Bombing won’t bring peace in Syria or security in Scotland

cm-anti war demo edinburgh-3 dec 2015

DON’T BOMB SYRIA: anti-war demo, Edinburgh, December 2015 (Photo: Craig Maclean)

by Bill Bonnar Bombing Syria is not a strategy. It is what you do when you don’t have a strategy. The government want to use the bombings in Paris as an excuse to start a bombing campaign. This is represents a cynical piece of manipulation and emotional blackmail. Any such decision will have little to do with events in France. The government have been pushing for this for months because they are under intense pressure from the United States to do so. Paris represents a useful excuse. The government’s case for bombing fails to answer two central questions. How will escalating the war in Syria lead to a ceasefire and peace negotiations all agree are necessary to end this conflict? How will bombing Syria make the country safer from acts of terrorism?

The answer to both questions is that it won’t. The purpose of the various bombing campaigns has been to intervene in the civil war on one side or the other to ensure that side triumphs and the interests of the bombing country is advanced. At the same time a bombing campaign would have done nothing to prevent the Paris attacks and only fuel the desire for further attacks.

This is simply the latest stage in a series of disastrous western interventions in the region. The attack on the Iraq effectively destroyed that country, made it a haven for Islamic terrorists which was unheard of before, caused a civil war almost without end and fuelled an enormous refugee crisis.

The misguided attack on Libya destroyed the country with similar outcomes. The intervention in Syria has fuelled a bitter, many sided civil war and the biggest humanitarian crisis this century.

The alleged purpose of the bombing would be to ‘degrade and destroy’ ISIS yet there is no evidence that this has been the case so far. One claim has been that 20,000 ISIS combatants have been killed.

Leaving aside the fanciful nature of this assertion how many of this 20,000 were actually innocent civilians in the wrong place at the wrong time? And how many of the sons, daughters, husbands and wives of those killed will now flock to ISIS looking for revenge against the terrorism rained down on them from the sky?

There is also an element incredible hypocrisy in the these actions. As the demand for military action grows so does the evidence of western collaboration with ISIS. It is known for a fact that Turkey has been covertly supporting ISIS in their ongoing struggle with Kurdish rebels in the region and buys significant amounts of oil from them.

Evidence also suggests that in the early years of the Syrian civil war the United States enthusiastically supplied ISIS with weapons in their ‘heroic’ struggle against the Assad regime.

Of course there is a major precedence for this. During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan the United States helped organise, support and finance the Taliban including Osama Bin Laden helping to turn it into the major force it is today.

This support only ended during the post soviet civil war between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. Both armies were basically a set of medieval, women hating barbarians. The United States sided with the latter because they were more corrupt and a bit less ideological and therefore more likely to do deals with Washington.

As the demands for intervention build so does the anti-war movement with demonstrations, petitions, mass meetings and campaigning all over the country. They recognise what many people in Britain instinctively know.

Such intervention will not bring an end to the conflict in Syria and will not make them any safer from terrorism. The opposite will be the case. British involvement will follow its own logic towards escalation. Besides the public, post Iraq, are sensitive to government lies on such matters.

In Scotland, the government has already set its face against intervention and reflects overwhelming public opinion. The Labour Party, as ever, are in crisis on the issue and have turned it into a kind of virility test on whether Jeremy Corbyn has what it takes to make ‘tough’ decisions and prove he is prime minister material.

That many Labour MPs and most of the Shadow Cabinet are prepared to play internal party politics with such a crucial issue will not be lost on many.

The Scottish Socialist Party, with others on the left, will campaign solidly against the bombing of Syria. The ending of all foreign intervention and a political settlement is the only way forward.

In the meantime the Scottish people will continue to hold out the hand of friendship to Syrian refugees; the principle victims of terror in that country.

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