US, BRITISH AND FRENCH AIRSTRIKES ON SYRIA WILL NOT HELP SYRIANS

US, BRITISH AND FRENCH AIRSTRIKES ON SYRIA

IRISH ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT (IAWM)PRESS RELEASE:15 APRIL 2018

The IAWM today condemned the recent airstrikes by the US, Britain and France on Syria which were ostensibly conducted as a response to the alleged chemical attack on Douma last week.

These actions will only further escalate an already dangerous situation for the people of Syria and between the main protagonists of the Assad Regime, Iran, Hezbollah and Russia on the one hand and the various rebel groups, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the US, Britain and France on the other.

The attacks are ultimately more about these western military powers protecting their own geopolitical interests and trying to distract their electorates at home, than they are about the expression of any care for the people of Syria. The airstrikes will do nothing to protect the traumatised Syrian people but will act instead to increase their suffering and the likelihood of further conflict, including between the major nuclear powers of the USA and Russia. The millions of dollars spent on this ‘operation’ could have been better spent helping the refugees, if there was genuine concern for the Syrian people.

“I was sickened to wake up this morning to hear that Trump, May and Macron have illegally dropped over 100 missiles on Syria, and to hear May purporting that they represent the 'international community,' when they sought no agreement from their own governments beforehand and clearly do not represent the majority of their own people!”, said Glenda Cimino, US citizen and IAWM Steering Committee member.

“Opinion polls in the UK indicate that there is little support [22%] for bombing Syria, so shame on this bloodthirsty triad for dragging people into an escalated war when ordinary people want diplomacy, peace and evidence of truth rather than presumptions. It looks like they believe one illegal act deserves another. Meanwhile the missile manufacturers are laughing all the way to the bank,” she said.

The air strikes are also deeply cynical as it is clear that there was some sort of liaison between the US and Russia militaries in order to reduce the likelihood of Russian personnel getting killed or injured. British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson has openly admitted that they were intended just to “send a message” to the Assad regime following the alleged chemical attacks.

The genuine outrage felt at the alleged chemical attack in Douma over one week ago has been used by these powers as an excuse to carry out these airstrikes. But there is still no evidence as to who carried out this attack. Certainly the brutal Assad regime has carried out such attacks before. But there is also evidence some of the rebel groups have access to chemical weaponry. The best way to assess culpability for the attack in Douma is to have an independent inquiry and representatives from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had just arrived when the airstrikes were launched.

In any case, whether or not a chemical attack occurred, the US, Britain and France have no moral or legal right to bomb Syria. They did not seek any government or UN approval but even if they did they still have no right. All three countries have a long history of illegal military intervention and aggression, including the use of chemical weapons – remember the widespread use of Agent Orange in Vietnam and their ally Israel using white phosphorus in an attack on a school in Gaza in 2009.

They are currently supporting and arming Saudi Arabia in its military assault on Yemen which has killed thousands of Yemenis and left millions homeless. They continually, unapologetically support Israel in its daily suppression of Palestine, including recently in the killing of 32 protesters and the wounding of hundreds more. The hypocrisy of these western powers therefore is quite galling.

It is also telling that the US, British and French Governments are actively preventing traumatised Syrian refugees from entering their countries. If they wish to help Syrians they should let the refugees in.

Jim Roche, PRO of the IAWM noted:
“Instead of engaging in meaningful peace all three powers have for years cynically manipulated the Syrian civil war to their own ends turning it into a proxy war with the Syrian population trapped in the middle. According to Airwars (https://airwars.org/), the West has been involved in more than 50,000 bombing raids in Syria in the last four years, killing thousands of civilians. These latest western airstrikes just add to the carnage.”

The IAWM says:
• Stop all bombing in Syria now
• Have an immediate and lasting ceasefire
• Conduct an independent investigation into the chemical attack in Douma
• The UN to be empowered to instigate a massive humanitarian effort to ease the plight of ordinary Syrians and to allow refugees to return home should they wish
• All foreign militaries should leave Syria

There is no military solution to this conflict. It is time for peace to prevail.

END
Contact:
Jim Roche, PRO, Steering Committee IAWM, Tel. 087 647 2737
Glenda Cimino, Steering Committee IAWM, Tel. 086 124 9456
John Molyneux, Secretary, Steering Committee IAWM, Tel. 085 735 6424
Memet Uludag, Steering Committee IAWM, Tel. 087 7919307
Edward Horgan, Steering Committee IAWM, Tel. 085 851 9623
Michael Youlton, Chair, Steering Committee IAWM, Tel. 086 815 9487
Fatin Tamini, Steering Committee IAWM, Tel. 086 0267721

For more information on the IAWM see:

Website - www.irishantiwar.org

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