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Mainstream, VOL LI, No 38, September 7, 2013

No War! Hands off Syria!

Sunday 8 September 2013, by A B Bardhan

The threat of imminent war hangs over the entire Middle East. This is bound to have unforeseen consequences in many parts of the world. The US President, Barack Obama, has announced that he is willing to order a solo armed intervention in Syria. Meanwhile the US will strive for a ”coalition of the willing”.

The French and British had raced to announce an attack. But the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was stopped in his track by the House of Commons, which roundly rejected his war- mongering call. The UK is now left hanging in a limbo with no more than offering ‘moral support’ to the US intervention.

The French President is talking of getting parliamentary approval though the French Constitution lays down no such condition for the President to order a military intervention.

The US President is now thinking of obtaining Congressional approval of the intended call for his intervention. He is of course on record that his finger is on the trigger and that he will order the military attack on Syria.

What are the people in these countries thinking about involvement in a war on Syria? In the US itself a public poll has revealed that 59 per cent people are against any such armed intervention.

A similar poll in the UK shows that 60 per cent of the people oppose any armed intervention.

In France also, notwithstanding President Hollande’s bellicose speech, 64 per cent of the people oppose any armed attack on Syria.

Even in Germany, which has abstained from any war-mongering moves so far, 58 per cent people are opposed to the war over Syria.

All this is in addition to the fact that Russia and China are actively opposing all such moves by the US and its allies. Their intention to veto any such move in the UN Security Council has been openly expressed and is known.

Yet, do the imperialist powers–the US, France and their allies in some countries of the Arab world which is vertically divided on the issue— heed any such public opinion? Their aggressive designs are brazenly expressed. They do not even intend to wait for any report by the UN inspecting team which has been sent to investigate the charge of use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. Ignoring the UN investigating team, the US and France continue to assert that they already have ‘clinching evidence’ of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Government. Russian President Putin has termed all this as utter nonsense.

Commenting on these so-called ‘clinching evidence’ the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, has forcefully observed that the US information offered as proof of use of chemical attack by the Syrian Government is absolutely unconvincing. “Yes, they showed us some findings,” he said, “but there was nothing specific there: no geographic coordinates, no names, no proof that the tests were carried out by the professionals.” The so-called proof was short on facts.

What stand should India take? Is it enough for a country which prides itself as one of the initiators of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to say that everyone should wait for the UN Security Council to pronounce on the matter? Should not India along-with China and other countries of Asia and NAM call for “No War” in Syria, Anti-imperialist and peace forces, in fact all men of goodwill in India, have a duty to perform. They should mobilise and launch a campaign to this effect.

The author, a former General Secretary of the CPI, is the seniormost member of the party’s Central Secretariat.

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