Tonight’s vote in the Commons about Cameron’s plans to bomb Syria has a relevance well beyond the UK borders. Things are heading towards a full military invasion with ground troops, with the direct involvement of Western and other armies.
The worrying thing about many objections to the airstrikes is that they point out how bombing won’t be enough, hence the “need” for a ground invasion. Obama has just announced a new “expeditionary force” based in Iraq that will be able to carry out attacks in Syria – in practice, US troops were already carrying out operations in Syria, now they have been given the green light to do so openly.
Many are evoking the spectre of a repeat of the devastation brought about by the wars in Iraq and Lybia, which killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and contributed to the rise of the Islamic State. Let’s be frank: this would be much worse.
Civilians would continue to be massacred as the Islamic State does not use conventional army tactics. It’s not clear who the allies and who the enemies are, with hundreds of smaller groups on the ground pursuing all kinds of agendas, many tied to fundamentalist groups and the Islamic State they should supposedly fight. And there is major friction among powerful countries and global superpowers jostling for positions, pursuing multiple agendas that cannot be reconciled, even with a common enemy. Once US, UK, France, Turkey, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others become directly involved, there is a real possibility of a global conflict.
What’s worst, you won’t hear the high trumpets of grand ideological statements of the Bush/Blair era. Rather, politicians in power are busy downplaying the reality and pursuing their own petty interests, hoping that things won’t get that bad, not this time.
UK is key in the alliance, because it has one of the strongest armies in Europe, but also because of its symbolic and ideological role as the closest European ally to the US. If you are in the UK, do whatever you can to stop the madness. If British MPs vote against airstrikes in Syria tonight, it would be a significant setback for this hypocritical and spontaneous alliance of opportunistic warmongers set upon mass destruction.
Visit Stop The War Coalition website for ways to lobby your MP and details on protest actions throughout the country.