Do you know what your government is doing right now in the countries stretching from North Africa through the Middle East to Central Asia? Pull out a map and pick a spot:
Yemen. Take Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world. Just this week, Saudi Arabia resumed its savage bombing campaign against the Houthi population—destroying a potato chip factory in the capital Saana and killing 14 people. Human rights organizations report that over the last 18 months, the Saudis have deliberately bombed factories, schools, markets, homes, even hospitals, and are responsible for the majority of the 7,000 men, women, and children killed in the war they launched 18 months ago.
On August 13, Saudi bombs hit the home of a school principal in Northern Yemen killing his wife and four of their children. Then, as is standard Saudi operating procedure, a second airstrike killed more of the principal’s relatives, while rescuers were trying to free them. At the same time, the Saudis bombed a school, killing ten children and injuring 28 more. When rescuers brought survivors to a Doctors Without Borders sponsored hospital, they were asked to leave because the Saudis systematically target hospitals for bombing.
How has Obama reacted? By selling Saudi Arabia another $1.15 billion in arms on top of the $20 billion provided since the war began. By working to prevent Saudi war crimes from even being investigated at the United Nations. And by quietly deploying in May “a very small number” of troops to Yemen.
This reactionary war has shattered Yemen and left 12 million people—half the population—on the brink of starvation and another nine million in urgent need of humanitarian aid.
Libya. The U.S.-NATO bombing in 2011, carried out by Obama and Hillary Clinton in the name of saving lives, made life a nightmare for millions of Libyans. Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s ruler, was overthrown and Libya has been turned into an anarchic battlefield between gangster militias and a haven for jihadists, including ISIS. Thousands have been killed, 400,000 internally displaced, and perhaps 600,000 to a million have fled to neighboring Tunisia. No one knows how many have been among the thousands who’ve drowned in the last several years fleeing across the Mediterranean. Now, the U.S. has started bombing again and may have secretly deployed troops.
Syria. Five years into the Syrian civil war, the U.S. continues to insist that it’s an innocent bystander. They claim that the slaughter of 470,000 and the terror that’s caused 11 million to flee their homes is entirely the fault of the reactionary Assad regime, the Russians, and forces like ISIS. Yet on August 7, theNew York Times reported that the C.I.A. has been supplying anti-Assad “resistance” forces with TOW anti-tank weapons – knowing some will end up in the hands of the reactionary jihadist Nusra Front, linked to Al Qaeda. This has been part of a U.S. policy of cynically letting its enemies—Assad, Russia, Iran, and the jihadists—bleed each other while working to prevent any from winning decisively. This has included directly or indirectly backing ISIS and other jihadists via allies like Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which the U.S. backs and often operates through.
Now it’s escalating: In the last two years, the U.S. has launched more than 10,000 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, mainly against ISIS, but killing a minimum of 1,568 civilians, according to Airwars. More than 100 were massacred in two bombings in Syria alone in recent weeks. And the U.S. is adding to its 4,000-some troops in Iraq and sending ground forces into Syria.
Egypt and Bahrain. Obama has claimed the U.S. supports Arab uprisings against tyranny. In fact, it provides billions in arms to these tyrannies, who’ve unleashed their U.S.-trained militaries against mass uprisings. In Egypt, there were mass killings of protesters after the 2013 military coup—900 on August 14 alone—17,000 more were wounded and 41,000 detained, charged, or sentenced over the next year alone.
And this small sample doesn’t even touch the U.S. drone wars being carried out across the region, the U.S. trail of carnage and betrayal in Afghanistan, or its vicious support of the illegal settler state of Israel and its wars against, and occupation of, the Palestinians!