Don’t bomb Syria

GOVERNMENT plans to bomb Syria have again been put on hold largely because David Cameron cannot get enough support in Parliament for a new British military intervention in the Middle East. The handful of Blairite turncoats in the Parliamentary Labour Party are far outweighed by Tory rebels and Labour and the rest of the opposition, including the Scottish and Welsh nationalists and the Liberal-Democrats, who are totally opposed to sending the RAF into the fray.

In August 2013 Cameron’s Tory-Lib-Dem Coalition government lost a Commons vote on possible military action by Britain against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government by 285 to 272 votes. He lost the vote because Labour leader Ed Miliband took the principled stand to oppose sending the RAF into combat as part of US-led strikes backed by a significant number of Tory rebels who abstained or voted with the opposition.

Earlier in the week an influential committee of MPs warned the Conservative leader that he should not press forward for air-strikes until he could show there was a clear plan to end Syria’s bloody civil war and defeat the “Islamic State”. The Foreign Affairs Committee, which has a Tory majority, raised concerns about the legality of any British military intervention and said the Prime Minister should instead focus on efforts to end Syria’s civil war.

Conservative MP John Baron, who sits on the committee, said: “We just don’t need the deployment of more force. We need fresh thinking as to the West’s approach to this five-year civil war. The Government has proposed military intervention on both sides.

“What the West needs to do now is focus its efforts on forging a regional plan to combat the greater threat, ISIL (Islamic State), even if it means dropping our opposition to Assad in order to achieve this goal, otherwise we risk displaying the same strategic deficit and foreign policy mistakes as in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.”

Wise words indeed from a Tory who clearly reflects deep divisions within the ruling class over Syria. Even the most craven Tory and Blairite Atlanticists who believe that the interests of British imperialism are best served by always doing the bidding of the United States other sections of the Establishment are wary of getting embroiled in yet another American onslaught against the Arabs that can only end in the chaos that followed the US-led invasions of Iraq and Libya.

Though divisions within the ruling class may have stalled the drive to war in Syria for the moment we can never rely on the bourgeoisie to defend our own interests. Workers are suffering under an austerity regime of cuts, unemployment and economic stagnation. We must demand major cuts in military expenditure and the withdrawal of all British forces from the Middle East, which has long suffered from Zionist oppression and imperialist aggression. The resources should be switched from the wars in the Middle East to use for peaceful and civil purposes and creating jobs, which will be more fruitful for the British people.

Real humanitarian aid, rather than endless military interventions at great cost financially and in human terms, would do more to help the people of Syria, as would real progress towards the peace talks that the Russian and Syrian governments have called for in the international arena.

The anti-war movement has mobilised millions upon millions for peace. Following Jeremy Corbyn’s victory the Labour Party, and the labour and peace movement as a whole, needs to reassert itself to stop Trident renewal and any new drive to war in the Middle East.