Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 47 Number 10, May 27, 2017 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Election Campaign 2017

For an Anti-War Government: No to Aggression against Syria!

In recent weeks, there have been several newspaper reports claiming that Theresa May hopes to use any landslide election victory to force a vote in the House of Commons to approve military action against the armed forces of the Syrian government.

Several papers refer to briefings from an unnamed "senior Whitehall source" to the effect that the government would justify such military action on the grounds of preventing future gas attacks on civilians. The government still maintains that the gassing of civilians in Khan Sheikhoun in Syria last month was as the result of deliberate targeting by the Syrian air force -it even claims to have further evidence - rather than by attempts to destroy chemical weapons being deployed by forces hostile to the Syrian government, that are supported by Anglo-American imperialism and its allies. Just as in the period before the invasion of Iraq attempts are being made to justify invasion and war. It seems that the government intends that any strikes sanctioned by a House of Commons vote would again be launched to eliminate Syria's air force, once a suitable pretext could be established. However, government ministers such as the Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, refused to make any comment on the government's plans for a Commons vote following the election.

These Whitehall briefings come in the wake of comments by the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, who argued that the government would find it difficult to refuse if the US asked for military support in any subsequent attack on the Syrian government and, he indicated, that such support might be given without a parliamentary vote. Although there are some press reports of differences within the government over whether to move for a Commons vote or not, the clear intention appears to be to create the conditions for further military strikes on Syria in pursuit of the stated aim of regime change and the toppling of al-Assad's government. This aim was rejected in the recent report of the House of Lords Select Committee on International Relations, nevertheless it remains the intention of the government in alliance with other members of the warmongering US-led NATO which favours an invasion of Syria under the auspices of the UN.

Direct military intervention was immediately opposed by the other major Westminster parties - the Labour Party, Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens. Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, stated that a vote for the Conservatives "is a vote to escalate the war in Syria and prolong the suffering of its people", and "a vote to repeat the mistakes of Iraq", and she added that such warmongering risked an open conflict with Russia and Iran and that the government was blindly following the lead of US imperialist chieftain Donald Trump. The joint leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas, even argued that in the context of the election that "people need a say on foreign policy".

In the forthcoming election, no support should be given to the warmongers and those who conciliate with them but the election will not give people the ability to decide whether the elected government engages in further military intervention in Syria, or continues to interfere and intervene in other countries. Recent years have been witness to military intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and many other countries, which has been pursued in the interests of the monopolies and financial institutions and at the expense of the people of these countries, as well as the majority of people in Britain. No problems have been solved by the use of force, which has led to the deaths and suffering of millions and created more instability in the world. Such warmongering by successive governments has given rise to a significant and broad movement against war, which includes millions of people of many different political affiliations united in their opposition to war and in their demand that Britain withdraws from NATO and all military adventures around the world.

What needs to be developed are the independent politics of the working class and people. The independent political stand that we cannot expect a solution to the problem of war and peace from the political system as it currently exists nor from the Westminster cartel parties that have lied and created false justifications for intervention and war so many times in the past. Those who are aim to stay the hands of the warmongers must do their own thinking, oppose the disinformation of the powers-that-be and the mass media and develop our own anti-war actions, so as to build the people's movement against war. In this regard, we must consider how to develop the anti-war movement in such a way that we can create the conditions to establish an anti-war government based on the majority of people empowered as the decision-makers.


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