Stop the War steering committee met on Saturday. This was the statement which it agreed in response to the terrorist attacks:
We wish to express our condemnation at the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday. There can be absolutely no justification for the horrific shooting and bombing of very large numbers of innocent people, in concerts, bars and cafes. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.
Terrorism attributed to IS is growing around the world. The main victims of such attacks are the people of the countries wracked by wars. Bombings and shootings of these kinds are all too frequent in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Just this week, a major bombing in Lebanon killed dozens of people, although this was little reported in the West. The refugees now coming to Europe will be all too familiar with such attacks.
The British government has been campaigning for a vote in parliament to be able to officially bomb Syria. There is absolutely no evidence that this will do anything but make the situation worse. We should remember that ISIS was created in Iraq, during the U.S. occupation there. The disastrous civil war in Libya followed the bombing of that country by the West, which began with a no fly zone. The only solution can lie in political and negotiated solutions.
The urgent task is how we end these killings, defeat the reactionary force of ISIS and other similar groups, and begin to see the prospect of peace in the Middle East. This can only be done by the Iraqi, Syrian and other peoples of the region themselves. Western military intervention has not only killed or displaced millions, it has also contributed to the endless mutation of terrorist groups like IS while destroying the capacity of the people's of the region to confront such organizations themselves.
Defeating ISIS means firstly cutting its support from some of the most reactionary regimes in the region, including Saudi Arabia. Secondly it means not creating further grievances which help to fuel its support. That means rejecting the idea that bombing and intervention can make things better. We are told that we need to be 'doing something' in the face of these attacks. It is precisely because of what we have been doing in the region that we face this threat.
Stop the War works for a world without terrorism and imperialism, and will continue to campaign for a peaceful solution to the crises in the Middle East.
The response of the Western governments and other major powers has been for more war. President Hollande of France has talked of a ‘pitiless' war against terrorism. The idea that bombing will end terrorism is refuted by the history of the last 14 years. It has already led to an increase in Islamophobia and to attacks on civil liberties which will likely target Muslims above all.