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Don't bomb Iraq

Protesters take part in a Stop the War demonstration opposite Downing Street, September 25, 2014. Photograph: AFP Photo / Carl Court

Stop the War has organised an international anti-war conference 'Confronting a World at War' - a crucial chance to discuss how to respond to an increasingly aggressive regime

The election result must have been an unpleasant shock for everyone who has opposed Britain's foreign wars. The upshot has been predictable.

Not only have hardliners Phillip Hammond and Michael Fallon been retained as the ministers in charge of foreign policy but Tory backbenchers have already started pushing for an increased arms budget. 

Stop the War's conference Confronting a World at War on 6 June is an essential opportunity to  rally the opposition. 

Three events since the election underscore the dangers we face and how crucial it is that the anti-war movement regroups and responds clearly and decisively.

First, the news that the Iraqi city of Ramadi in Iraq has fallen to ISIS shows the depth of the crisis there. There is barely a commentator in the mainstream prepared to make the point, but it was the devastating US-UK war of 2003 on Iraq and the decade of occupation that fractured the country and created conditions that ISIS could exploit.

Sectarian war is threatening to envelop the region as the West's ally Saudi Arabia steps up its interventions from Syria to Yemen. The chances of further western intervention in the Middle East is growing.

Meanwhile, Britain is enthusiastically supporting  the barbaric EU policy of war against migrant traffickers. This idea of course completely ignores the fact that previous wars  - particularly the bombing of Libya - have done so much to create the crisis in the first place.

But worse still, it can only morph into a war on the migrants themselves. Incredibly, not content with planning to destroy the migrants boats, architects of the policy have not ruled out the putting boots on the ground in Libya. 

If our new government is likely to be more belligerent abroad, it is also clearly going to be much more vicious at home. Cameron's comments that "for too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone"  is a sinister statement of intent to escalate the assault on Muslims. But it is also has to be read as a warning to other dissenters.

Most people oppose a continued aggressive foreign policy. There are clear majorities against Trident replacement and against more foreign wars.

Most people oppose the amount of money being spent on the military while we face another round of £20 billion worth of cuts in public services.

For all these reasons and many more, the Confronting a World at War Conference is a vital meeting point for everyone who wants to see a change of direction from the disasters of the last decade and a half.

The conference brings together a tremendous range of writers, activists, and politicians from around the world to analyse key flashpoints, to expose the West's growing aggression and to dissect the assault on Muslim communities and civil liberties.

With over fifteen parallel sessions from The return of the Neocons to Where did ISIS come from, there will be plenty of opportunity to discuss in detail and debate how we should respond.

International participants include Medea Benjamin, Explo Nani-kofi and Mark Weisbrot. Amongst others speaking are Lindsey German, Seumas Milne, Anas Al-Tikriti, Bruce Kent, Hamja Ahsan, Kate Hudson, Sami Ramadani and Victoria Brittain.

We are particularly pleased that Mustafa Barghouti, the General Secretary of the Palestine National Initiative will be addressing the conference.

Make sure you book your place now and join us to strengthen the movement and escalate the opposition.

Confronting war

Chris Nineham

Chris Nineham

Chris Nineham is a founder member of Stop the War and Counterfire, speaking regularly around the country on behalf of both. He is author of The People Versus Tony Blair and Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of Georg Lukacs.

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