Venezuela Crisis: A Look Back at Three Times US Meddling Led to Catastrophe

Friday, January 25, 2019
By Paul Martin

The US has recognised Venezuelan National Assembly chief Juan Guaido as the country’s “acting president”, prompting President Nicolas Maduro to accuse Washington of trying to stage a coup. Sputnik looks at a few other times the US forgot about democracy and supported would-be leaders who attempted to gain power by circumventing the ballot box.

According to ex-State Department officer and respected historian William Blum, the US has intervened to overthrow or attempt to overthrow foreign governments, including those of its own allies, over fifty times since 1945.

To prevent the current article from turning into a thousand-page opus, here are a few examples of US efforts to meddle, either politically or militarily, in the affairs of other nations over the last decade, with these efforts having disastrous consequences.

Syria 2011

In March 2011, piggybacking on the wave of Arab Spring protests sweeping much of the Middle East and North Africa, cities across Syria were hit with protests calling for the overthrowal of the country’s government. Attempting to placate his opponents, President Bashar Assad instituted a series of sweeping reforms, including a modified constitution based on political pluralism, as well as presidential elections and term limits.

Unsatisfied with the reforms, the opposition, provided with arms, funding and political support by the US and its allies, started to wage a direct armed conflict against the Syrian government. American investigative journalists later discovered that the State Department and CIA continued to provide militants with weapons, vehicles “and other gear” even after it became clear that their ranks had been swamped by jihadist extremists, including al-Qaeda*. In mid-2014, the war was joined by Daesh (ISIS)*, which captured swathes of Syria.

In the brutal conflict which followed, at least 400,000 Syrians died, according to a 2016 UN report, with much of the country’s infrastructure destroyed and over 12.5 million people internally or externally displaced.

Since then, with Russian military assistance provided at Damascus’ request, the Syrian government managed to liberate the vast majority of territory from the motley collection of militias and terrorists, crushing Daesh in the east and confining the rest of the militants in a small enclave in northwestern province of Idlib. Nevertheless, despite its battle against Damascus being clearly lost, Washington and its allies have refused to recognise the Assad government’s legitimacy or provide aid to rebuild the war-torn country, even while promising to finally end the US’ illegal military presence in the country.

Libya 2011

Taking advantage of the same, ill-fated Arab Spring in 2011, US officials, backed by their British and French allies, took aim at Libya, led by long-time “thorn in the West’s side” Muammar Gaddafi. In the spring of 2011, President Barack Obama accused Gaddafi’s “brutal regime” of having “lost the confidence of his people and the legitimacy to lead,” with the US and about a dozen of its NATO allies soon launching a campaign of airstrikes against the North African country when it became clear that the revolt was about to be crushed by Gaddafi’s forces.

The campaign, culminating in the destruction of the Libyan government, the brutal, highly publicised murder of Gaddafi, and the victory of anti-government rebels, many of them Islamists, was a short-lived victory for NATO. Since 2011, tens of thousands of Libyans have died, hundreds of thousands more have fled the country, and the North African nation has essentially collapsed into a collection of warring factions.

The Rest…HERE

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