The US-ISIS Love-Hate Relationship: Opportunism, Hypocrisy and Selective “Humanitarianism” of the Corporate Empire
“Genocide!”, cry US officials and the corporate media! No, they don’t mean in Gaza, where Israel went in to “finish” the Palestinians and relentlessly and mercilessly bombed and shelled the defenseless people for close to a month and killed close to two thousand people, including 480 children, and which it continues. Reverend Al Obama-is-the-Massiah Sharpton, who’s been completely silent on the genocide in Gaza, followed Obama, like a 2 year old copying his older brother, and cried “potential genocide”, as did others. So, what “potential genocide” are they all talking about? They’re talking about tens of thousands of Yazidis of Iraq who have fled the ISIS militants to the mountains and could be massacred or die of thirst and hunger.
Obama, Kerry, and Obama’s disciples on MSNBC, repeatedly and proudly claimed that the President ordered today’s strikes on ISIS convoy and mortars to prevent a “potential genocide” against the Yazidi people, who are stranded in the mountains, without food or water. A former general said on Chris Mathews Hardball show on MSNBC that Obama’s decision to order the intervention “is commendable because armed people are threatening people who are unarmed”. Of course, Obama would never let a heavily armed military attack and massacre of unarmed people, including children!
Obama said that “when there is a potential for an act of genocide, America can’t turn a blind eye”. “That’s the hallmark of American leadership”, he added. “America is coming to help”. “That’s who we are.” (Nice proud words, aren’t they?) But, even disregarding his obvious hypocrisy about Gaza and the Palestinians, this is the same Obama who said during his 2007 campaign that: “the US cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems”, when asked by AP, if he would be for having the US stay in Iraq, if there was a risk of a “potential genocide”. He defended the US inaction by the Clinton Administration, during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, when over a million people were massacred and the US refused to intervene. President Clinton and his then Department of State even tried very hard to avoid the use of the word “genocide”. A leaked document by the State Department advised against the use of the word “genocide”, “because then we may have to do something”. Obama’s National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, who was also in Clinton Administration, at the time, also defended the lack of intervention, before changing her mind, as did President Clinton.
While the Rwanda genocide was not intervened with, and while Obama himself that just because there is a potential for genocide somewhere, it doesn’t mean the US must intervene, he was quick to announce to the American people that a genocide was about to occur in Libya and that they couldn’t sit idly by and let it happen. “That’s who we are”. It must be a coincidence then that the Gaddafi government was not giving in to imperialist demands, was not letting US corporations take over and control and profit from its oil, was trying to unite Africa to fend for itself and achieve self-sufficiency and wanted to get away from using the Dollar for its transactions, and overall was not cooperating with US interests. Just a coincidence! So, in the name of humanitarian intervention to avoid a “potential genocide”, they conducted a massive and sustained bombing campaign, dropping huge bombs, non-stop, day after day, on population centers, killing thousands of people! Yes, “that’s who we are”.
So, what made Obama change his mind and decide “to do something” in this case? The timing of the strikes and the movement of the ISIS forces may give us a clue: the strikes were ordered only when the ISIS militants began to move towards US forces and assets. Specifically, the intervention was ordered to defend the Kurdish government within government in Iraq. The Iraqi Kurds, with the support of the US, declared their independence, after Saddam Hussein was deposed and executed and the new US organized and Shia-led government took over. The territories they took over and made part of their new self-declared state, include some of Iraq’s rich oil fields in the north. US has a consulate in their capital, Ebril, as well as, military advisors. And you thought the US had left Iraq! Mr. Mathews, upon learning that fact from one of his guests, naively, asked: “why don’t we just leave?”, to which his guest smartly answered: “we don’t want to” and that “we have interests” to protect. A guest on MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hays show stressed that “Kurdistan is a country” and that we must “help them” defend themselves. What was not mentioned, however, was that the Kurds reportedly have relations with Israel too and are even providing them with oil.
While ISIS fighters are massacring Syrians in order to overthrow the Assad government, and who have managed to kill 180,000 people and create over 2 million refugees, that is not a genocide or even a “potential act of genocide”, as Obama called it. In fact, the US, Britain, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have been supplying them, as well as, Al Qaeda forces, with weapons and money, because they are fighting an “unfriendly” government, meaning a government that, like the Gaddafi regime, which the US and its allies violently overthrew, did not comply and cooperate with US and Israel and their allies in promoting US imperialist agenda and hegemony in the region. As long as these Islamists are killing Syrians, it’s not a genocide or even a “potential genocide”! In fact most of ISIS forces are concentrated in Syria and its borders and are fighting the government. All the US and its allies had to do was to not support them and not give them arms to fight the Syrians, and they might not have had this “problem” in Iraq. After all, they knew ISIS was the acronym for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
This “crisis” in Iraq should look familiar to those who are familiar with US intervention in Afghanistan, in 1980’s, when they armed and funded Islamist Jihadis – the Mujaheddin – to fight the Soviets, to make Afghanistan the “Soviets’ Vietnam”. Just as that intervention and funding and arming of Islamists came back to haunt them and ultimately caused the 9/11 terrorist attacks, now, it’s the ISIS, which has come back to haunt them in Iraq. If there is one thing we must understand about the US government which represents the corporate Empire, is that it never, ever, does anything for humanitarian reasons. Everything they do – or not do – has political and geopolitical reasons and is for the long term interests of the Empire of the corporations. This Empire knows no humanity, just profits, but, it knows very well how to manipulate its people’s mind and pretend to do everything for humanitarian reasons.