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US and Britain threaten action against Syria

Issue No. 1974

The US is beating the drums of war once more. This time it threatens action against Syria.

The US is using a United Nations (UN) investigation into the killing of Lebanon’s former prime minister, Rafiq Hariri, to destabilise Syria. The report implicates Syrian and Lebanese secret services in the killing.

A senior US official told the Washington Post that the UN investigation presented “an extra­ordinary strategic opportunity” to pile the pressure on Syria, while Condoleezza Rice told the US Senate foreign relations committee that Bush has not ruled out “military force”.

Tony Blair discounted talk of invading Syria but added, “You don’t ever take any option off the table.”

The US and Britain have repeatedly claimed Syria is backing the resistance in Iraq allowing “foreign fighters” to flow into the country.

But a study by the Washington based Centre for Strategic International Studies has found less than 6 percent of resistance fighters come from abroad.

Both countries are now pushing the security council to implement punitive sanctions against Syria. John Bolton, George Bush’s hardline ambassador to the UN, wants a ban on all international flights to Syria and is pressing European states to cut ties to the regime.

The US hopes that its pressure on Syria will force it to end its opposition to the occupation of Iraq, and end its support for the Palestinian resistance and Lebanon’s Hizbollah.

There are fears in the US that toppling the regime of Bashar al-Assad might present an opportunity to his Islamic opponents who are hostile to the US. But the US hopes that sanctions and military pressure on the border can bring Syria to heel.

The continuing threats from the US and British make it all the more important that the anti-war movement builds the fight for peace. It gives added urgency to the International Peace Conference being held in London in six weeks time.

For more on the International Peace Conference go to A conference to win peace


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Sat 29 Oct 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1974
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