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Stop the War Statements

UN declaration of war on Libya

A new war has been declared in the Middle East. With the bloody and failing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan still in place, the USA, Britain and France are now committed to an escalating armed intervention in Libya.

The decision to attack Libya and impose regime change – for that is what the UN resolution means – may have been authorised by the Security Council. But it was instigated by the despots of the Arab League, desperate to secure deeper western involvement in the region to save them from their own peoples. And it will be implemented by the same powers which have wreaked such mayhem throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds over the last ten years and longer.

The imposition of a “no-fly zone”, air attacks on Libyan defences and Gaddaffi’s troops, and naval bombardments will not bring peace to Libya nor a resolution to the conflict there.

They will, however, cost more civilian lives and they will set Britain and the world on an escalator of military intervention which risks ending up with an occupation of at least part of Libya.

While few people are admirers of the Gaadaffi regime, the experience of Iraq underlines the dangerous futility of trying to impose “regime change” from without. It also reminds us that genuine democracy and freedom cannot grow from aerial bombardment and foreign occupation.

Attacking Libya and sponsoring the Gulf oligarchies’ invasion of Bahrain to prop up the threatened monarchy there – under the noses of the US fifth fleet - are of a piece. They represent a concerted effort by the western powers to first control and then bring to a halt the Arab revolutions, leaving the essentials of imperial power in the Middle East in place.

David Cameron’s decision to place Britain in the vanguard of efforts to topple the Gaddafi regime is dictated by the same considerations which led Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to embrace that same regime – a desire to maintain BP’s profitable access to Libyan oil.

Stop the War believes that there should be no external military intervention in Libya. In supporting the Arab revolutions, we believe that these will be strangled, not supported, by western military action.

We call on the British government to keep its hands off the Middle East and demand that it refrain from all involvement in military action in Libya or elsewhere in the region. We urge the anti-war movement to campaign throughout the country to arrest and reverse this slide to war and British participation in it.

Statement on the London Terrorist Attacks

Stop the War Coalition unequivocally condemns Thursday's terrorist attacks on the people of London. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. There can be no justification for such attacks. We urge everyone to resist any attempts which may be made to use these crimes to stir up anti-Muslim hysteria or attack the Muslim population of this country. We emphasise the importance of solidarity, peace and justice as our guiding principles in addressing the crisis scarring the world today, of which the bombings are a dreadful manifestation. It is clearer than ever that the "war on terror" in which Britain has been so heavily involved has not, in fact, made the world safer from terrorism. Britain's security services warned Tony Blair two years ago that a war on Iraq would make such attacks more likely. That warning has now been tragically borne out in London.

Statement following the Basra helicopter crash

How many more Iraqi, UK and US deaths are to follow before the occupation of Iraq is brought to an end? The Minstry of Defence admit that they have no control in Basra and the surrounding region, that they are confined to barracks with only the occasional foray in helicopters since the roads are too dangerous. This is a farce and, for the lives of the five airmen in the crashed helicopter and the Iraqis killed in the firefight on the ground, a bloody farce. How many more times must we call for an end to this occupation? Stop the War Coalition and a growing number of military families and military experts demand answers to these questions and for those responsible to be brought to account.

"We have lost the consent of the people of Iraq to be in their country. The troops should be withdrawn immediately."

Ben Griffin (ex SAS trooper who served in Baghdad)

"My son died for no reason and now other mothers have to face this fact. My sympathy goes out to the loved ones of those killed in the helicopter downed in Basra and to the families of the Iraqis who were killed in the ensuing firefight. Enough is enough. Bring the troops home now."

Rose Gentle (mother of Gordon Gentle, killed in Iraq)

"The situation in Basra has not changed overnight. Something like today's crash, and then large numbers of soldiers on the streets, triggers an underlying resentment that our troops are basically occupying forces."

Major Charles Heyman, (defence analyst and editor of The Armed Forces of the United Kingdom)