Withdraw from the US-led coalition for war in Iraq and Syria!
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1) The recent divisive vote to expand the combat mission to Syria and to extend for another year the overall mission to degrade and destroy ISIS in both Iraq and Syria – carried only by the Conservative government's slim majority in Parliament – was a bad decision. It will make things worse, not better, for the people of the Middle East and is the thin edge of the wedge to pull Canada deeper into another long quagmire of a war, just one year after the failed twelve-year mission to Afghanistan. Moreover, this instance of mission creep is being conducted without United Nations Security Council approval and is therefore illegal under international law.
2) According to NDP Foreign Affairs Critic, Paul Dewar, who was part of the 2014 Canadian diplomatic mission to Iraq, the Iraqi government asked that Canada send humanitarian, rather than military, assistance. The Iraqi government also did not request that Canada become involved in Syria. Rather, it appears that it was completely at the initiative of the Harper government that Canadian troops have joined the latest US-led “coalition of the willing” in Iraq. Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, who, in 2003, wisely bowed to the wishes of hundreds of thousands of protesters in the streets – organized by the Canadian Peace Alliance and Collectif Échec à la Guerre – and refused to send Canadian troops to join Bush and Blair's previous “coalition of the willing”, has recently spoken out against the present combat mission and urged a massive humanitarian mission instead.
3) Whether or not the Iraqi government has authorized air strikes by foreign powers on its territory, the US and its allies have no right under international law to bomb targets inside Syria, without the approval and cooperation of the legitimate government of Syria. The attack on Syria, then, is a war crime for which officials within the Harper government may have someday to face an international war crimes tribunal and also for which Candian taxpayers may have to pay reparations.
4) The true purpose of the US campaign against ISIS is not to destroy terrorism. In fact, since at least 2011, the USA and other countries in the “Friends of Syria” Group (FSG), including Canada, financed, armed, and organized a deadly covert war of aggression using jihadi mercenaries against Syria. ISIS grew out of this explicitly terrorist operation against the people of Syria, which so far resulted in about 200,000 deaths, millions of refugees, and the laying waste of much of Syria. In other words, the USA, Canada, and their FSG partners created this terrorist ISIS Frankenstein. In our opinion, the ISIS crisis is being used by the USA and some countries neighbouring Syria as a pretext for bombing for regime change in Syria and perhaps, eventually, other countries such as Lebanon and Iran. The Turkish government's recent call for a “no fly zone” over Syria is a case in point and reminiscent of NATO's abuse of UN Resolution 1973 for the illegal overthrow of the government of Libya.
5) The USA has “dirty hands.” Its 2003 attack on Iraq was also without UN approval and left that country in ruins, with at least half a million dead, millions of refugees, and effectively split into three parts. The USA should not be entrusted to play any role in Iraq. In fact, the result of the US and NATO-led “humanitarian” interventions in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Haiti, and Syria has uniformly been to make things much worse for civilians and to destroy the territorial integrity of those countries.
6) If the Canadian government is sincerely interested in dealing with ISIS, it needs to cooperate with all the governments of the region, including Syria and Iran, as well as Russia and China, to develop a common strategy. That strategy would best be developed at the United Nations where recent resolutions 2170 and 2178 might serve as first steps in a global action against terrorism. To deal with ISIS, the Harper government of Canada could ask the Turkish, Israeli, and Jordanian governments to close their borders to ISIS terrorists and to remove any terrorist bases on their territories. It could demand that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait stop funding jihadi mercenaries altogether. It could call for disbanding the “Friends of Syria” Group.
7) The sending of Canadian forces personnel and equipment the Middle East raises the likelihood of a major confrontation between Canada and Russia, because Russia has important national and traditional interests in the Middle East, where it has a major base on the Mediteranean Sea in Syria. Removing Canadian military personnel and equipment from this theatre of war would reduce the threat of any regional or global confrontation.
8) Canadians are rightly proud of the fact that our post-WW2 history, until recently, was marked by support for international institutions such as the United Nations, for the international rule of law, and for a preference for peace-keeping and diplomacy over war-making.
9) Therefore, we the undersigned, call on all members of parliament to use their individual and partisan influence to withdraw Canada from the US-led coalition for war in Iraq and Syria and also from the so-called “Friends of Syria” Group.
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