.
January 8, 2019
Internationalist Anti-Imperialist Front