Saturday 31st August: national demonstration – no attack on Syria

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Air strikes launched against Syria will serve no humanitarian purpose. Instead, this looks very reminiscent of the lead up to war against Iraq: a rush to bomb the people of another sovereign nation as well as to further destabilise the Middle East with an attack justified by as yet completely unproven allegations. Added to which, given the potentially catastrophic geopolitical implications, this is brinksmanship of the most extreme kind. We must try to rally to stop this latest attack before we find the Middle East engulfed in flames and the world teetering on the edge of all-out nuclear conflict.

You really don’t need to be a close student of history to see the dangerous precipice the world is hurtling toward. If the west decides to launch an attack on Syria then the Syrians have openly warned (on BBC news – I watched the interview with one of their government advisers) that they will respond, and not only with a well armed reprisal against whatever “coalition of the willing” finally amasses forces off the eastern Mediterranean coast, but directly against Israel. They say that Iran will join forces in this response. Meanwhile, both Russia and China have also increased their warnings saying that an attack would lead to “catastrophic consequences” for the region:

Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich has called on the international community to show “prudence” over the crisis and observe international law.

“Attempts to bypass the Security Council, once again to create artificial groundless excuses for a military intervention in the region are fraught with new suffering in Syria and catastrophic consequences for other countries of the Middle East and North Africa,” he said in a statement.

If we are to avert another disaster like the one a decade ago when Britain joined America in an illegal war then we need huge numbers of people to mobilise as quickly as possible. So I am pleased to see that Stop the War Coalition is organising a national demonstration and very much encourage people to join the protests – numbers really count at a time like this.

The main protest is taking place in London:

Stop the War Coalition, 31 August 2013.

National Demonstration: assemble Saturday 31 August, 12 noon, Temple Place, London (nearest tube Temple)

The national demonstration on Saturday will gather at Temple Place (near Temple tube) and march via Parliament and Downing Street, ending in central London for a political rally to say No attack on Syria.

Called by Stop the War and CND.

Travel arrangements

If you are arranging to travel in a group to London on Saturday please let us know so we can advertise coaches and meet-up points here.

There will also be a smaller events for those who cannot make it to the capital including a protest in Sheffield at the same time:

Gather outside Sheffield Town Hall at noon on Saturday 31 August

Click here to find information at Stop the War Coalition website.

*

Letter to David Cameron: No UK intervention in Syria

Stop the War Coalition, 09 May 2013.

Opinion polls show that a majority of the British public are opposed to the government escalating UK intervention in the Syrian war. On Thursday 9 May 2013 at 3pm, Stop the War Coalition delivered the following letter to David Cameron, UK prime minister, at 10 Downing Street, urging the government to abandon its interventionist policies.

Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing to express our alarm at the increasing intervention by the UK government in the civil war which is now taking place in Syria. We believe that the future of Syria is for the Syrian people alone to decide, and that your actions can only worsen the situation.

Your campaign to increase the provision of arms to the Syrian opposition in response to allegations of chemical weapons being used makes no sense. There is no clear evidence that chemical weapons have been used, or by whom. Carla Del Ponte, a member of the UN Commission of Inquiry taking testimony from victims of the Syrian conflict, has recently expressed ‘strong, concrete suspicions’ that sarin nerve gas is being used by opposition forces. And even in the event that chemical weapons have been used, you have failed to make the case as to why arming one side would improve rather than aggravate the situation.

There has long been covert arming and provision of aid to the opposition by various powers, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UK, France and the US. Israel has now engaged in its second bombing raid on Syrian territory, in flagrant violation of the rules of international law.

The lifting of the EU arms embargo and the direct arming of opposition groups can only further fuel what is already a bloody civil war which is causing immense harm to many Syrians and which is threatening to further destabilise the whole region. Already fighting has spread to parts of Iraq.

The aim of the intervention so far has been to effect regime change, again illegal under international law. The solution in Syria cannot lie in further militarising the conflict, or in intervention by Western powers.

We fear that the aim of those intervening is to change the face of the Middle East, by weakening the influence of Iran through attacking its allies such as the Syrian government and Hezbollah in Lebanon. The recent Israeli air strikes on Syrian targets are part of this process and represent an act of war against another country.

We believe that it is for the people of the Middle East to decide their own future and that the Western powers have a record and history of intervention there which has been a key source of the region’s problems. We also believe that majority opinion in Britain, according to recent polls, is against such intervention, especially if it is designed to effect regime change.

We therefore urge you to abandon your interventionist policy.

Yours,

Jeremy Corbyn MP Chair, Stop the War Coalition
Lindsey German Convenor, Stop the War Coalition

Read the same letter at the Stop the War Coalition website.

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