10/12/2015 - 17:00
10/12/2015 - 18:15

Oppose the bombing of Syria | US out of Shannon | End the vicious cycle of war and terror



Bombing will not destroy Da’esh (ISIS). The UK decision to extend its bombing of Da’esh to Syria will make the situation worse. The invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the bombing of Libya, have resulted in jihadi terrorism spreading. The 8,500 drone strikes on Syria already carried out by the United States, France and Russia have created more Islamist militants than they have killed. As we know from Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen, it is never possible to direct attacks solely at military targets: hospitals and whole cities are turned into rubble and many thousands of men women and children left dead and wounded. Disturbingly, all the signs are that the Da’esh base in Sirte, in Northern Libya, is now set to become a further target for more bombing.

The Irish government should refuse to participate in the perpetual cycle of war and terror. It has said it will provide assistance to France. It has invoked clauses in the Lisbon Treaty to justify it coming to the aid of any member state which is a victim of armed aggression, ‘by all the means in its power’. This pulls Ireland into military alliances. Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that the government will send additional Irish troops to Mali or Lebanon in order to free up French soldiers for their war on Da’esh.

The use of Shannon by US troops needs to become an election issue. Approximately 1,000 U.S. troops are now on the ground in Iraq, with more on their way. 2.25 million US troops have passed through Shannon since 2002, Shannon is a military staging post for the US war on terror. This may mean that Shannon is on Da’esh’s target list. The Irish government, despite earlier promises by some to close Shannon to US troops, is presently criminalising individuals who highlight the militarisation of Shannon.

End the escalating arms trade. While bombs fall, profits are made. Last year the UK sold £3bn worth of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, whose billionaires fund Da’esh and armed groups in Syria and Iraq. Ireland, too, participates in the arms bonanza. Last year alone, the Irish government issued almost 800 licences to exporters producing component parts for use in military goods abroad. Ending arms sales to the most reactionary states in the region should surely be the first step towards diminishing the threat of Da’esh.

The only way to deal with Da’esh is for western military intervention to stop. The Irish government, instead of cheering on bombing campaigns, should be promoting a ceasefire. It should be advocating a political solution to allow the people of Syria, Iraq and Libya to begin building the political structures which will side-line Da’esh. Ireland should stop repeating the EU refrain that the Paris attacks must mean closing the borders. If we are serious about helping people in Syria, we need to be offering the hand of welcome to its victims of war.