The uprisings sweeping the Middle East deserve the support of all progressive people.

They are directed against autocracies which have denied their people basic rights and the possibility of a decent life.

These autocracies have also, for the most part, depended on the self-interested support of the big powers, the USA and Britain first of all.

Western governments have prioritised cheap oil, arms sales and support for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians above the rights of the Arab peoples.

The response of the British government to the events of the last month exemplifies this hypocrisy. David Cameron has prioritised arms sales to the region.

And the clamour to intervene in Libya has more to do with control of that country’s oil resources than with support for Libya’s people. The Conservative-Liberal Coalition has followed Tony Blair’s lead in seeing the Middle East entirely through the prism of the interests of BP and British Aerospace.

Any British intervention in the region would be directed to furthering those interests, not the freedom or democracy which can only present a challenge to western domination of the region.

Stop the War Coalition is clear that there must be no US or British intervention in Libya or anywhere else in the Middle East under any pretext whatsoever.

Such interference over the last century is the root of the region’s troubles, and its continuation will solve none of the difficulties there.

The future of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen and all the other states facing popular uprisings must be determined by the people of those countries alone.

Solidarity with those fighting for their democratic and national freedom is our obligation.

We can best discharge it by demanding that the government at long last takes its hands off the Middle East and its people, leaving them to settle accounts with their own rulers.

from Stop the War Coalition website