Thousands took to the streets last Saturday to protest against David Cameron’s drive to a new imperialist war.
Cameron put his case for bombing Syria in parliament on Thursday of last week. He claimed military intervention is the only way to keep Britain safe from a terrorist attack by Islamist group Isis.
“Every day we fail to act,” he said, “is a day where Isil can grow stronger.” But Britain has been bombing Isis for over a year in Iraq. The US and others have been bombing Isis in Syria and Iraq at the same time. Isis has become stronger.
Some Tories don’t support Cameron, but argue for ground troops. To win them Cameron claimed that Britain will ally with “about 70,000 Syrian opposition fighters on the ground who do not belong to extremist groups”.
This includes Kurdish fighters—although in Britain the government has banned the PKK Kurdish group it now wants to arm in Syria.
The claim of 70,000 fighters came from the Joint Intelligence Committee. This same committee lied about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction in Iraq “ready for firing within 45 minutes”.
There is no evidence for an alliance of groups in Syria willing to work with each other let alone the West.
Even Tory Julian Lewis, chair of the Defence Committee, questioned where this “magical” number came from.
General Sir Richard Shirreff, who was Britain’s army chief in Nato, said even if the 70,000 did exist it wouldn’t be enough.
He said, “To take a city of 350,000 is going to need a massive force. It’s not something you are going to achieve with 70,000 so-called Syrian moderates.”
The US tactic of arming so-called “moderate” rebel groups has been a shambles, as arms and equipment have ended up in Isis hands.
The Pentagon claimed in 2014 it was training 5,000 Syrian rebels at a cost of £400 million.
The US Senate Armed Services Committee exposed the project as a fiasco.
It asked the army chief in charge of the intervention in Syria, general Lloyd Austin, how many fighters had been produced.
Austin admitted, “We are talking four or five.”
Cameron’s call for war has plunged the Labour Party into crisis (see page 4). Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has a long anti-war history, faces a majority of pro-war Labour MPs in Westminster.
Cameron’s smooth speeches may persuade MPs of the case for war.
But the carnage and chaos more bombing will unleash can mean any war would come to haunt him just as Iraq haunts Tony Blair.