Anti-war protests must be stepped up to send a message to Washington that the world will not stand by and let the US plunge the Middle East into a wider war
Today's news shows just how right British MP's were who voted against war. David Cameron tried to sell parliament a limited, 'humanitarian intervention' and promised that we wouldn't be taking sides.
Now the truth is out.
Hawkish Republicans are now all over the US media explaining that Obama has privately briefed them about plans that amount to a declaration of war against Assad.
No more talk of an attack of limited duration with narrowly limited targets. The whole of Assad's war machine is now in the US's sights.
Air strikes as well as missile strikes are now under discussion. More military support for the rebels is also in the frame.
Unsurprisingly tension has immediately ratcheted up across the region. Israel and the US have 'tested' missiles by firing them towards Damascus, the Russians are sending a warship towards the Eastern Mediterranean.
All this is nothing compared to what will happen if Obama's plans are green-lighted by Congress next week.
Today's UN report outlines how disastrous the situation already is in Syria. It says 'Syria is haemorrhaging women, children and men who cross borders often with little more than the clothes on their backs.'
The desperate refugee crisis shows how the country is riven by a civil war already stoked by outside intervention. The joint UN/Arab League representative to the country Moqtar Lomani said last night Syria was in danger of tearing itself apart along sectarian lines.
Threats of western intervention have already accelerated this process. Reports show that the number of people fleeing Damascus for Lebanon has risen by a factor of six since Obama made the decision to push for an attack last week.
How can a massive aerial onslaught by Western powers on Syria do anything but drastically worsen this situation?
The cruise missiles being primed for launch on US ships and submarines are themselves deadly weapons.
An assault on a scale designed to 'degrade' Assad's military will kill large numbers of innocents.
It can only further wrench apart the fault lines in Syria and across the region. There will be immediate retaliation from the regime, possibly from regional supporters, maybe from Russia.
The consequences are incalculable, but undoubtedly disastrous.
This rush to war must be stopped. Anti-war protests past and present helped create the conditions in which MPs here felt they had to take a stand against Cameron and Hague's kneejerk warmongering.
That vote in turn influenced Obama to take his plans to Congress.
Now the protests must be stepped up to send a message to Washington that the world will not stand by and let the US plunge the Middle East into a wider war.
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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