People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 39

September 30, 2012




US Policies: Blowback


THE speech by President Obama at the United Nations General Assembly shows that nothing has been learnt by the United States administration from the recent events in North Africa and the Middle East. The speech suffused with insolent projection of American interests and values failed to conceal what has now become increasingly clear – the destructive impact of US imperialist policies in the Middle East and the Arab world.


Obama harped on the invaluable role the US has played in support of the people fighting for liberty in places like Libya and Syria. The killing of the US Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in Benghazi recently has brought in sharp relief the dangerous consequences of the US Nato intervention to bring about regime change. The US Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed by armed groups who attacked the American mission, the very same rebels who were armed and supported by the US and the Nato bombardment there. It is the Islamists and the Al Qaeda supporters among the “liberators” who turned their guns on the diplomatic mission.


The only secular Arab government, which remains, in Syria, is sought to be overthrown by a civil war which is being fuelled by the United States and its Nato allies like France. There would have been a Nato intervention to overthrow the Assad government months ago, but for the double veto exercised by Russia and China. What is being witnessed in Syria is a vicious civil war where Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding the rebels, Turkey, a Nato partner is coordinating the supply of weapons and the sending of armed groups into Syria and the Shia-Sunni conflict is being exacerbated with the aim of targeting and isolating Iran.


Obama in his UN address lauded the intervention in Libya and reiterated “we again declare that the regime of Bashar Al Assad must come to an end”. Impartial observers have reported how the armed revolt financed, equipped and backed by the reactionary Arab states and Turkey are increasingly flooded with Jihadi and Al Qaeda fighters. More and more sectarian strife is rearing its head with the Alawite and Christian minorities in Syria being subjected to indiscriminate violence. The Syrian conflict is now spilling over into Lebanon and affecting Iraq. After Benghazi, it is very unlikely that the United States can intervene directly in Syria, but it will make every effort to dislodge the Assad regime even if it means the destruction of Syria and the rise of Islamic fundamentalist and extremist forces in the region.


Iran, which is the next target of the United States for a “regime change” was also threatened by Obama in his speech. Under pressure from the rightwing Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to draw the red lines on Iraq’s nuclear development, Obama responded by stating that the “United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon”.  In order to appease Israeli bellicosity a huge armada of naval ships have been conducing exercises in the Persian Gulf targeting Iran.


Having dealt with the efforts being made by the United States to implant “democracy” and “freedom” among the benighted people in West Asia, Obama then turned his attention to the raging protests which had engulfed all the Muslim countries from Indonesia to Tunisia against the crude anti-Islam film produced in the US. While rejecting the vulgar film which denigrates the Prophet, Obama explained that American Constitution protects the right of free speech. That is why no step can be taken to prohibit or suppress the film. He then proceeded to denounce the demonstrations and acts of violence directed against the US missions in Yemen, Tunisia, Pakistan and other places. International norms for the freedom of expression and free speech which are provided for in the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights are qualified. The covenant states “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement, discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law”.


In America and Europe there is an increasing tide of anti-Islamic propaganda and Islamophobia. Insulting the religious sentiments of the Muslims and their deeply held beliefs are considered of less consequence as compared to upholding the right of any obscure newspaper or film producer to spout venom against Islam and its Prophet. So the Muslims worldwide have to learn to appreciate these great Western values.


President Obama’s message to the Muslim world is clear – democracy, liberty and the right to dissent are all Western values and they have to be followed by all, especially those which do not share these values.  The blow back to the US policies is manifesting all over, from Libya to Afghanistan. But the United States, trapped in its imperial vision, cannot change course.