‘Yes to peace, no to war’

GEORGE BUSH and Tony Blair seized upon the news of the latest suicide bombings in Turkey to justify their occupation of Iraq, as part of the ‘war on terror’.

This shameless piece of propaganda however, conveniently ignores the fact that Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network is the product of the US’s cold war strategy. Moreover, it is Bush and Blair’s attempts to reconquer areas of the Middle East as part of an imperialist expansion and their support for the Israeli government’s repression of Palestinian areas that is acting as a recruiting sergeant for these right-wing Islamist groups.

Robert Fisk writing in The Independent (21/11/03) pointed out: “The Australians paid the price for John Howard’s alliance with Bush in Bali. The Italians paid the price for Silvio Berlusconi’s alliance with Bush in Nasiriyah. Now it is our turn.”

Although media reports in Britain generally portrayed the peace demos in Turkey following the bombings as sympathetic to Britain, many of the banners and speeches attacked the Bush and Blair invasion and occupation of Iraq. This is hardly surprising in a country where polls gave a 90% opposition to the war against Iraq.

‘”There is war in Iraq, there is war in Palestine, the people are very angry about that,” a teenage student said. Most of those taking part in the rally, held under the banner ‘Yes to Peace, No to War’, were from leftist groups, including trade unionists, students and members of the communist party,”‘ reported AFP at a 3,000-strong demo in Istanbul.

Clearly, many Turks blame US and British foreign policy for fuelling the wave of terrorist attacks.

Only one month before the invasion of Iraq by US and British armed forces, the Joint Intelligence Committee warned Tony Blair that a war on Iraq would heighten the terrorist threat from al-Qa’ida associated groups. This information was ignored.

Bush and Blair justified their “regime change” in Afghanistan and Iraq by saying that this would deny terrorists a safe haven and support. The increase in terrorist bombings in Turkey around the world has served to confound this perspective.