By Judith Orr
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2422

MPs vote to start bombing Iraq

This article is over 9 years, 7 months old
Issue 2422
Protesters outside Downing Street on the eve of the vote
Protesters outside Downing Street on the eve of the vote (Pic: Dave Gilchrist)

Britain is now set to attack Iraq for the third time in less than 25 years, after a vote in Westminster tonight, Friday.

MPs voted to bomb Iraq by a majority of 524 votes to 43. The attack could start within hours with RAF tornado jets flying from Cyprus.

MPs voted to back David Cameron’s proposal to launch air strikes to join the US, France and a number of Arab states in their assault on the country.

Cameron said, “This is going to be a mission that will take not just months but years, but I believe we have to be prepared for that commitment.”

MPs were recalled to parliament for the vote—and to their shame the majority of Labour MPs lined up to back the Tories’ new war.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said bombing Iraq was about “protecting our national interest, security and the values for which we stand.”

But Labour MP and chair of the Stop the War Coalition (StW) Jeremy Corbyn voted against the motion. He spoke to Socialist Worker on the eve of the vote as Stop the War Coalition protesters gathered outside Downing Street in London.

Jeremy Corbyn MP

Jeremy Corbyn MP (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Corbyn said, “This is the third time I’ve been asked to bomb Iraq and the third time I’ll say no.”

He pointed to the hypocrisy of the West in their arguments for the latest war drive, “they are joining with Saudi Arabia who frequently behead opponents of its regime to stop Isis who behead the opponents of their regime.”

MPs congratulated themselves on what many declared was a serious debate. The shadow cast by the last war on Iraq was acknowledged. But in speech after speech MPs claimed that somehow this war would be different.

Few pointed to the reality of the bloodshed and causalities that the vote would unleash on people in the region. The only justification was a vague aim to destroy Islamic State, the sectarian organisation formerly known as Isis.

The vote was on a motion to bomb Iraq, but many MPs were pushing to extend air strikes to Syria. Cameron even asserted that he could legally order action against Syria as well without a new vote, as it would be for “urgent humanitarian need”.

Even Miliband did not rule out spreading the war into Syria. He said it would be “better” if there was a United Nations resolution to justify such action.

Several MPs also refused to rule out sending troops on the ground.

Sami Ramadani, an Iraqi socialist and an exiled opponent of the Saddam Hussein, told Socialist Worker, “They failed to win a vote to bomb Syria last year because of opposition to war. Now they want to justify this new war with all the talk of tackling savagery of Isis.”

But in reality their motives are very different. “This is a chance for the US and West to reassert itself in the region,” said Sami.

Islamic State is a product of the sectarian regime created by the West after its invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The West used sectarianism to help crush opposition in Iraq, creating the conditions for Isis to grow. A new war allows Islamic State to pose as the militant opposition to imperialism, and so it can actually feed its growth.

The Western warmongers destroyed Iraq and now they are back to do it again.

Activists across Britain need to get out on to the streets to oppose this war and challenge the politicians’ lies.

Find out about protests and meetings at

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