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Statement from Mobilization Against War & Occupation - MAWO
October 24, 2014

Since the beginning of June 2014, the open wounds of Iraq caused by sanctions, wars and occupations have grown deeper. This is when the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS, also known as ISIL) began an onslaught against Iraq, establishing control of important border crossings, cities and territories in Iraq through terrorist actions directed against Iraqi civilians. As of June 29, ISIS had taken control of Iraq's second largest city, Mosul, and declared a “Caliphate” state in the areas under their control in Northern Iraq in opposition to the Iraqi state. Fighting between ISIS and the Iraqi military forces continues, imposing more violence and destruction on the people of Iraq who are already facing the daily reality of a country devastated by over 11 years of U.S.-led war and occupation.

In response to the ISIS terrorist attacks, the U.S. government has sent 770 troops (with the possibility of many thousands more to be sent) into Iraq. The majority of them, 470, are charged with security of the gigantic U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The remaining have been assigned as so-called 'military advisers' to assess the training and condition of the Iraqi Army which the U.S. government built-up and trained as part of the ongoing occupation of Iraq. Increased U.S. troop presence in Iraq has been accompanied by F-18 jets, Apache helicopters and drones on surveillance missions and their influence has been expanded to also include the protection of Iraq's main airport in Baghdad.

The U.S. government has justified their increased troop presence by claiming that they are sending troops and military equipment to Iraq in order to help bolster the efforts of the Iraqi army in their fight against ISIS and to help Iraq achieve stability. But how is this possible when, in fact, it is the U.S. government itself that is the biggest destabilization and terrorist force in Iraq? U.S.-led war, occupation, destruction in Iraq over more than 20 years has caused the deaths of at least 3 million people. 500,000 children alone were killed by 12 years of devastating U.S. sanctions that began in the 1990s. Sanctions were followed by 11 years of the occupation which began with the March 2003 carpet bombing and invasion and continues on to today. This occupation has resulted in the complete destruction of medical, educational and sanitary infrastructure, with all factors of quality of life in Iraq plummeting under the assault of the full force of the U.S. military.

These are the open wounds in Iraq created by the US government and their allies. But, really, the question must be asked: what are the roots of an organization like ISIS? First of all, ISIS is the product U.S.-led war and sanctions, that combined left Iraq broken and divided. Western occupying forces utilized the age-old strategy of “divide and conquer” as they fomented a bloody sectarian war in Iraq that turned brothers into enemies in order to defeat a powerful Iraqi resistance to U.S./U.K occupation. ISIS has also benefited from Western military, financial and covert intervention in Syria. They are one of the many so-called rebel forces in Syria that operate with the support and backing of the U.S. government, and funding and support from U.S.-allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. On top of this, it is also clear who is benefiting from the ISIS attacks on Iraq. The U.S. government and their allies need an unstable and divided Iraq in order to continue their occupation, resource theft and struggle for complete hegemony in the Middle East.

Mobilization Against War and Occupation - MAWO is standing with antiwar coalitions and peace-loving people around the world in demanding “No to Another U.S. War in Iraq!' What the people of Iraq need is not more U.S. troops, drones and war-planes; the people of Iraq demand their self-determination. People in Iraq are completely capable of defending themselves against any foreign intervention including ISIS. The march of ISIS is not the result of a sectarian battle in Iraq, as Western media might have us all believe. It is the product of imperialist intervention in Iraq, Syria and across the Middle East. It is the result of the new era of war and occupation that began with the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

While MAWO condemns the recent tragic terrorist actions in Ottawa and Quebec, including the attack on Parliament Hill, which resulted in the loss of two innocent and unarmed soldiers, however, this should not distract us from the terrorism which the government of Canada is responsible for against the hundreds of thousands of innocent people of Iraq and Syria. Canada is now sending six CF-18 fighters, two surveillance aircrafts, an air-to-air tanker and 600 military personal to take part in air strikes on Iraq. The government of Canada is also responsible for terrorizing the people of Afghanistan with over 13 years of war and occupation. As well, the terrorism that has been inflicted upon indigenous people in Canada for hundreds of years by all administrations and governments both before and after Canada's foundation as a modern state still remains unaccounted for.

The acts of terrorism in Ottawa and Quebec are only made more tragic as they are being used to justify the government of Canada’s war drive and the further killing of innocent people under war, occupation and military aggression for the sole purpose of colonization of third world countries. Military aggression by the Government of Canada against Iraq and Syria is the continuation of their participation of wars and the brutalization of former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Libya. Since the beginning of the new era of war and occupation all governments of Canada have participated in joint terrorist actions against colonial and semi-colonial countries. Now, the government of Canada, a terrorist itself, is trying to scare working and oppressed people in Canada about the danger of "home-grown" terrorism “.The only purpose of this fear-mongering is to allow the government to rule in an atmosphere of fear and suspicion; to justify their further military aggression abroad; and to severely limit democratic, human rights, and civil liberties in Canada in an attempt to suppress voices of decent and opposition at home.

MAWO is committed to continuing to organize against any forms of imperialist intervention in Iraq and Syria. We oppose the Harper regime's use of fear mongering and Islamophobia, especially after the recent tragedies, to justify further wars and occupations. We invite all peace-loving people to join our peaceful direct actions to demand:

No to Another U.S. War on Iraq!
U.S./Canada Out of Iraq Now!
U.S./Canada Hands of Syria Now!
Stop bombing Iraq and Syria!

Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO)