The U.S.-Iraq “Strategic Framework Agreement” Enables U.S. Imperialism to Wage War and Foment Tensions

September 30, 2014

The U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement mandated consent from Iraqi officials prior to the U.S. bombing of Syria. This month’s airstrikes were not the first time U.S. imperialism helped entangle Iraq in an aggressive war. In hopes of removing the Iranian government or at least undermining Iran’s strength, U.S. imperialism supported Iraq’s invasion of Iran in 1980. The U.S. provided sophisticated weaponry to build up Saddam Hussein’s army and also provided billions in economic credits during the war. The Reagan administration removed Iraq from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, resumed diplomatic relations with Saddam Hussein, encouraged other governments to blockade Iran, and provided U.S. naval escorts to Iraqi and Kuwaiti oil tankers. The U.S. also equipped Iraq with military intelligence gained by U.S. AWAC flights in the region. The Iraq-Iran war claimed the lives of at least 2 million people.

The U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement mandated consent from Iraqi officials prior to the U.S. bombing of Iraq. This year’s airstrikes were not the first that U.S. pilots have been ordered to carry out on Iraq. In 1991, the U.S. launched the first Gulf War to “punish” Iraq for invading Kuwait. U.S. war planes flew more than 110,000 sorties, dropped 88,500 tons of bombs. The Pentagon boasted that it had bombed the country “back into the Middle Ages.” Throughout the next twelve years, U.S. pilots carried out thousands of missions, repeatedly bombing Iraqi radar sites, attacking Iraqi aircraft and bombing other Iraqi military and civilian targets. In 2003 U.S. armed forces began much larger air operations with the launch of the second Gulf War. The final U.S. combat operations in Iraq were supposed to have taken place in 2011. But today, U.S. armed forces still have a free pass to drop bombs on Iraq with no declared aim other than to “restore order.” To date, U.S. wars on Iraq stole the lives of at least 3 million people, including an estimated 750,000 children.

In addition to resting on the Strategic Framework Agreement and U.S. airstrikes, U.S. dictate and domination in Iraq also relies on the participation of U.S. commissioned officers and privately contracted paramilitaries. The U.S. also supports its forces with thousands of U.S. military bureaucrats in Iraq and openly collaborates with Iraqi commanders hand-picked by U.S. “military trainers.” Many of the commanders are left over from the days of Saddam Hussein.

The strength of U.S. military domination over Iraq sharply reveals the temporary power of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class in Iraq. The power to violently repress any popular movement – any movement to oppose war on Syria or the Palestinians, to eliminate foreign ownership of Iraq’s oil, to organize for higher wages and better working conditions, to restore national ownership of the country’s capital stock, or for any other positive aim.

When the U.S. declared and launched war on Syria this month it moved from “passive” support for terrorism to all-out war. The unrevised U.S. aim in Syria – to carry out “regime change” – is unapologetically aggressive and colonial. And the U.S. is already preparing for ground invasion. The U.S. Congress and President have already signed off on $500 million in direct military aid to support Obama’s new plans to arm and train privately contracted paramilitary shock forces. U.S. military planners expect the U.S.-backed forces to be ready for invasion sometime next year. According to President Obama, this escalation of hostilities is justified by the claim that the U.S. is supporting “moderate” rebels to “fight terrorism” in Syria.

Clearly, the war program of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class is a towering obstacle to the peaceful resolution of problems and an increasingly grave threat to the peoples of the region and the world. U.S. imperialism will continue setting up U.S. bases as hubs for U.S. military operations and menacing the peoples of the region until the U.S. military is forced out of Iraq and the Middle East, and until genuine sovereignty is restored to the Iraqi people.