US IMPERIALISM launched an unprovoked wave of airstrikes against targets in both Syria and Iraq on Sunday, targeting bases controlled by Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), killing at least 25 of its fighters.
The PMF is an Iranian-backed Shia militia which has formal links to the official Iraqi army and has played a decisive role in the war against the Islamist terror group ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.
PMF forces led the fight against ISIS, spawned out of the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq by the US and its imperialist allies in 2003 and then transported into Syria as a mercenary force to overthrow the Syrian government.
Having launched a surprise attack on PMF forces without informing the Iraqi government of their murderous intentions, the Trump administration must have known this would provoke a response.
On Tuesday, they got it when hundreds of angry demonstrators in PMF uniforms converged on the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad which contains the US Embassy.
Shouting ‘Down, Down USA’, the demonstrators entered the Green Zone, forcing the US ambassador to flee and the rest of the embassy staff to take shelter in a ‘safe room’.
With US personnel holed up in the embassy, Trump immediately issued a warning to both Iran and Iraq, saying that ‘Iran has orchestrated the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad’ and warning that the US would ‘hold Iran responsible’ for this event and that Iran ‘will pay a very big price’.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo warned that the US ‘will protect and defend its people, who are there to support a sovereign and independent Iraq’.
The hypocrisy of US imperialism is breathtaking. They bomb and kill with impunity and then claim they are protecting the sovereignty and independence of Iraq, a country they devastated in 2003 with war and occupations.
The US immediately announced that 750 extra US troops would be sent to the region in addition to the 14,000 already deployed in the Gulf since last May.
It was also reported that 4,000 more US troops might also be deployed.
This escalation of the war drive has been fuelled by recent joint naval drills held by Iran with Russia and China – a four-day naval exercise in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman and dubbed ‘Marine Security Belt’.
The commander of Iran’s navy, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, told reporters that these joint manoeuvres were a signal to US forces in the Gulf region, saying, ‘Today, the era of American free action in the region is over,’ adding, ‘They must leave the region gradually.’
The response of US imperialism to this threat against its dominance in the region was the provocative attack on Iran-supported PMF to coincide with these joint manoeuvres. Control of the narrow Gulf straits through which one fifth of all oil supplies must pass is strategically vital to US imperialism and it is prepared to go to war to protect its oil supplies.
Despite all claims that the US is gradually withdrawing from the region, there has been a continuous build-up of US troops to ‘protect’ their interests.
In Syria, troops and tanks were deployed to the north east of the country to take control of the region’s oil fields and facilitate the theft of the country’s oil reserves by the US. The US has no intention of leaving the region, gradually or not – it will have to be driven out.
US imperialism is preparing to go all-out in a war with Iran, drive back the Iranian revolution and impose its complete military control over the Middle East and the Gulf. Such a war will not only set the entire region ablaze but will drag in both Russia and China and pose the immediate threat of world war.
Workers across the world must take action against this threat of imperialism’s war of conquest by disarming the imperialist powers with socialist revolutions in the UK and the USA.
Only socialist revolution can put an end to imperialist war against the working class at home and the people of the world.