The torture report on the CIA is an exercise in damage limitation. Realising how much the supposed ‘excesses’ of the Bush administration and the stratagems for US/Israeli world domination of the neocon Project for the New American Century have damaged the self-proclaimed moral authority of US imperialism, the Democratic Party are using this report, of the CIA’s Inspector-General, to try to distance themselves from some of the crimes of their predecessors.
It is cynical hogwash on the part of the Obama administration. This report was commissioned apparently in 2004, under Bush. Its findings were suppressed earlier but ultimately, in the aftermath of US imperialism’s obvious failures and defeats in Iraq and the wider Middle East, it became untenable for an American bourgeois establishment that is not (as yet) prepared to openly break with the formal pretence of democracy, to suppress these facts indefinitely. Not if it wanted to continue the hubris and chutzpah that makes US Presidents believe they have the authority to lecture the world on ‘human rights’.
This demonstration has been called by the Stop the War Coalition this Saturday. The political basis for this is fundamentally inadequate and somewhat evasive, as it is not simply ‘Iraq’ or ‘Syria’ that is under attack here, but rather the new radical Islamist polity that calls itself the ‘Islamic State’. Hardly surprising given the influence of social-pacifism on the left today. Still, it is a start and all anti-war activists and socialists should be encouraged to participate, not to accept these politics, but to find ways to go beyond them toward the genuine communist politics that we need.
Obama, Cameron and Hollande’s latest war, with the support of the elite oil-exploiting Arab monarchies such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, is yet another act of barbarism against the mainly Arab and Muslim peoples of the Middle East. Indeed, the recent neocon-inspired wars have led to barbarism on top of barbarism, with the demolition of Iraq in 2003 leading straight to the effective collapse of the country.
The political weakness of the Arab Spring – a spontaneous upsurge beginning in 2011 against the degenerate nationalist dictatorships that dominate the region, with its lack of a coherent ideology or revolutionary centre, enabled its enemies to exploit its spontaneity and the illusions of the masses in forms of Islamic and pan-Islamic nationalism. They either cemented in place new dictatorships out of the failure of such movements, as in Egypt, or used their armed power to give a degree of self-serving support to the upsurges, manipulating them with the use of selective military intervention or the supply of arms to settle old scores with the more ‘radical’ dictators: Qadaafi and Assad. Not coincidentally, these were the only two Arab regimes left that, for all their own capitulations to imperialism, had not run up the white flag of open collaboration with Israel.
Such campaigns, which led to the collapse of Libya into chaos, and the funding of the same Al Qaeda-related forces in Syria via Saudi Arabia, in effect attempted to manipulate radicalised, angry young Muslims into doing the West’s bidding in Syria as they did in Libya. This has backfired spectacularly as the Syrian insurgency ultra-radicalised through the agency of the former Al Qaeda in Iraq – now Islamic State. This established sufficient synergy between the insurgencies in the two countries to overwhelm the crucial imperialist-created Sykes-Picot line. This was something the imperialist puppet-masters did not expect to happen. Oops – they fucked it up in a big way!