U.S. jets are bombing Syria again this month, part of an overall pattern of military expansion during the Obama administration that’s seen military involvement in dozens of conflicts.
WASHINGTON — As the United States renews a bombing campaign against ISIS forces in Syria, it seems like America’s penchant for waging war knows no bounds. During the first seven years of Barack Obama’s presidency, the U.S. bombed seven countries while supporting other destabilizing military actions throughout the Middle East.
Here’s a look at these seven countries and the effects of bombing:
- Afghanistan — Despite the announced “end” of the Afghanistan War, significant U.S. military presence in Afghanistan remains. Drones are a frequent presence in Afghan skies. One strike earlier this month killed 12 people, according to Iran’s PressTV.
- Iraq — The Obama administration has conducted over 5,000 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria in just the past year, David Lerman reported for Bloomberg Business. Despite ongoing U.S. military involvement, terrorism continues to be a deadly presence in Iraq’s cities.
- Libya — While the European Union and its allies carried out many of the airstrikes during Libya’s civil war, the U.S. was instrumental in destabilizing that country through both military aid and direct support, especially during the lead up to Gen. Moammar Gadhafi’s overthrow in 2011. Now ISIS is also gaining a stronghold here and the country has been described as a failed state.
- Pakistan — Drone strikes are also frequent in Pakistan, where the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimated that only 4 percent of the victims could be identified as al-Qaida members. Although drone strikes on Pakistan began under George W. Bush, their frequency has dramatically increased under Obama, RT reported last year.
- Somalia — Over 100 U.S. troops have been stationed in Somalia since 2007, Reuters reported last year. In September, the U.S. again carried out airstrikes there, apparently killing Ahmed Abdi Godane, leader of the extremist group Al-Shabaab, which the U.S. claimed was allying with al-Qaida.
- Syria — The U.S. renewed its bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria earlier this month, with U.S. war planes taking off from bases in Turkey. Airstrikes were also used in a failed attempt to defend “Division 30,” the failed American attempt to train so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels.
- Yemen — U.S. cables revealed by WikiLeaks show that Yemeni officials have allowed airstrikes, which began under George W. Bush, to continue under the Obama administration. RT reported last year:
“US bombing raids in Yemen are almost solely carried out by drones and they have been increasing in intensity in recent years. … A report by Human Rights Watch in 2013 analyzed six airstrikes in Yemen carried out since 2009. The organization found that out of the 82 people who died in the airstrikes, 57 were civilians.
In all, the U.S. has bombed 14 predominantly Muslim countries since 1980. The death toll from all modern wars in the Middle East may be as high as 4 million dead Muslims and Arabs. Repeated military campaigns have destabilized the Middle East, giving rise to terror groups like ISIS, allowing for sectarianism to blossom, and necessitating further bombing, in what Ron Fullwood, writing for MyMPN, called a “perpetual protection racket.”
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