Warmongers are using the downing of a Russian jet killing 224 passengers and crew as justification for a new war in Syria.
Defence secretary Michael Fallon claimed it was “morally wrong” that Britain was not bombing Syria because Isis is “a very direct threat to us in Britain”.
Yet there is no evidence that Russia’s recent bombing campaign has made Russian citizens safer—if anything the opposite is true.
David Cameron disgracefully invited Egypt’s military president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to Downing Street last week.
He said Sisi was helping to stop terrorism in the region.
Yet if, as recent reports suggest, the plane was bombed, it is proof that Sisi’s repression is not stopping terrorism.
The crackdown has led to the destruction of whole towns in the Sinai desert, where the plane came down. It has actually seen a growth in recruitment to Isis and other Islamist groups.
But for sections of the British ruling class the war drive is part of the project of maintaining Britain as a world player. A new report by former intelligence officers and diplomats laments the fact that Britain is not fighting more wars.
It complained that the “shadow of the UK’s participation in the Iraq War” had led governments to “shy away from significant foreign policy engagements”.
Such imperialist aspirations also drive spending priorities. Philip Dunne, Britain’s defence procurement minister, argued that a defence spending review due in two weeks should reflect the need for influence in the Middle East.
This means more arms sales to the Gulf regimes including to Saudi Arabia. Dunne claimed this will “broaden and strengthen our contribution to the security and stability of the region”.
But the danger of losing a new vote for bombing Syria, after defeat in August 2013, haunts the Tories.
Then the vote was about bombing the forces of dictator president Bashar al-Assad. Today it is about bombing Isis forces fighting Assad.
Tory foreign secretary Philip Hammond said last Sunday that part of the Tories’ calculation was whether the “majority of Labour MPs would in fact back this action”.
The party is divided on the issue (see right).
But imperialist intervention is not the answer to the rise of Isis or to Assad’s brutal rule. The solution can only come from within Syria itself.
Assad has unleashed a war against all opposition to his regime that has led to 250,000 dead and over four million refugees fleeing the country.
The spread of Isis throughout Syria and Iraq is a product of the conditions left by the Iraq war.
Any new airstrikes will provide Isis with the defence that they are fighting imperialist attack. This can help build support for Isis rather than break it.
No fly zones are no answer
The media attacked the Stop the War Coalition last week for its stance against no fly zones.
Socialist Worker argues that no fly zones are not an alternative to imperialist military intervention. They are another form of it.
Such zones have to be policed by fighter jets and ground to air missiles. Now that Russia is flying bombing raids the risk of even greater escalation is high.
The political decision about which aircraft are allowed and which are the “enemy” will be taken by imperialist powers. They are only concerned with pursuing their own interests.