We call on all peace-loving Filipinos here and abroad as well as various nationalities residing in the Philippines to join the International Day of Action against the US war on Iran. We call for strengthened international solidarity to stop the escalation of armed conflict in Iran and the Middle East and for peace based on justice.
Recent developments between US and Iran and its implications
The assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by a US drone attack on Baghdad on January 3 prompted retaliatory missile strikes by Iran on US bases in Erbil and Baghdad, Iraq on January 8. There were no casualties reported in the strikes against the US bases. However, the precision of the attacks are a testament to the advancement of Iranian military technology. On the same date, a Ukrainian plane crashed in Iraq after being hit by a missile which the Iranian government days later would admit was the result of ‘human error’. While the US government has refrained from directly responding to the strikes, the international situation remains volatile as the US has imposed further economic sanctions on several of Iran’s industries. US President Donald Trump also threatened to bomb cultural sites in Iran as as warning to Tehran.
Foreign intervention in 20th century Iran
Western powers have set their sights on Iran for control over its oil and due to its strategic location as a land corridor between Europe and Asia. During World War II, the Allied Powers realized the importance of directing the Iranian state for their economic and political interests. In September 1941, the Allied powers facilitated the removal of Reza Pahlavi, head of the Pahlavi dynasty, and installed his son Muhammad Reza into power. In 2013, the US Central Intelligence Agency also publicly admitted their hand in the removal of Mohammed Mossadegh as Prime Minister in 1953, as Mossadegh sought to nationalize the Iranian oil industry.
The US Military Industrial Complex
Currently, the US has approximately 800 military bases around the world, and between 60,000 and 70,000 US troops are stationed in the Middle East, according to US Central Command. The acts of aggression against Iran over recent years is a bid to reassert its dominance in the Middle East, in an attempt to curtail Iran’s growing political influence in the region. It is also indicative of the systemic bankruptcy of US imperialism which has been experiencing a prolonged economic recession. Consequently, US warmongering in the Middle East fuels its military industrial complex and reaps profits for businesses which thrive in a war-dependent economy, such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing. While the billionaires running these companies have gotten richer, the working class peoples of the Middle East and the US pay the costs of war in currency and in kind — large chunks of national budgets are allocated for “homeland security”, military intelligence, weapons and equipment, while civilians in the Middle East carry the brunt of US aggression and continue to be exploited by the capitalist world order.
The Philippines and its role in the US-Iran Conflict
The precarious situation of overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East is a reminder of a crisis also extant in the Philippines: the lack of job security in the country has forced Filipinos to look elsewhere for the promise of better financial opportunity. Amid the escalating tension between the US and Iran, the Philippine government is scrambling to evacuate approximately 7,000 Filipinos in Iran and Iraq. President Duterte plans to send two battalions to assist in the repatriation of Filipinos in the region, with the proclamation of siding with the US against Iran should Filipinos be harmed. Duterte fails to recognize two things: first, that US escalated the conflict with Iran; second, that the safety of OFWs in the region will be further jeopardized in the face of an all-out war.
An all-out war also makes use of military treaties between the US and the Philippines, such as the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951, the Visiting Forces Agreement of 1999 (VFA), and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement signed in 2014 (EDCA). These treaties obligate the Philippines to support US wars by deploying Filipino military personnel, the continuous joint-military training of US and Philippine soldiers on Philippine soil, the construction of new military facilities and the use of existing ones in the country by the US. The presence of US troops in the country is in itself already a violation of Philippine national sovereignty and has historically resulted in the rape and murder of our women and other heinous acts of state terrorism which have gone unchecked.
In no way do US imperialist wars benefit the Filipino people, and Filipinos are in solidarity with the people of Iran and the people’s of the world who oppose imperialist intervention in the Middle East.
We thus call for mass actions, solidarity gatherings, peace marches and other events on January 25 to show that the world stands against another US-instigated war. Let us stand for peace and justice.
No to the US war on Iran!
Stand for peace and justice!