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Vol. 71/No. 7      February 19, 2007

Imperialist fragmentation, not liberation
Columnists in the big-business press have begun to dangle the “Bosnia model” as the panacea for Iraq. A quick look at the breakup of Yugoslavia makes it clear that this has nothing to do with advancing the interests of working people, from the Balkans to the Middle East or anywhere else.

In the decade prior to the formal dismemberment of Yugoslavia in 1991-92, and throughout the 1990s, Washington took advantage of competition between rival gangs of aspiring capitalists from the crumbling Stalinist regime in Belgrade to fuel divisions along national lines and fan the flames of war.

In the early 1990s, the U.S. rulers allowed the bloodletting between Albanians, Croats, and Serbs, between Christians and Muslims, to reach a level they hoped would weaken the economic foundations of the Yugoslav workers state and could be used later as rationale for military intervention by Uncle Sam to stop the “ethnic cleansing.”

Washington’s goal was not to stop the slaughter or establish “democracy.” It was to strengthen U.S. supremacy in Europe, overthrow the workers state established in Yugoslavia through a workers and peasants revolution in 1945, and reimpose capitalism in that country. U.S. and other imperialist troops have occupied Bosnia for 11 years and have continued to foster national divisions to achieve their aims. Bosnia remains fractured along national lines and is run by the “imperial presidency” of a United Nations High Representative.

The same is true in Kosova, an autonomous region of Serbia, where the occupying NATO forces have played on the just demands of the Albanian majority for self-determination to further fracture the former Yugoslavia. (For a factual description of these points see “10 years since imperialist intervention in Bosnia” and “How U.S. imperialism, allies fueled Yugoslav war” in the Dec. 26, 2005, and Jan. 9, 2006, issues of the Militant.)

Capitalist politicians and mouthpieces for the bourgeoisie in the media are now using similar rationalizations for the war in Iraq. They argue that if the U.S. forces pull out the Iraqis will slaughter each other. Or they propose “soft partition” of the country and limited autonomy for the Kurds. This is another case of fragmentation of the world fostered by U.S. imperialism and its allies. It has nothing to do with national liberation.

While talking about autonomy for Iraqi Kurdistan, Washington is working hand-in-glove with Ankara to crush the Kurdistan Workers Party on the Turkish side of the border with Iraq. The U.S. rulers are simply using the historic struggle for Kurdish national liberation to advance their goal of establishing a stable regime in Baghdad friendly to U.S. interests in the region.

The bloodshed caused by factions of the Iraqi bourgeoisie competing for power, territory, and control of natural resources—fostered by the occupation forces—is the product of the continued breakdown of the imperialist world order.

Just like in Bosnia and Kosova, the only road forward for working people and the oppressed nationalities is for U.S. and all “coalition” troops to get out of Iraq, Afghanistan, and all the other theaters of Washington’s “global war on terrorism”—now.

Getting the imperialist military boot off their necks would give time and space to working people in the region to develop the leadership they deserve. A revolutionary leadership capable of charting the road to overcome national and other divisions and advance the toilers’ interests, which include self-determination of oppressed nations.
Related articles:
U.S. rulers use each bombing in Iraq to escalate imperialist war
London, Washington are sending more troops to Afghanistan
‘Imperialism’s spreading wars and financial disorder in face of irreversible strengthening of working class’
‘Fusion centers’ centralize spying data for federal, local cop agencies
U.S. Special Forces fighting ‘terror’ group in Philippines
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