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'Britain needs to break with the idea that proxy wars and western bombs, drones and tanks can solve the problems in the Middle East'

Letter to the Guardian published on 24 August 2015, and signed by Dianne Abbott MP, Paul Flynn MP, Graham Allen MP, Lindsey German Stop the War Coalition, Mark Serwotka PCS, Andrew Murray Unite, Kate Hudson CND, Walter Wolfgang Labour CND, Brian Eno, Mark Rylance, Salma Yaqoob, Michael Rosen, David Edgar

Government plans to escalate the bombing of Syria will only worsen the already desperate situation there (Letters, 20 August). Western bombs have not and will not stop Isis, they will only deepen misery, further fragment the country and spread bitterness.

The Isis attacks, such as the recent atrocity against Kurds in Suruç, are horrific, but they should not be used as a justification for the failed policies which have helped create terrorism.

Britain needs to break with the idea that proxy wars and western bombs, drones and tanks can solve the problems in the Middle East. We should also take the positive step of ending support for despots and dictators in the region. At the moment, Britain and the US actively ally themselves with some of the most reactionary and aggressive regimes in the area, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, centres of opposition to the Arab spring and two of the sponsors of terrorist groups in Syria. This must be stopped.

We now know David Cameron’s government ignored parliament’s vote against bombing Syria in 2013, and authorised British pilots to bomb anyway. We call on MPs to once again oppose taking Britain into a widening war in the Middle East and this time to ensure that Cameron respects the will of the parliament.

The war on terror has been a disaster. Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya lie in ruins and instability has spread throughout the Middle East and beyond. It is in fact the resulting state failure, militarisation of whole societies, and anger against the west that have created the conditions in which Isis and other jihadi groups have been able to thrive.

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