For the avoidance doubt

Press statement

The following is a copy of a press release issued January 2016 to explain Stop the War’s position on the Syrian bombing  and to refute certain false allegations.

For the avoidance doubt

First Stop the War does not and never has supported the al-Assad regime in Syria, any more than it ever supported the Taliban, Saddam Hussein or Gaddafi. This has been reiterated in a statement on the national website. Likewise Stop War also opposes Russian intervention and made this clear when it started its bombing campaign. As stated previously external intervention only worsens the problem.

We did welcome the Arab Spring stating “the uprisings sweeping the Middle East deserve our support. They are directed against autocracies which have denied their people basic rights and the possibility of a decent life”. Unfortunately these did not achieve their desired aims. Egypt is now ruled by another army dictator President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who was recently given the red-carpet treatment at Downing Street by our Prime Minister, showing how much he cares about human rights.

As for targeted bombings, there is no such thing as a bomb so sophisticated that it always hits its target, even supposing the target is legitimately, legally and correctly identified. There have been numerous examples of civilian casualties in this conflict, not all by Americans, but, for example, a recent US strike in Raqqa this month is reported to have killed some 20 civilians.

The   Economist has also reported that the US ‘has acknowledged that its rules to avoid civilian casualties are looser in Syria’ than elsewhere.’

Stop the War prioritises its opposition to British involvement because we live here, we vote here and this is where we can have most influence. We have a right to say “not in our name” and to continue campaigning for British withdrawal from the Syrian conflict, just as Canada did recently.

Frank Stone

Member of the National Stop the War Coalition