Tuesday 24 November 2015

Don't bomb Syria - weaken ISIS by cutting off its funds and arms supplies

I am publishing this letter to Dawn Butler from local activist Sarah Cox as a Guest Blog in the light of Dawn Butler's call for constituents to give her their views on the bombing of Syria. Butler's poll is HERE

 I have just sent this email to Dawn Butler. Please email her too. You can do it through the Stop the War Coalition website Home or write your own email LINK
Dear Dawn Butler,

Thank you for your very thoughtful reply to my previous email to you about the possibility of Britain joining in the bombing of Syria. I would like to ask you to consider again how dangerous and indeed counterproductive such a course of action would be.

I am sure you agree that policy decisions should be evidence based, not the result of knee jerk reactions or simply about this country's position in the world, so I am asking you to consider the following facts:

The US has been bombing ISIS positions for a year now and far from reducing the number of ISIS fighters or the area of land they control, both have increased. In fact it has been argued by some Middle East experts that US bombs act as recruiting agents for ISIS.

The bombing and invasion of Iraq did not bring peace and stability to that country, in fact ISIS was born out of the divisions in Iraqi society introduced by the US sponsored Iraqi government.
The bombing and occupation of Afghanistan have not brought peace or stability to that country, nor did NATO forces succeed in their stated aim of eliminating the Taliban, which still controls large parts of the country.

Allied bombing of Libya has not brought peace or stability to that country, in fact it has resulted in the creation of a chaotic failed state in which ISIS is able to recruit and organise.

Only today we learn that Turkish forces have shot down a Russian plane, claiming it was over Turkish airspace, while Russia insists it had not left Syrian airspace. How sensible is it to send more planes into the already crowded airspace over ISIS positions in Syria?

There are up to six million civilians living in the areas under ISIS control. Do you seriously believe that US, French, Australian, Jordanian, Russian and, if this country joins in, British bombs can distinguish between innocent civilians and ISIS supporters any more than the bombs dropped on Dresden (arguably a war crime by today's standards) did between Nazis and ordinary people suffering under Nazi rule?

Can there be any justification for dropping bombs on ISIS because they behead and inflict other barbarous punishments on the people in the areas they control, while continuing to supply arms to Saudi Arabia and other states which also behead and inflict barbarous punishments on people living in their countries? Saudi Arabia does behead people publicly, contrary to what David Cameron says, earlier this year they advertised for eight more executioners and recently sentenced a Sri Lankan woman domestic worker to be stoned to death, yet Britain regards Saudi Arabia, which arms and supports ISIS as a friend and ally.

Surely Jeremy Corbyn is right to say that the priority must be to cut off funding, support and arms supplies to ISIS and to seek a political solution to the immensely complex situation in Syria?

As for the threat of terrorist attacks in this country, I believe that indiscriminate bombing and increasing Western intervention in the Middle East make these more likely and that cuts to police funding will make us less safe. At the same time, a climate of rising Islamophobia, cuts to youth services and policies like the Prevent strategy that seek to silence debate about foreign policy or issues like Palestine could increase disaffection among young Muslims.

Thank you for taking the time  to read this. Please vote against further bombing of Syria and support policies that weaken ISIS by decreasing or stopping its funding and its arms supplies.

Yours sincerely,
Sarah Cox

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