No to NZ, US and all western military intervention in the Middle East

In leading US ally Saudi Arabia public beheadings are state policy
Another ISIS beheading?  No, this is in leading US regional ally Saudi Arabia, where public beheadings are state policy and very common

The following is the text of a leaflet being produced by Redline blog.  As well as appearing in text form below, it will appear as a downloadable leaflet in the next day or two.  We hope that blog readers/supporters will download and distribute copies.

It’s often pointed out that Islamic State is a barbaric organisation trying to establish medieval-type social control.  It is also, however, a repository of the dispossessed, the marginalised, the fanatical, the extreme, and, yes, the evil.  ISIS is not the main source of barbarism, brutality and evil in the region, however.

George Bush, SalmanBeside the barbarism, brutality and evil of US imperialism ISIS are rank amateurs.  And while we recoil in horror at their public beheadings this is a common form of execution by the state in Saudi Arabia, one of Washington’s chief allies in the world.  John Key may mouth outrage at ISIS beheadings, but a mere few weeks ago he asked for NZ flags to be lowered as a mark of respect following the death of the Saudi dictator, “King” Abdullah, the man who presided over public beheadings and floggings by the state throughout his reign (as does his successor now).

The Washington-led intervention is about US imperialism establishing economic organisation and control of the region.  They have been at this for many decades and there is no part of the globe not in some way economically plundered by American companies and militarily and politically pushed around by the US government.  Today, in particular, they are plundering the Middle East. They are not there to establish democracy, they are there to steal other people’s oil and other resources.

The simple fact is that since the US and its allies, including the NZ Labour government of the time, invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the problems in the region have been made worse.  ISIS did not even exist until the US and its allies wrecked Iraq.

And it isn’t just US imperialism that we should oppose.  In this country and abroad, workers face the problem of NZ imperialism.

In the late 1800s, sections of the ruling class in this country dreamed of a white-ruled capitalist empire across the south Pacific, with its capital in Wellington.  Ever since then the NZ state, which embodies the interests of this country’s ruling class, has been interfering in other people’s countries.  Indeed, April will mark the 100th anniversary of our sordid attempt to invade Turkey, while November 2018 will mark the centenary of the massacre at Sarafand, when New Zealand soldiers butchered 137 civilians in that Arab village.

The US routinely murders civilians
The US routinely murders civilians

Last year marked the 100th anniversary of our grubby takeover of Samoa, a takeover which spelled disaster for the population of that country.  For instance, a quarter of their population was wiped out by epidemic due to the callous disregard for their health by the NZ authorities in charge there after World War 1.

Last December marked the 85th anniversary of the day on which NZ armed forces massacred about a dozen peaceful protesters in Apia, demonstrating for independence.

This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the final victory of the long struggle by the Vietnamese against aggression by France and then by the US and its allies, including the New Zealand ruling class.  Our exploiters were part of an especially brutal war against the people of Vietnam who had the temerity to want to rule themselves and chose a government not to the liking of the ruling elites here and in the USA.

Memorial to Samoan civilians gunned down in 1929 by NZ forces interfering in their country
Memorial to Samoan civilians gunned down in 1929 by NZ forces interfering in their country

In a sense, it is perfectly logical for the state and the ruling class that oppress us to send troops to Iraq.  After all, they have participated in every imperialist war going, and even tried to start a few.

But workers here have never benefited from such wars.  Our class has had to fight them, while being compelled to work harder, longer and faster for less in the name of the ‘national interest’ during wartime.  And workers abroad have suffered in the same way.  Moreover, workers in Third World countries like Iraq have suffered additionally because they are exploited not only by their own rulers but face being continually plundered, bombed, mutilated and murdered by imperialist invaders.

The ruling classes of many countries are united in wreaking more havoc on the oppressed peoples of the Middle East.  The working classes of different countries need the same degree of unity in order to resist capitalist militarism and the price we always end up paying.  And whereas the unity of the ruling classes offers the oppressed nothing but misery piled upon misery, the unity of the exploited and oppressed of the world opens up the possibility for the liberation of all of us.

No New Zealand troops to Iraq, or anywhere else!

Down with US imperialism and down with NZ imperialism!

Workers of all lands unite – it’s the only way any of us will ever be free!

Further reading

NZ elite win seat on Security Council – don’t celebrate, organise

The never-ending, ever-expanding war:

Syria-Iraq: the making of a catastrophe:

Iraq: a powder keg stoked and primed by imperialist power games:

Iraq: a disaster waiting to happen:

What’s tearing Iraq apart?:

The origins, economics and politics of the Islamic State group:


  1. Just to be clear, you’re saying that some combination of the US, NZ and the west is “the main source of barbarism, brutality and evil in the region” and not ISIS?

    • How long have ISIS existed? Surely it’s important to actually look at the root cause of these troubles, not the most recent symptom. Pretty basic.

  2. Sanctions imposed on Iraq killed at least half a million people, then the US and allies invaded and tore the country apart, with thousands more dying. One of the results of western powers tearing apart Iraq has been the rise of Islamic State.

    IS are Wahhabi and which state in the region is Wahhabi? Saudi Arabia, where the Wahhabi fundamentalists got into power with British support against more moderate Muslims in the 1920s and early 1930s. And subsequently, the US took over from Britain as the chief western backers of the Wahhabi regime in Saudi, complete with its public beheadings – the US-backed Saudi regime beheads dozens of people a year and yet we hear little to nothing of this of course.

    Imperialist intervention has been a disaster for the peoples of the region.

  3. Good leaflet.
    You forgot the Korean War. That was imperialist and brutal, and the NZ and Auz capitalists were especially keen on joining in. It coincided with the formation of ANZUS. Also a good example of a wartime climate being used to crush the working class an imperialist country, with the Waterfront Lockout

  4. Good point about Korea. We made that point in the article on 1951.

    It didn’t go in the leaflet simply because to include everything would have made it a big article rather than a leaflet. We could’ve said a lot more about Vietnam and about trying to set up an empire in the Pacific in the late 1800s too.

    Phil F

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