Last Thursday, May 19th, Obama gave a speech that was supposed to signify a major change in U.S. policy towards the Middle East. He praised the supposed progress in Iraq and Afghanistan as a result of the U.S. invasion; he claimed to embrace the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt for being non-violent popular movements. He praised the NATO bombing campaign in Libya. He promised economic aid to the economies of Egypt and Tunisia. Every one of theses claims is full of lies and hypocrisy.
U.S. Military and Empire
Currently the U.S. military is directly involved in wars in seven countries, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Colombia and Libya. The U.S. operates more than 1,000 military bases throughout the world in more than 100 countries – more than every other military in the world combined. This network of military violence maintains the rule of the U.S. corporate elite, giving them the power to exploit the world’s resources and population and crush any opposition.
War and Occupation in Iraq
Obama refers to Iraq as a “new democracy” and a proud “partner” of the U.S. Meanwhile, there is nothing democratic about the current situation in Iraq. Over 2.3 million Iraqis have been killed since March 2003 and more than six million have been driven from their homes as refugees. Sixty percent of Iraqis are unemployed and 28 percent of Iraqi children are malnourished. And currently Iraq is being ripped apart by civil war. More than 5,000 civilians were killed from political violence in Iraq in 2010. The U.S. occupation is far from over. The U.S. still has over 50,000 troops in Iraq.
War and Occupation in Afghanistan
In Afghanistan, the U.S. has nearly 100,000 troops waging war on an already devastated population. One in five Afghan children die every year before the age of five. Over 100,000 Afghans have died from the U.S. war and more than two million are considered refugees. Over 79 percent of Afghans are opposed to the U.S war and occupation and want the U.S. to leave Afghanistan immediately.
Support for Democracy or Dictators?
For Obama to speak of peace and democracy in the Middle East is a blatant lie. As Obama gave his speech, the U.S. was busy finalizing a new $60 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia. There, the ruling regime is in power by sheer brutality and police repression completely financed by U.S. military aid. And it has already sent troops to help the U.S.-supported monarchy in Bahrain kill and imprison demonstrators while calling for political reform.
Supporting the Revolution in Egypt?
Obama said U.S. policy will be to promote reforms across the region and stand firm against violent repression from governments. These are blatant lies. The U.S. never supported revolution in Egypt. The U.S. supported the regime of former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak under every president for the last 30 years, giving an average of $2 billion in military aid every year since 1979. The Obama administration did not urge Mubarak to step down until the final hour when it was clear that there was no going back.
Obama’s New Policy is the Same as the Old Policy – War and Domination
The reality is that the U.S. is the biggest threat to peace in the Middle East. The U.S. has carried out major wars and occupations, supports brutal dictatorships, and uses its military and economic might to dominate the region. If anything has changed it is the fact that now people in the region are starting to demand a better life. The idea that the Obama administration and the U.S. are in favor of these revolutions is a joke. But the reality of U.S. violence against the people of the Middle East is nothing to laugh at. Obama’s administration is carrying out the same policy as Bush, Clinton, and presidents before them. Whether Republican or Democrat, they’ve made it their goal to dominate the Middle East by any and all means from supporting dictators to war and occupation.