AWSM Archives: “No Blood For Water”?

Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement

AWSM Note: Here we re-post an article that first appeared on our previous site in July 2013. It was written by our long term guest contributor ‘Pink Panther’ and looks at the geopolitical situation in Syria at that time.

Since 1975 most of the major military conflicts – Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Afghanistan and Libya – have been civil wars. Regional or super powers have intervened supposedly to save lives and resolve each conflict. They supposedly try to do this by removing the “bad guys” but have ended up leaving the country they came in to ‘save’, an even bigger mess than it was before they intervened. Often, this is because the intervention is driven by profit or a power obsessed ideology, rather than any understanding of the real situation.

In Vietnam the conflict was not just about the imperialists/capitalists on one side and the communists on the other. It was also a war between the people who lived in the highlands and those who lived in the lowlands, a war between the Catholic minority that dominated political life in South Vietnam and the Buddhist majority and a war between a Soviet-backed elite in Hanoi and a U.S-backed elite in Saigon (today Ho Chi Minh City). Only the ideologues on both sides believed it was a war of freedom or liberation. For most people it was a pointless and incredibly expensive bloodbath that left millions of Vietnamese civilians dead and deadly ordinance lying around everywhere, which still kills hundreds of people every year.

The war in Afghanistan in the 1980s was also portrayed in a breathtakingly simplistic manner by both its supporters, who painted it as a war against communist tyranny and liberation, and one waged over gas and oil by its opponents. It was actually more a civil war between tribal groups, warlords and a puppet government backed by the Soviet Union. It was also an ethnic and sectarian conflict. In what would later rebound badly, the United States backed the Muhajadeen’s war against the communists. The superpower did this by using the Muhajadeen’s Islamic religion as a motivator to encourage a fight against the infidels in the country. The Muhajadeen not only slaughtered the more moderate elements of Afghan society but once the Soviets were gone, they imposed a theocratic regime that was far worse than anything done by the Soviet Union.

Cue forward twenty years and the United States has found itself bogged down fighting the children of those Muhajadeen fighters they trained to fight the Soviets in the 1980s. In response, the same tiresome slogans have been trotted out by liberals and elements on the Left, while the supporters of the war claim it’s a war against the bogeyman of terrorism. This is done even though none involved in the terror attack used to justify the invasion of Afghanistan – the 9/11 attacks – were Afghan nationals. Most of those involved in the attacks were from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan.

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