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April 3, 2013

War Update: Haiti, Syria, Libya

By Seth Rutledge

A look at US imperialism through out the world including the UN occupation and corporate exploitation of Haiti; the destruction of Syria through proxy forces; and the ongoing conflict and chaos is Libya resulting from the US/NATO intervention and destruction of the Libyan government in 2011.

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Here's an updated look at the role of U.S. imperialism throughout the world:

Haiti: The US has been involved in Haiti for decades, using military force to repress popular resistance to corporate exploitation of the country's resources. Since a US coup in 2004 ousted Haiti's democratically elected government, the UN has controlled the country and installed a regime marred by electoral fraud, exclusion of political opposition, executive overreach, and paramilitarism. The current government, however, has been powerless to stop the exploitation of Haiti's mineral resources by international mining companies that were recently granted 1/6th of the total land in Haiti and pay only 2.5% royalties. International sweatshops have also been set up in Haiti's "free trade zones," where they are exempt from taxes and duties and can pay workers as little as $4.50 per day, while receiving subsidies. One such complex, the Caracol Industrial Park, forcibly displaced 366 farming families in 2011 from 250 hectares that had been producing 1,400 metric tons of food per year.

In 2010, the UN mission in Haiti brought cholera to the country, which has so far caused more than 8,000 deaths and 600,000 illnesses. The UN, however, has refused to allocate the funds necessary to end the epidemic, despite spending nearly $677 million on maintaining its 10,000-strong military occupation force. The UN mission serves both as Haiti's military and police force, and Haitians have taken to the streets to protest its presence. A crowd recently burned down a police station, after which UN peace keepers were forced to use tear gas to disperse it.

Syria: The US is attempting to install a puppet regime in Syria, by which it hopes to isolate Iran and break the independent spirit of the nation. In pursuing this goal, the US has facilitated an air drop of 3,000 tons of weaponry for the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and is also training FSA fighters in Jordan. The US has pledged an additional $60 million to purchase armored vehicles and other equipment for the FSA. Israel, which receives nearly $4 billion in US military aid per year, has been treating wounded FSA fighters. In another action, Israel has permitted a US energy company to extract oil from the Golan Heights, which is Syrian land Israel has occupied since 1967 that provides one-third of Israel's water. The FSA has clashed with Hezbollah in Lebanon, vowing to eliminate Hezbollah's military/political organization in Lebanon.

Libya: After attacking Libya several times since the 1970s and finally succeeding in destroying its government, the US installed a puppet regime in the country in 2011. The deadly repercussions of this action continue to plague the Libyan people. Ongoing inter-militia fighting has recently displaced more than 3,000 people and disrupted oil exports.

The brutal siege of Bani Walid finally quelled armed resistance to the NATO-installed government in October, 2012, but the country is now under the control of militias and protest continues in the face of repression. The nominal Lybian government declared the south a closed zone of military operations and established a military governor.

Since the NATO invasion, Libyans have faced a myriad of difficulties. They include: restriction of free speech; drugs, arms, and human trafficking; a soaring murder rate; persecution of Christians and Sufi's; and the repression of women. The US has deployed marines allegedly to combat terrorism, but the groups they are allegedly combating control large areas. One such group is Ansar al-Sharia, which is accused of leading the assault on the embassy in Benghazi that killed US ambassador Stephens.



Submitters Bio:

Seth Rutledge is a writer and activist from Syracuse, NY. Follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/SethLRutledge

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