Bristol Stop The War Public Meeting
No Intervention In The Middle East
End The 'War On Terror'
Speakers: SAMI RAMADANI - Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation, regular columnist in the Guardian; MEHRNAZ SHAHABI - local Iranian-born anti-war activist.
Date: Thursday January 19th
Venue: Kuumba Project, 20-23 Hepburn Road, Bristol, BS2 8UD
Come along to the meeting and hear about how the 'war on terror' continues in the Middle East and beyond. Sami Ramadani wrote recently in the Guardian about the situation in Iraq after the 'end' of the US occupation. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/23/iraq-conflict-powerful?INTCMP=SRCH Mehrnaz Shahabi, lives in Bristol but visits Iran regularly and has campaigned for many years against sanctions and threats to Iran. All Welcome.
A recent article by Seumas Milne which includes interesting archive newsreel on the wider Middle East can be seen at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/19/arab-spring-seven-lessons-from-history?INTCMP=SRCH
For over ten years, Britain has been involved in wars and threats of wars across the Middle East – from Libya to Afghanistan, most places between and some beyond. At the moment, thousands of British troops are in Afghanistan, where almost 400 have been killed in the last ten years, along with tens of thousands of Afghans. The invasion and occupation of Iraq brought devastation to that country. Even after the occupation has officially 'ended' there are are thousands of 'advisors' and 'trainers' under US command. Eight years of 'divide and rule' by the US has left a terrible legacy.
Last year the western powers were caught out by the rebellions in Tunisia & Egypt. NATO bombed Libya as part of a strategy to regain control of the region. By taking sides in Libya's civil war, Britain, France and the USA tried to ensure that the outcome was in their interests - not the interests of the Libyan people. It led to thousands of deaths and vast destruction of infrastructure. Multinational oil companies are queueing up for lucrative contracts.
The people of Iran have been hit by economic sanctions for decades. Portrayed in the West as 'targeted', these sanctions have had a serious impact on the Iranian economy. They are a collective punishment of the Iranian people. The sanctions are now being tightened. There are increasing threats of military attack by the USA, Britain and Israel. Contrary to reports in the media here, this has done nothing to weaken support for the Iranian government. See Simon Jenkins on Britain's sabre-rattling against Iran http://www.stopwar.org.uk/index.php/who-is-really-behind-the-baghdad-bomb-outrages
Sanctions have also been imposed on Syria and military intervention is threatened. The USA, Britain and the EU aren't getting involved in the interests of the Syrian people, but to further their own interests in the Middle East. Most Arab League members who criticise Syria have little or no democracy and repress dissent in their own countries – e.g Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, Bahrain. They overwhelmingly support western interests in the Middle East.
While billions of pounds are spent on these wars and the de-stabilising of foreign governments, our government implements policies that nobody voted for. Huge cuts are being made to vital public services Wages, pensions and benefits are being frozen and in many cases slashed. Prices for essentials soar.
The Stop The War Coalition locally and nationally is committed to campaigning against all aspects of the 'war on terror' and holding our government to account for its part in illegal and immoral wars. We believe that the people of Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Iran have the right to determine their own future, free from interference from NATO, the USA, Britain and the European Union