The maimed bodies, millions of refugees and devastated cities of Syria and Yemen are an indictment of a system that puts the strategic interest of global and regional powers, and the profits of the arms industry before people’s needs.
The war in Syria began with Assad’s brutal response to Syrian citizens protesting in the face of economic hardship. But the nature of Assad’s response, his continuing onslaught on his own people, and the form that the war has taken, owes everything to the way in which the US and Britain have repeatedly intervened in the region; militarily and through the sale of massive quantities of arms. The western powers, Russia and regional powers like Saudi Arabia and Iran, have cynically and brutally acted for strategic advantage at every turn. Allegiances of convenience have been temporary, but the suffering of Syrian civilians and the spiralling destruction has been constant. Look at Aleppo and remember Fallujah, Grozny and Gaza. The devastation and displacement of people in Syria is replicated in Yemen as Britain’s Saudi allies rains down bombs on cities and towns.
Now, more than ever, we need an international anti-war movement that returns to the streets and says ‘not in our name’ and ‘never again’. We have a particular responsibility to build this movement in Britain, the number 2 seller of arms in the world. For another Scotland and another world to be possible we require a mass mobilisation that says – ‘no bombing’, ‘stop the arms sales’, ‘refugees are welcome’.