November 17, 2015

SDS Says No to Increased US Intervention in Syria and Iraq, As Western Intervention Gave Rise to Terror in Paris and Beirut

On November 13th, a series of coordinated attacks of terror on several public spaces including a theater, a concert and several restaurants in Paris killed 132 people. This was exactly one day after a bombing killed 43 people in Beirut. On November 14th, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for both of these attacks.

Students for a Democratic Society is horrified by these attacks on innocent civilians, yet we recognize that these attacks did not not happen in isolation to the policies of the U.S., French and other Western governments, which have funded the Islamic State for years. We recognize that the people of France, Beirut, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen are paying the price for the policies of the French government and the US government towards the Middle East, and that these deaths should not be used as a call for increased Western invention and war.

After giving billions of dollars in arming and aiding the Syrian rebels in order to oust President Bashar-al Assad, the U.S. and French government have helped foster and create the largest refugee crisis since the end of World War II as men, women and children flee Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia and countless other Middle Eastern countries in order to escape U.S. airstrikes, drone bombings, and acts of terror carried out by ISIS, which the U.S. and France have been systematically funding. CNBC has reported that the US government “accidentally” furnished the Islamic State with weapons, vehicles, and supplies, spanning Abram tanks to Toyota vehicles to Army machine guns. Meanwhile, more than 60 million people have been forcibly displaced and 1,200 have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea alone.

The U.S. and its allies have been engaging in a bombing campaign of over 6,500 airstrikes that has killed at least 459 civilians since August of 2014, though the real number of undocumented civilian casualties is unknown. Documents provided by a whistleblower back in October known as “The Drone Papers” reveal that 90% of those killed in drone strikes are not the intended targets.

Ten days before the attacks in Paris, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the U.S. will begin “direct action on the ground” against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and that U.S. troops are currently engaged in combat. The Obama administration also ordered U.S. special forces to “assist” the fight against ISIS in Syria.
In the aftermath of the attacks on Paris, French president Francois Hollande promised to lead France into a “pitiless” war against ISIS. The French government has already begun airstrikes in Syria, dropping dozens of bombs on the city of Raqqa alone. Many top officials in both NATO and the U.S. military are now calling for even more aggressive and direct action in Iraq and Syria. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has stated that the U.S. should “declare war”.

We at Students for a Democratic Society believe that it is U.S. and European intervention in the Middle East that has given rise to the violence and suffering we saw for one night in Paris, yet every day in Iraq and Syria. We demand the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. military from Iraq and Syria as the only way to restore peace to the peoples of the Middle East.