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January 10, 2020

Imperialist hegemony and wars

Opinion

January 10, 2020

First, the US killed a top Iranian general in a drone strike near the Baghdad International Airport.

General Qassem Soleimani was the top commander of the Al Quds force (a branch of the powerful Revolutionary Guards). The American action escalated the tension in the already volatile and unstable Middle-Eastern region.

The American administration knew well that Iran would take General Soleimani’s killing as an act of war but President Trump still ordered the action. This US act has once again brought both sides on the brink of a war. It was a clear act of provocation.

Now Iran has retaliated and launched missile attacks on two military bases in Iraq to target the American troops stationed there – in Northern Iraq in Irbil and Al Asad specifically. The Iranian military fired more than a dozen missiles on these bases. This act of retaliation will now take both countries much closer to a military conflict and maybe even war.

President Trump wants to impose more sanctions against Iran now. This means further strangling the Iranian economy and inflicting more miseries and economic hardships on the Iranian people. The economic sanctions already imposed by President Trump in May 2018 hit the Iranian economy hard. Common people in Iran have already experienced increased poverty, rising unemployment, high inflation and falling living standards as a result of the country’s crippling economy.

Economic sanctions are a ‘collective punishment’ inflicted on a society. It is a modern form of the medieval tradition of punishing the whole tribe or community for the mistake or crime of one person or a group.

As the most dominant imperialist power in the world, the US is uniquely positioned to cause maximum damage to any economy through economic sanctions. The US has hegemony over the international financial system. And it has used its financial clout to isolate Iran from this financial system. The Iranian economy is already facing the negative consequences of American sanctions.

President Trump’s May 2018 decision to pull out of the US-Iran nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions put an end to Iran’s plans, crushing its efforts to revive its energy sector and economy, attract foreign investment and rejoin the global economy.

The most severe impact of economic sanctions on civilian lives is the violation of the economic, social and cultural rights of the people. As a result of the imposition of the unilateral economic sanctions by the US, the Iranian people are facing a humanitarian crisis. In particular, they are looking at lack of access to life-saving medicines, medical supplies and healthcare and lack of basic goods, services and jobs. It is not only military aggression and bombings that kill people; economic sanctions also cause silent deaths.

President Trump seems on a clear mission to further destabilise the Middle-Eastern region to establish American hegemony over the whole region. President Trump and the neo-cons in Washington want to put maximum pressure on the Iranian regime to accept their hegemony and give up resistance. It seems that such actions will continue without considering their consequences for the world and for the region.

There is no doubt that the US is the dominant military and economic power in the world. As the superpower, it does everything to maintain its dominance and protect its interests. It imposes wars on weaker countries. It uses sanctions for regime change. As the most powerful country, it rarely shows respect to international conventions, laws and rules. It uses both military and economic power to maintain or establish its hegemony and dominance.

The killing of General Soleimani sends a clear message that if you are challenging American interests then you are a target. The US can attack you when and where it wants. No international treaty, convention and protocol can stop a superpower from killing people anywhere in the world. The superpower has its own rules. As the policeman of the world, it can violate the sovereignty and border of any country.

President Trump has brought the Middle East on the brink of another war, and is responsible for this dangerous escalation. The American actions could destabilise not only Iraq and Iran but also the much of the Middle East.

The American ruling elite wanted governments or rulers in the Middle East that can protect and further its imperialist interests. It was never, and still is not, a concern for the American ruling class how those rulers and dictators treat their own people. It is not a matter of concern for the American administration whether you are a ruthless dictator and have no respect for human rights and democracy. One is loved by the American establishment if one learns to dance to American tunes.

The consequences of a possible war would be catastrophic for the region. The people of Iran, Iraq and the region will face destruction and loss of human lives as a result of war. War always causes enormous damage to infrastructure and human life, and brings human misery and destruction on an unimaginable scale.

It is time world powers intervened to stop this march of madness. China, Russia, France, Germany, Britain and others should intervene immediately to stop the war. They should act before it’s too late. They should stop President Trump from imposing an all-out war on Iran.

The people in the Middle East need peace, stability, prosperity, employment and economic development – not war and destruction. They need better living conditions, housing, transport, education and public services – not bombs, missiles, bullets and drone attacks. They need democratic, cultural and political rights instead of imperialist aggression, dictatorships and repression.

The writer is a freelance journalist.