Friday, April 08, 2011

Pages From History: Statement in the Aftermath of the First Gulf War, May 4, 1991

Pages From History: Statement in the Aftermath of the First Persian Gulf War, May 4, 1991

Delivered at the “Workers Against the War” Rally held at Cobo Hall in Detroit, MI. The event was sponsored by the Mid-west Regional Committee of the Coalition to Stop U.S. Intervention in the Middle East.

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

PANW Editor’s Note: This address was delivered in the aftermath of the first Gulf War where the U.S. led an effort to force the withdrawal of Iraq from Kuwait after their August 2, 1990 intervention. The war resulted in the massive bombing and land assault against this region of the Middle East. Reviewing the points, observations and analysis presented in this talk provides insights into developments in the sphere of relations between the U.S. and the various states throughout the Middle East and Africa.

Today the U.S. is involved in numerous military occupations and proxy wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Palestine, Libya and Colombia. Despite the election of successive democratic congresses and administrations since 2006, the Pentagon budget has increased and the presence of the U.S. military has continued and spread to other geo-political regions.

The US/NATO bombing of Libya, the United Nations and French military assault on Ivory Coast and the Israeli airstrikes on Port Sudan in March-April 2011, clearly illustrates that the imperialist policy toward Africa has not abated. The political character of U.S. foreign policy toward the developing states in 1991 is essentially the same in 2011.

Text of Address by Abayomi Azikiwe, May 4, 1991

After the unprecedented bombing of Iraq and Kuwait along with a massive land assault in the area, U.S. military and political officials have once again proclaimed victory against a Third World people. What is not discussed is the underlying cause propelling the United States ruling class toward a new phase of high-tech military adventurism.

During the invasion of Panama in December 1989, the press was muzzled in order to shield the American public from the reality of thousands of dead and wounded people, who posed no credible threat against the United States government or society. Yet despite its recent swift and decisive onslaught against Iraq, the continued decline in U.S. performance within the world economy illustrates a far deeper malaise embodied in the system of international capitalism.

Bush administration officials can harness the United Nations Security Council to pass resolutions mandating the massacre of an estimated two hundred thousand Arab people by the U.S. and “allied” military forces and consequently cause the displacement of two million others, when at the same time it cannot devise a proposal which would lead to the independence of Palestine. To all peace and freedom loving people of both the Third World and the metropolitan centers, this trend of foreign policy orientation by the U.S. and its allies, signifies a grim future leading into the twenty-first century.

Principled historians will write about the hypocritical and self-serving nature of U.S. policy toward the Middle East and the greater levels of instability and underdevelopment that this invasion has caused. Any analyst who is honest and has not been confused by the U.S. State Department along with its conservative think-tank pundits, will recognize that what was told to the people of the United States justifying military intervention, was merely a smokescreen to hide the actual purpose of the war, which was the imposition of a new phase of imperialist domination of the Middle East.

Yet what the U.S. establishment’s psyche fears most: a “no win” indefinite presence in the region attempting to contain and re-direct processes that the brutal invasion set in motion, may very well become the outcome of this expedition, which will prove extremely costly to the U.S. government and corporate community.

What has proved to be the most cynical manifestation of U.S. policy in the region is the handling of the Kurdish question inside of Iraq. After Bush had repeatedly encouraged an internal revolt against the Iraq government, when the Shia and Kurdish rebels launched an armed struggle to remove the Baghdad government, the U.S. withheld military assistance, allowing the defeat of the rebels at the hands of the Iraqi government.

Only after the constant portrayal by the media of the wretched conditions facing hundreds of thousands of Kurdish refugees in the northern mountainous area of Iraq, did the U.S. government respond with a massive airlift of food and supplies. Seeing this as a possible political risk that would perhaps take something away from its apparent victory over Iraq, the Bush administration quickly decided to launch an occupation of the northern Kurdish area of the country, pre-empting an already agreed upon United Nations relief plan for the Kurds displaced by the war.

It is my position that the United States government bears full responsibility for the displacement of the nearly two million Iraqis who have sought refuge in Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and northern Iraq. Of course it would not be in the interests of the Bush administration and its partners in Western Europe and the Middle East, for the corporate-controlled media to draw the link between the U.S. military bombing of Iraq and the general dislocation in the Gulf region.

This has not been the first time that the Kurdish people have been betrayed by the western imperialist powers. With the creation of Iraq by the British colonial regime in 1921, the Kurdish people have been denied a right to autonomy and self-determination. A treaty signed by the colonial powers at Lausanne in 1923, deleted any mention of the national rights of the Kurdish people who constitute twenty percent of the Iraqi population.

As the problem of the Kurdish refugees dominated media coverage of developments in the area, what became most striking was the inability of the re-instated monarchy of Kuwait to establish a government capable of functioning and restoring a semblance of civil authority in the country. It is obvious that the monarchy will be incapable of ruling as it did prior to the August 2, 1990 Iraqi annexation. After the national bourgeoisie of Kuwait fled the country along with the armed forces, the people who were left to live out the Iraqi occupation and the “allied” bombing and ground offensive, have now been told by the ruling Al-Sabah family to step aside and allow a return to “business as usual.”

At the same time as the Kuwaiti democratic opposition struggles to transform the despotic political system of the monarchies, a full-scale pogrom is being carried out against the four hundred thousand member Palestinian community. Since the Iraqi government insisted on the linking between their presence in Kuwait and the Israeli occupation of Palestine and portions of Lebanon, the Kuwaiti “authorities” have arrested, tortured and deported an undetermined number of Palestinians as well as other “non-Kuwaitis,” many of whom were born in the country or had worked there for many years.

Meanwhile the U.S. military in conjunction with the multi-national firms are performing the essential tasks designed to reconstruct Kuwait on the basis of its former dictatorial, ostentatious, undemocratic and class polarized prototype.

U.S. involvement in this war has been costly for the people of this country. They are the ones who are facing the worsening economic conditions characterized by the burgeoning unemployment figures, declines in wages and living standards, bankruptcies in the finance industry as well as heightening tensions among the various racial groups inside the country.

A false “knee-jerk patriotism,” symbolized by the placing of U.S. flags and yellow ribbons on the automobiles of middle and working class people, illustrates the danger of the mind-control techniques utilized by the government and the corporate media. Where will the U.S. military-industrial-complex go next? Will they once again take us by surprise launching another genocidal attack against a Third World people?

How long will the masses of African and Third World people allow the western industrialized nations to dictate the terms of inter-state relations and economic development? It is obvious that the U.S. presence in the Gulf area is designed to protect the multi-national interests of the corporate community in the face of intensifying competition from the European Community and Japan.

German Central Bank officials have refused to abide by U.S. requests for a lowering of interests rates designed to improve monetary conditions for the U.S. dollar on international money markets. The rise of value in the dollar has not altered the phenomena of declining U.S. car sales and the overall slump in profit-rates for all major industries.

Despite its triumphant propaganda, the U.S. system as we know it will not remain intact for the foreseeable future. It is this reality that makes the prospects for the acquisition of genuine democracy a much more attractive avenue of pursuit than the decadent delusions of grandeur promoted by an immoral and already culturally bankrupt society.

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