Fast on the heels of the US admission that the crisis of the Yazidis was not everything Obama had told us, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said: “There are fewer people there and they are in better condition than expected.”
This is not to say that the Yazidis that are on the mountain do not need aid desperately. They do. But where did the 40,000 facing imminent starvation figure and the claim of a non-existent siege come from? Cameron is not saying. But in the wake of those claims he has declared that effectively the UK -- as ever on American coat tails -- is about to embark on a new Iraq war, under the guise of “humanitarian intervention”:
“It is very difficult in an area where you have got a lot of fighting taking place, you have got a lot of people moving around,” says Cameron.
“So what you need to do is have plans that are flexible enough to respond to that situation. It is important to get the assets into place. That is why the Chinooks are there. That's why our Tornados are there.”Tornados are assault fighter jets that Cameron says are only being used for surveillance. But a number of MPs, taking their cue from the media that publicised the inflated Yazidis crisis, want a recall of parliament to allow Britain to join the US in launching air strikes against forces from the ISIL -- in short, they want another war in Iraq by the very states that caused such mass slaughter and destruction last time.
Clearly nothing has been learned from the disasters of Afghanistan and Iraq. Or Libya, where 30,000 died as a result of the sort of bombing the warmongers are urging now. Iraq could be on the brink of another full scale war that will further devastate a country already imploding as a result of the invasion launched in 2003 by George Bush and Tony Blair.
A tale of two sieges
What was Obama's response to the United Nations declaring Gaza a humanitarian disaster, as essential resources ran out and medical facilities collapsed, following Israel's brutal assault that killed two thousand Palestinians -- most of them civilians, over 400 of them children -- and injured ten thousand more?
Did Obama say the “international community” cannot stand by when such an atrocity is taking place, and authorize military strikes to stop Israel's random bombing of hospitals, schools, water and sewage facilities and power stations?
Did he rush military “advisors” to see how the siege of Gaza could be broken, as he did when it was the Yazidis in Iraq who were supposedly suffering a siege?
Did he organise aid drops by the US airforce to bring food and essential supplies to the people of Gaza under siege, as he did to the Yazidis?
Did he call Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to tell him the barbaric attacks had to stop immediately or else the US would end its support and annual aid to Israel of $4 billion a year? Without this political and economic support, Israel could not continue its endless violations of international law during the 66 years that it has stolen Palestinian land and oppressed the Palestinian people.
No? Then what did Obama do about the humanitarian disaster in Gaza?
When Israel's fuel stocks for its armed forces in Gaza were running low, Obama rushed a tanker to Israel to enable stocks to be replenished, so the Israeli campaign of mass murder could continue.
And as Israel's profligate use of shells and bombs thinned out its stock of weapons, the US opened its ammunition stockpile to make sure the world's fifth most powerful military force could continue bombing the population of one of the world's most crowded areas.
No wonder Netanyahu was so effusive about the support Israel got from “best friend" Obama during the attack on Gaza.
Not only did Obama and Cameron support “Israel's right to defend itself” with this mass slaughter, they had little to say about Israel's inhumane siege of Gaza that has brought unimaginable suffering to its 1.8 million inhabitants for over seven years.
Why the discrepancy between the sudden impulse to rush aid to the Yazidis and the lack of action to alleviate the parlous condition of Palestinians in Gaza?
Simple. Israel is a pivotal ally in the US and UK strategy to maintain control of the region that contains the world's most valuable asset: oil.
Israel, like the swathe of Arab dictators and despots in the region who serve US interests -- from Egypt to Bahrain -- can get away with war crimes, torture and mass murder of opponents, without the slightest risk of a “humanitarian intervention.”
Ending the siege of Gaza will require the continuing growth of the worldwide solidarity movement for Palestinian rights. On 9 August 2014, hundreds of thousands protested on the streets of cities and towns across the world. These included the 150,000 protesters in the largest ever UK demonstration for Palestine.
We need to turn this movement into pressure on our political leaders who support Israel crimes against the Palestinian people, whatever atrocities are committed. Central to this movement must be the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) campaign that has grown so significantly in recent years: it needs to have a real economic impact on Israel, just as the boycott campaign against apartheid South Africa did.
War is spreading -- in Palestine, Iraq, Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan and beyond. Polls show consistently that the majority of people, in the US, UK and allied countries, oppose the war policies of their governments. The need for an anti-war movement that actively mobilises to give voice to the anti-war majority was never clearer.