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News > World

5 Disastrous US-Led 'Humanitarian Interventions'

  • A 1992 photo from Somalia shows how

    A 1992 photo from Somalia shows how "humanitarian" western interventions are. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 February 2019

teleSUR reveals the brutality of western "humanitarian intervention" through cases of five countries. 

The United States has been calling for “humanitarian intervention” in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for weeks as an effort to oust President Nicolas Maduro and install right-wing opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido as the country's president. 


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The North American country has continually tried to send humanitarian aid to Venezuela via its allies in the Caribbean and in Colombia to curtail the “poverty” that they are responsible for by imposing harsh economic sanctions against the South American country.

“With the U.S. imposing new sanctions on Venezuela (essentially banning it from profiting from its one major export, oil) as well as recognizing National Assembly President Juan Guaido as “interim president” (Guaido swore himself in and has no constitutional claim to the office), it is plain to see history repeating itself, with the U.S. using the same dirty tactics as before,” wrote Scott Patrick.

The “dirty tactics” Patrick mentioned have been given a nicer name-“humanitarian intervention” i.e. to intervene in a sovereign country on the pretext of helping humanity. These interventions are done by the military of Western countries who consider themselves champions of human rights.

teleSUR takes a look at five countries that the U.S. and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) had intervened in, in the past, revealing the inhuman face of the humanitarian intervention.

1) NATO intervention in Libya:

On March 2011, a multi-state NATO coalition began a military intervention in Libya which led to the brutal killing of President Muammar Gaddafi, on the hands of violent factions supported by the Western alliance. 


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“Back in 2011, NATO leaders, egged on by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, went to war with what were subsequently found to be wildly inaccurate intelligence reports concerning potential state reprisals against civilians,” wrote William Whiteman.

Libya had strong oil-revenue backed social spending programs that were destroyed as the state collapsed along with other pro-people policies of Gaddafi.

Apart from the complete destruction of institutions, political and economic system, the human casualties in Libya also show a grim picture.

The UNHCR estimates at least 434,000 people have been internally displaced in Lybia since 2011. As many as 25,000 people were killed that

The nation is now mired in violence, with rival militias and two separate governments fighting for power amid the rise of the Islamic State group.

Libya 2011. | Photo: Reuters

2) Iraq wasn’t spared either:

In 2003, 16 years ago, Iraq came under attack from the interventionist U.S. government when then-President George W. Bush presented the invasion as saving the world from Saddam Hussein’s secret stash of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).


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Till now no such weapons were discovered and the CIA itself later admitted that it had failed to find any such weapons despite assertions from the Bush admin. Prior to destroying Iraq and committing mass murder of ordinary Iraqi citizens, Iraq had nationalized oil in 1958 and was normalizing relations with the then Soviet Union.

The so-called humanitarian intervention to save the world from Iraqi WMD, led to looting in Baghdad and other major cities, destroying infrastructure leaving behind a broken country which is still reeling from 2003 intervention.

Most recent estimates say more than 200,000 Iraqis have been killed since 2003 as a direct result of the U.S. Iraq invasion, although some put the figure as high as a million people. More than 70 percent of those were civilians. Meanwhile, more than three million people remain either internally displaced or have fled the country.

Iraq 2018. | Photo: Reuters

3) How can we forget Syria?

Syria needed democracy and the United States was one of the first governments to recognize and support the Syrian anti-government forces just months after massive protests against President Bashar Assad in 2011. The United States government of Barack Obama provided weapons, training and intelligence support for the anti-Assad forces in an effort to "restore democracy." Such actions gave rise to extremist factions in Syria, including groups connected to Al-Qaida, while the power vacuum in the country gave rise to the Islamic State group in both Iraq and Syria.

It was not until 2014 that the United States, along with 12 of its pro-intervention allies, finally directly got involved in the country to fight the Islamic State group, a direct consequence of the Iraq invasion a decade ago. The U.S.-led coalition carried out thousands of airstrikes in Syria since then, leading to the death of thousands of civilians. 


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What ensued was one of the worst wars in this century killing around 364,371 people by August 2018, including 110,613 civilians. More than half of the Syrians have been internally displaced. 

A destructed Syria. | Photo: Reuters

4) Somalia Was also 'blessed' with a U.S. intervention:

In 1992, the deceivingly-named Operation Provide Relief, a so-called humanitarian effort by the United Nations reached Somalia. When that didn’t succeed in calming down an in-fighting nation, then-President George H. W. Bush proposed intervention by the U.S. troops. 


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Twenty-eight countries also sent their troops after Bill Clinton reduced troops in the country after taking office in 1993. The U.S. still has a military presence in Somalia aimed at protecting the U.S. and other Western countries backed government against al-Shabab, which came as an extreme and dangerous consequence of U.S. intervention in the country. 

The U.S. interest in Somalia is much more geopolitical. The Horn of Africa’s northern coast is important as a trade route and a volatile country is not profitable for the U.S.

1992 Somalia. | Photo: Reuters

5) Haiti, one of the earliest interventions by the U.S.:

Haiti was occupied by the United States from 1915 until 1934. And again in 1994, the U.S. troops landed in the country to oversee the democratic transition in the country.


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The first time the U.S. was supposedly protecting Haiti from German invasion by keeping its military there and also controlling the country’s finances during which the U.S. troops massacred people protesting against the occupation.

In 1994, the “Operation Uphold Democracy” showed the presence of the U.S. military in Haiti to oversee the peaceful transition to democracy which was brokered by then U.S. President Bill Clinton.

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