The US attack on ISIS and the inconsistencies of the ‘anti imperialist’ left

August 12, 2014 at 8:17 am (imperialism, internationalism, iraq, islamism, Middle East, Obama, posted by JD, reactionay "anti-imperialism", reblogged, Stop The War, Syria, terror, United States, war)

As ever, with a reblogged article, please do not assume that all of us at Shiraz agree with all the contents of this piece, which first appeared on the Australian GreenLeft discussion group:


Above: the US Answer anti-war coalition last year on Syria: what do they say now?

“Anti-imperialists” protesting US war on Iraq?

By Michael Karadjis

For days now, the US military has been launching air strikes against the reactionary Sunni-fascist group Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS, or just IS now) in Iraq. Yet, strangely, not only have I not seen any evidence of anti-war demonstrations, or organising for them, I have also not seen the entire faux-“left” cybersphere full of fulminating attacks on US imperialist intervention, with everyone repeating and slightly re-wording the same half-baked, evidence-free article, like we saw last August during the alleged build-up to an entirely imaginary US attack on the reactionary, secular-fascist regime of Bashar Assad in Syria.

The geopolitics is of course interesting. While the Syrian regime of Assad barely fired a shot at ISIS for an entire year (and vice versa), and instead both focused on crushing the Free Syrian Army (FSA, and its more moderate Islamist allies, and also Jabhat al-Nusra), often even directly and blatantly collaborating against the FSA, and in oil deals, and “the West”, forever refusing to send even a bullet to the FSA under the bullshit rubric that such arms “might get into the hands of extremists”, even though for the whole year, the only force in the entire region (apart from the Kurds) that were actually fighting ISIS (the worst extremists) were the FSA and its allies (and indeed are still furiously resisting ISIS in Syria right now); well now that the US is bombing ISIS, and bolstering and arming Assad’s ally, the sectarian-Shia regime of Maliki, so now the Assad regime and ISIS have also FINALLY come to blows! What an amazing coincidence!

Anyway, let’s try to figure out some differences for anti-war western leftists.

Perhaps we should only oppose US interventions when they are just a figment of our imaginations, as opposed to ones that are actually happening in our face.

Perhaps we should only oppose imaginary US interventions when the US shows that it is impossible to intervene without going around in a whole lot of circles like countless committee meetings, taking a war proposal to Congress for the first time in half a century etc, whereas when the US shows that you can order air strikes without all that pretense, then it is OK.

Perhaps it should depend on the degree of imaginary “anti-imperialism” of the reactionary tyrants under real or imaginary US attack. So apparently, since the Syrian Baath regime has collaborated with US imperialism for decades, right up to the rendition and torture program of “terror” suspects on behalf of the US in very recent times, and slaughtered Palestinians and their camps and organisations and militants with a passion rivalling the Zionist regime, we should defend such a well-intentioned regime, whereas a regime like ISIS which is totally, fundamentally anti-imperialist to the core (I don’t use that as a compliment, rather it is a neutral statement), then we should not oppose a US attack.

Perhaps we should look at who has done the most slaughtering. Both of course are monstrous tyrants to the core and neither has any redeeming feature whatsoever. But since ISIS has probably killed several thousand, and Assad has pretty much levelled every city in Syria, turned the whole country to rubble, killed over 100,000 people to be generous, tortured tens of thousands to death in medieval dungeons, bombed hospitals and schools with a fury rivalling Israel in Gaza, and at that very time, last August, had bombed hundreds of children in their sleep with chemical weapons, of course we should defend only Assad, not ISIS.

Perhaps someone could offer some other suggestions.


  1. charliethechulo said,

    The author of the Australian GreenLeft piece was, presumably, unawaren of the degeneracy and incoherence of the UK Stop The War Coalition and Sami Ramadani:

  2. Lamia said,

    Initially they were defending themselves against accusations that they cared more about Palestinians than other civilians in the Middle East, but in the past few days, the SWP, STWC, Lindsey German and ‘Young Socialist of the Decade’ Owen Jones have all not just justified their monomaniacl focus on Israel-Palestine, they have specifically opposed US intervention in Northern Iraq.

    They really do not give a damn at all about stopping the atrocities against civlians in Iraq – real genocide, not the fake Gaza kind. They know full well that the ongoing genocide will continue unabated if there is no US action, but their ‘anti-imperialist’ purity is more important to them than the lives of Yezidi, Christian, Kurd and Shia men, women and children. Remember that the next time they start weeping with angry piety over dead Gazan children.

    The ‘anti-imperialist’ section of the left is motivated only by hatred of certain nations, not by any of their vaunted ‘compassion’. It is calculating and callous. Anyone decent still within their vicinity really ought to walk away from those groups and individuals now.

  3. Jim Denham said,

    According to the (UK) ‘Stop the War Coalition, ISIS is “just one factor in a larger popular revolt against the Malaki government” !!!!

    Fuckin’ unbelievable!!!!

    Getman, Rees, etc are simply scum and all half-way decent anti-war people should now walk away.,

  4. Jim Denham said,

    Incidentally, some comrades seem to have misunderstood the Karadjis post, thinking it’s giving some kind of implied support to ISIS:

    I can’t see that he is in any way defending ISIS. His article is heavily sarcastic. Unless I completely misunderstand he is using what he takes to be a tacitly accepted view across the entire left that ISIS is so bad that we can’t back ISIS, or even denounce full-throatedly the US bombing them, to take a pop at the people who support, or semi-support, Assad in Syria on the grounds that “imperialism” is on the other side.

  5. Sue R said,

    To be honest, I found this piece incomprehensible.

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