Don’t attack Syria

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By the Canadian Peace Alliance

As the violence escalates in Syria, there are further calls from Western media and government officials for a foreign intervention into the conflict. The Canadian Peace Alliance stands against any intervention from outside powers and is calling on the government of Canada to refuse participation in any “Friends of Syria” coalition to achieve regime change in Syria.

Military interventions have an appalling track record throughout the world. Usually justified as “humanitarian interventions” under the doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect”, and supposedly undertaken as a means of stopping civilian casualties, military intrusions actually result in even more civilian deaths and the destruction of infrastructure crucial to supporting life. This was clearly the case in the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia and in the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. The most recent example is Libya, where a UN-sponsored “No Fly Zone” morphed into a month-long NATO bombing campaign to remove the government of Muammar Ghaddafi. The result has been the creation of a failed state run by separate militias with their own agendas. Far from stopping a civil war, the NATO intervention in Libya has resulted in a fractured and even more dangerous situation for most civilians.

There is already a concern that other regional and global players, intent on their own geopolitical aims, have infiltrated the Syrian resistance, further muddying the waters and making an already complicated situation even more untenable. Sending more arms and NATO bombs into that mix will not protect the Syrian people but will once again escalate the crisis.

Western governments have always had their own interests at heart while engaging in these types of interventions. They look at the uprising as an opportunity to weaken the ties between Syria and its regional allies, primarily Iran. The US, Canada and the UK have all made it abundantly clear that Iran, which operates outside of the Western sphere of influence, is a primary target of attack.

What is even more troubling is that the conflict in Syria has the potential to build into a proxy war with major global powers such as Russia and China on the one side and NATO powers on the other. Any intervention in the dispute has, therefore, the chance of becoming a much larger global conflict.

It is time to stop the warmongering-rhetoric and find a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis. Recently, the United Nations Security Council appointed Kofi Annan to begin a peace process, which does not call for regime change. It calls for observers, dialogue between the warring parties, and peace. While western countries supported the Annan peace initiative in the Security Council on the one hand, they have been, on the other hand, hypocritically arming and funding (with the help of Turkey, Jordan, and the Gulf monarchs) the rebels who seek the overthrow of the Assad government. Moreover, Western governments are the loudest complainers when the Syrian government responds to armed aggression with force, as any other government would do in its place. As the Syrian foreign minister was famously quoted, speaking to western powers recently, saying, “You can’t be an arsonist and a firefighter at the same time.”

The Canadian Peace Alliance calls on the Canadian government to be the first to downscale the tensions that have escalated over the Syrian downing of the Turkish fighter jet. This can be done in several ways:

1) stop calling for regime change in Syria and work toward the success of the Annan peace process in Syria;
2) urge restraint at the upcoming emergency meeting of the NATO Council, called by Turkey;
3) recall the HMCS Charlottetown and other warships from the Middle East, where the presence of these gunboats are likely to drag Canada into war.

What can you do?

» Send an e-mail to your MP. Just cut and paste the statement and send to your Member of Parliament. A full list of MP’s e-mail addresses is here.

» Download the petition – “NO NATO INTERVENTION IN SYRIA” here.

» Sign the online petition here.

Recent News and Analysis

Playing God in Iraq, Libya, Syria: the evils of interventionist wars
26 June 2012, Jonathan Cook
After Afghanistan and Iraq ‘humanitarian’ wars might have run into the sand had the Arab Spring not opened up new possibilities for the West to ‘intervene’.

Syria and Turkey’s phantom war
Pepe Escobar, June 26, 2012

Syria: Only diplomacy can stop the war
Phyllis Bennis, June 26, 2012
Outside powers should stop military involvement and support new diplomatic initiative.


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