April 14, 2018

The Communist Party of Britain unreservedly condemns the latest act of aggression in Syria by Britain, the USA and France today (April 14). International law cannot be upheld by breaching the most important articles of the United Nations Charter, which ban unprovoked military attacks by one member state upon another.

As the post-World War Two Nuremberg Tribunal ruled: ‘To initiate a war of aggression is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole’.

Such criminality cannot be erased by a vote in the House of Commons, although MPs should have been given the opportunity beforehand to uphold international law by blocking Prime Minister Theresa May’s reckless escapade. In the light of disastrous interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, she insults us all by claiming that ‘open source information’ and ‘intelligence reports’ somehow justify Britain’s involvement in this latest action.

Britain’s Communists call on MPs and the members of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh National Assembly to condemn this aggression at the earliest opportunity and to demand that no further such action takes place. The use of British bases in the sovereign state of Cyprus, without the agreement of that country’s own parliament, further underlines the extreme irresponsibility of Prime Minister May’s decision.

Yet again, the world’s three main imperialist powers have gone to war having failed in their duplicitous efforts to use the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a rubber stamp. In attacking sovereign Syria, they are not acting in the name of the ‘international community’, large parts of which do not support this latest military action.

Between them, Britain, the USA and France have bombed or invaded more countries since 1945 than the rest of the world put together. Once more, these three powers have confirmed their character as rogue states whose strategy is to reassert – by any means necessary – domination over the rich natural resources and valuable transportation routes of the whole greater Middle East region.

The US, French and British air and missile strikes are gravely destabilising. They risk plunging the Middle East into a further escalation of war, with dangerous wider consequences for world peace. They appear to be linked to aggressive plans by the United States, abetted by Israel, to reassert its military control over Syria and Iraq and to use jihadi and other forces from outside Syria – some backed by Saudi and other Arab dictatorships – to re-escalate the war against the Syrian government.

It is no coincidence that this latest Western military assault took place only hours before a fact-finding mission from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was due to arrive in Damascus at the invitation of Syria and Russia to investigate the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma.

As demanded by two Russian Federation resolutions to the UNSC last Tuesday (April 10) – and vetoed by Britain, the USA and France – the OPCW team must be given full support for its work, which would include access not only to Douma, but also to any other sites it deems relevant.

By attacking three sites alleged to form part of a Syrian chemical weapons programme, the British, US and French air and missile strikes have made it more difficult for the OPCW to find and assess evidence for any such programme.

If the three Western governments genuinely had evidence that such sites were engaged in chemical weapons research, production and storage, they should have notified the OPCW without delay – not attempted to destroy that evidence.

The Communist Party of Britain condemns any use of chemical weapons, but stresses that without OPCW inspection there can be no proof of responsibility and that no evidence has been advanced either by President Trump or the British government.

The war-mongering posture of US President Trump as the head of NATO’s most powerful state, and of French President Macron as a champion of EU militarisation, confirms the urgent necessity to leave both components of the NATO-EU alliance.

We need a government of the left that will pursue an independent foreign policy for Britain based on respect for international law, sincere support for the United Nations and solidarity with the world’s exploited and oppressed.