From: Newsletter – 10th August 2016
15 years of wars
The waves of destruction caused by war across the Middle East continue unabated. British forces are involved in Syria, Iraq, Libya as well as in Afghanistan. A recent report by Airwars demonstrates that civilians are increasingly being the victims of these wars. It considers the bombing of Iraq and Syria being carried out by the US led coalition over the past two years.
The report states that ‘the second year of the Coalition’s war saw a major jump in reported civilian deaths – a rise which cannot be explained alone by the 40% increase in the number of airstrikes. Likely civilian deaths from Coalition actions were up by 92 per cent on the first year.’
‘While Coalition strikes present a significantly lower risk to civilians than those of Russia, the Assad regime or Iraqi forces, Airwars still estimates that one civilian is being killed for roughly every nine Coalition airstrikes – a similar toll to that officially reported in Afghanistan, and in US covert strikes in places like Yemen and Pakistan.’
The report argues that part of the reason for this increase is that the rules on avoiding civilian deaths have been relaxed in recent months:
‘One reason for the sharp jump in the number of likely civilian deaths has been an easing of battlefield restrictions. In the early phases of the war, Coalition partners were under strict instructions to limit to zero wherever possible the number of civilians killed.’
‘But now, the US and its allies are prepared to accept up to 10 civilian casualties in any action according to reports. During one strike on a bank in Mosul, the US had been prepared to accept up to 50 casualties in an effort to destroy millions of dollars of ISIL funds. One woman is now admitted to have died in that event, with five other civilians injured.’
Britain is heavily involved in airstrikes in Iraq, although its contribution in Syria has amounted to 53 in the 8 months since December, when parliament voted to join the operation. This gives the lie to the idea that a British input was key to the Syria airstrikes, a view promoted by the government and those in Labour like Hilary Benn who argued in favour of bombing last year. In fact, the vote last December was purely political, aimed at maintaining the British ‘place at the table’ internationally, as well as trying to weaken the position of Jeremy Corbyn, who has always maintained a strong anti-war stance.
These and many other issues will be discussed at the 15 years on: Time to stop the war conference on 8 October.
15 years on: Time to stop the war
An international conference
Saturday 8th October • 10 – 5pm
TUC Congress House
23-28 Great Russell St
London, WC1B 3LS
The list of speakers includes Malalai Joya, Lindsey German, Tariq Ali, Salma Yaqoob, Brian Eno, Medea Benjamin, Phyllis Bennis, Anas Altikriti, Chris Cole, Andrew Murray, Reg Keys and Mark Serwotka.
Chilcot and the next steps for the movement • Armed and dangerous: Foreign policy after the US elections • The Middle East: Endless war? • Will the new Cold War turn hot? • Killing by remote control: Drones and geopolitics • The war on Muslims: Islamophobia and civil liberties
Please invite your Facebook contacts to the conference. The ticket prices are £15 standard and £10 concession.
Book your place here.
International Conference to Support the Yemeni People
20-21 August • 10 London
110 Euston Road, London
Stop the War Coalition is co-sponsoring (along with the Campaign Against Arms Trade, Human RIghts for Yemen, Sheba for Democracy and Human Rights and the Arabian Rights Watch Association) this conference which is going to discuss the ongoing war in Yemen and the suffering inflicted on the Yemeni population by the intense Saudi bombing of Yemen. Britain sold around £2.8 billion worth of arms to the Saudi dictatorship (in contravention of national and international law) since it began bombing Yemen last year. The British government has admitted that it is providing technical and other assistance to the Saudi government in this hideous bombing campaign.
There are also UN reports of Saudi war crimes committed against the civilian population of Yemen. Britain is facilitating mass-scale death and destruction in Yemen.
To attend this conference please email: email@example.com.
Sign the petition – Blair must be held to account
Please sign the parliamentary petition calling on Parliament to hold Tony Blair to account for the deliberately misleading statements he made in the run up to the war in Iraq, which has resulted in over a million deaths and led to the explosion of fundamentalism. This is part of an ongoing attempt to obtain a vote on this in the Commons which would hold to account those who started this horrible cycle of violence.
Save the date
One Big No comedy/benefit night for Stop the War will take place on 7th October at 7.30.
Tickets go on sale early next week and we will let you know as soon as they’re available.
Solidarity with Big Ride for Palestine cyclists
Over 200 Big Ride cyclists and 80 supporters protested against the arming of Israel outside of the UAV Engines arms factory (owned by Israeli arms factory Elbit Systems) on Monday as they completed the three-day Big Ride for Palestine, which aims to highlight the plight of the Palestinian people who live as virtual captives in an apartheid state. Solidarity with all those involved.
15 Years of the “War on Terror” meeting in Liverpool during the Labour Party Conference
Monday 26 September • 7pm
Friends’ Meeting House
22 School Lane
Liverpool L1 3BT
Further details tbc.
Protest at the Conservative Party conference
Demonstration called by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity
Tories must go – Austerity has failed
2 October • 11:30am, Victoria Square, Birmingham
Sign up to the Facebook event, share widely and invite your friends.
At a time when the National Health Service is being crippled by enormous cuts and when millions are facing economic hardship, tens of millions of pounds are being spent on foreign wars and the establishment is determined to renew Trident nuclear weapons, at a catastrophic cost of £205 billion.
Public resources should be invested in infrastructure and in decent jobs for all. Money should be spent on real human security and the health care and well-being of the population instead of being squandered on war and weapons of mass destruction.
This is going to be a massive demonstration at a vital political moment, so make sure to be there. Transport is being arranged from across the country. Check this transport page for details.
Join Stop the War
Stop the War has no wealthy financial backers. Since our founding in 2001, our campaigns and small office have been funded entirely by our members, supporters and affiliated organisations. We need your support.
Please help sustain our educational and campaigning work against the UK government’s war policies by becoming a member, by making a donation or by leaving a legacy.