Today marks the 20th. anniversary of the war and occupation of Iraq by the United States of America and its allies. The 2003 “Iraq war” constituted a flagrant violation of international law and of the sovereignty of that country, a crime launched based on a campaign of lies, going down in history the unspeakable staging by the then US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, in the UN Security Council, by presenting a list of falsehoods regarding the existence of “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq which, as it turned out, did not exist.
The aggression against Iraq in 2003 and the spiral of war that it triggered, following the 1991 “Gulf War” and ten years of imposition of criminal sanctions and attacks on Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, resulted in millions of deaths and wounded and in many millions of displaced people and refugees. One of the most developed countries in the Middle East, which for decades had consolidated a non-confessional regime, saw its infrastructure and its economy destroyed by war and sanctions, with devastating consequences for its entire population.
None of those responsible for the destruction and occupation of Iraq, or for associated crimes such as the ignoble torture in US prisons in Iraq – of which Abu Grahib was the darkest example – has ever been called to account for their war crimes and their lies, or for statements such as those by Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State, who stated in 1996 that the death of half a million Iraqi children as a result of the sanctions then in force “was worth it”.
On the contrary, the subservient and collaborationists of this policy of war and lies were rewarded. Durão Barroso who, as prime minister of a PSD-CDS government, shamefully linked Portugal to the war and occupation of Iraq, hosting in our territory the infamous Lages Summit, between Bush, Blair and Aznar, on March 16, 2003, was promoted to President of the European Commission the following year.
US, UK, Australian and Polish military forces participated in the war against Iraq. Several other countries, including Portugal, later sent troops to secure the occupation. Even today, and despite the demand by the Iraqi Parliament for the full withdrawal of foreign troops, more than 2,500 US troops remain in Iraq, which fuel destabilisation in the country and in the region.
The war and occupation of Iraq by the US and its allies is just one of many examples of the strategy of war and confrontation promoted by US imperialism. March 24 marks the 24th. anniversary of the beginning of NATO bombings against Yugoslavia, following the first of several NATO enlargements to Eastern Europe. Yesterday, March 19th, 12 years have passed since the beginning of NATO bombings against Libya, at a time when the US and its allies were also setting in motion the plan of interference and aggression against Syria, arming and financing terrorist organisations and paving the road to war against yet another country in the Middle East.
Those who now claim to be immaculate defenders of international law and of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States are the same ones who decided, carried out or supported these and many other violations of the UN Charter and the rights of peoples, leaving behind a trail of chaos and destruction that continues to this day.
The war and occupation of Iraq in 2003 represented a new qualitative leap in the strategy of forcibly imposing the planetary hegemony of US imperialism after the disappearance of the Soviet Union. It was a crime that made it very clear that the aggressive strategy of the US and its allies is aimed at all countries that assert their sovereignty and independence, regardless of their social and economic systems. It is in this context that imperialism promotes an escalation of confrontation and war, namely in Ukraine, which includes the encirclement of the Russian Federation and, in an increasingly open way, of the People's Republic of China, involving the real danger of a world catastrophe.
Capitalism in deep crisis always finds billions to finance the war and to bury in its financial system plunged into endless crises. But for the peoples, it leaves the increase in exploitation and the attack on their rights, impoverishment, deprivation, destruction. It is up to the peoples to resist and fight against this policy of regression, plunder and war, which constitutes a danger to the very survival of Humanity, by raising a broad anti-imperialist front, for peace, sovereignty, justice and social progress.