Stop western intervention in Syria

by New Worker correspondent

DOZENS of people gathered in Grosvenor Square last Saturday to protest at western interference in Syria and proposals from the British and US governments to arms the rebels — who include many extreme Muslim fundamentalists like Al Qaeda. The protest was organised by the Stop the War Coalition.

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

It is for the people of the Middle East to decide their own future. The western powers have a record and history of intervention which has been a key source of the region’s problems.

According to Stop the War (STW), less than a quarter of the public believes that the Government should arm the rebels in Syria, according to a poll in the wake of Britain’s support for the lifting of an EU arms embargo. Just 24 per cent back giving weapons or military supplies to the forces fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s army.

Public opinion would not be behind any military intervention, no matter how hands- off. In a sign of the public’s changing attitude towards Britain’s role in the world, 78 per cent of those polled said that they believe Britain is too overstretched as a result of Iraq and Afghanistan to intervene in a new conflict.

Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) believe that Britain can no longer afford to act as a major military power. More than two thirds (69 per cent) believe that Britain should restrict the military to protecting British territory and providing humanitarian aid in times of crisis.