Don't bomb Syria.
We call on all MPs in the British parliament to vote against the bombing of Syria that Prime Minister David Cameron intends to propose to the House of Commons. We particularly urge Labour MPs to support the Jeremy Corbyn in his opposition to bombing. UK bombing can only increase the civilian death toll, inflate the number of refugees, recruit to IS while simultaneously strengthening Assad, and fuel the major powers’ arms race in the region. It is the very definition of another foreign policy disaster waiting to happen.
These are our reasons for this judgement. Bombing will:
1. It will kill innocents. There is no such thing as a bomb so smart that it always hits its target, even supposing the target is legitimately, legally and correctly identified. Some 20 civilians were killed in a US strike in Raqqa only last week. The US ‘has acknowledged that its rules to avoid civilian casualties are looser in Syria’ than elsewhere. UK airstrikes maybe small in number as they are in Iraq, in which case they will be militarily ineffective and therefore pointless. If they are significant, they will kill civilians.
2. It will increase the flow of refugees. More bombs means more destruction of houses, hospitals, schools and infrastructure and this in turn will mean more people fleeing Syria. Over the last year of US bombing the number of Syrian refugees has rocketed from about 2.7 million to over 4 million.
3. Bombing is the best recruiter the IS could wish for because it entirely confirms their picture of the West as a lawless, colonial armed camp determined to wipe out Muslims. The IS recruited more than 6,000 new fighters in the first month of US bombing in Syria last September, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
4. It won't work. The US made over 1,600 bombing runs in less than year in Syria, with the covert and illegal participation of RAF personnel. During that time IS has massively advanced incorporating whole new swathes of Syria into its territory.
5. It prolongs the war on both sides. In 2013 Cameron lost a vote to bomb Syria...but then he wanted to bomb Assad. That would have benefited the Islamic State. Now he wants to bomb the IS, but that is bound to help Assad. Indeed the current US bombing is done in covert agreement with the Assad regime because if it weren't the regime would use its formidable anti-aircraft systems and airforce to down US planes. More Western bombing will mean more Russian support for Assad. The Russians are already increasing their support for Assad because they fear his defeat by the IS. But the US and the UK want to cut the Russians out of any peace plan so any UK bombing will mean another twist to the arms race in the Middle East.