Linklog entries in December 2015

Friday, 4 December 2015

Why won’t Stop the War engage with Syrians? 

The Economist reports that the Stop the War coalition have been marginalising Syrian voices and accuses the organisation of being:

not anti-war so much as anti-West.

Labour MP Jo Cox wrote this week that the Stop the War coalition:

don’t seem to know or care that there is already a war in Syria and has been for many years. If they were really the ‘Stop the War’ coalition they would have been actively campaigning for resolute international action to protect civilians and end the war in Syria for many years.

Syria Solidarity UK released a statement explaining why they would not support the recent Stop the War demonstration, even though both organisations oppose airstrikes. They stated:

Syria Solidarity UK and Stop the War have very different concerns regarding Syria: Syria Solidarity is concerned with ending the suffering of Syrians under the Assad dictatorship; Stop the War with opposing any UK military involvement regardless of consequences for Syrians.

We oppose the British government’s proposal to merely mimic the American ISIS-only counter-terrorism war; not only do we believe it is immoral to fly missions in Syria against ISIS while leaving the even greater killer, Assad, free to bomb civilians en masse, we also believe that any war against ISIS that doesn’t put the needs of the Syrian people first will be a failure that can only prolong their suffering.

Stop the War similarly oppose British government proposals to bomb ISIS, but not because they would leave Assad alone; for Stop the War also oppose any action against Assad. This puts Stop the War against Syrians who are being bombed by Assad.

If Stop the War’s slogan “Don’t bomb Syria” is to have any meaning, let them demand the end of the regime whose bombs have killed so many.

If Stop the War oppose imperialism let them demonstrate their sincerity outside the Russian Embassy. Let them demonstrate with placards calling for Russia to stop bombing Syrian hospitals.

It’s right that Stop the War, as a western organisation, submits western propaganda to close scrutiny. Britain has done great harm in the world as well as good. But Stop the War should apply this same scrutiny, alongside its humanitarian values, to all people in all countries.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Vote tomorrow on British airstrikes in Syria 

I’m utterly confounded by the media’s focus on the internal divisions within the Labour party, rather than on the critical decision that parliament will vote on tomorrow.

All our energy should be spent questioning the Prime Minister about his plan. What is the logic of bombing ISIS and what will it achieve? Paul Mason wrote that the key questions are:

What is the world going to look like when we win?

What do we want at the peace conference, and what will our own society look like after the struggle is over?

Where is the long-term political plan for Syria? Why isn’t this the question dominating the airwaves? What do the Syrian people want?

Labour party politics may be an interesting side-story, but its a dangerous distraction.

Considering the fact that David Cameron looks likely to win the vote tomorrow in favour of military action, why aren’t his arguments being subjected to maximum scrutiny? Everyone seems to be interrogating Corbyn who is currently looking to be the weaker force. A bizarre misuse of press power.

It’s not only Labour MPs that are divided by this issue. Conservative MP David Davis, for one, has argued that he’s not yet convinced by the case for war because he doesn’t know the political endgame or the full military strategy. Peter Hitchens pointed out that the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Mail have taken contrary for and against positions.