Following the failed bomb attempts at Glasgow airport and in central London last week, lurid headlines speak of a doctors’ plot to bomb Britain. Armed police sealed off airports and the City of London.
Once more fear stalks our streets. All opponents of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan must deplore these attempted attacks.
The potential targets, whether they are holiday makers in Glasgow or clubbers in London, are not the architects of Britain’s disastrous alliance with George Bush, nor its instruments or its beneficiaries.
Like the majority of people in this country, most of the potential victims of the bombs would oppose the British presence in Iraq and want the troops home.
Attacks on civilians in Britain are unjustifiable – just as are the killing of civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere.
Media pundits have been quick to praise the changed tone adopted by the new prime minister Gordon Brown and home secretary Jacqui Smith.
Neither rushed to announce new terror laws and both made a point of blaming Al Qaida and not Muslims in general for the bomb attempts. Brown let it be known he would not use the phrase ‘war on terror’.
But Brown repeated Tony Blair’s claim that bombs in Britain are not a product of the carnage in the Middle East. He argued attacks occur ‘irrespective of Iraq, irrespective of Afghanistan, irrespective of what is happening in different parts of the world’.
He stated that ‘the terrorist threat is long term and it’s sustained. It is about those people who are essentially violent extremists who have a grievance against society, particularly against the values that we represent.’
Stop the War Coalition convenor Lindsey German points out, ‘Even a government inquiry last year found that the growth of terrorism in Britain was due to the war in Iraq.’
She adds, ‘There is one simple fact – before the war in Iraq, Britain was not under threat from such bombings. Now it is.
‘What Britain needs is not more terror laws but a change in foreign policy.’
Following the attack at Glasgow airport the Stop the War Coalition in Scotland issued a statement deploring the attempted bombing.
It pointed out, ‘We reiterate our view that the roots of violence at home lie in the illegal war in the Middle East and we call again for the immediate withdrawal of British troops from Iraq.’
New Labour has rushed to argue that the 9/11 attacks pre-date the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. That misses the fact that ten years earlier, US-led forces devastated Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War and followed that with a decade of sanctions which left half a million children dead.
The Scottish Stop the War Coalition will be supporting and speaking at this weekend’s march for peace in Glasgow. One of the messages must be to oppose any attempt to utilise these attacks to intensify the growing climate of Islamophobia.
Since last Friday’s and Saturday’s attempted attacks, bombings of civilians by US-led forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan have continued on a daily basis leaving scores of innocent victims dead each day.
For all those wanting an end to the threat of bombs in our towns and cities those attacks must stop.
Reballots have opened the way to bigger struggle