Resist the war drive against Iran
By George Galloway
-- -- The capture by Iranian forces of 15 British sailors in
the Gulf brought shrill, bellicose headlines last weekend and
calls for retribution.
The anti-war movement has done a superb job in winning a clear
majority against the war and occupation in Iraq.
But no one should believe that because the case against the “war
on terror” is so overwhelming then no British government can
garner support for another military misadventure.
The capture of the British sailors has all the hallmarks of the
kind of incident that has been used in the past as a reason
either for war or for escalating confrontation.
In 1949 the British gunboat HMS Amethyst was fired on in the
Yangtze river in China. There was much outrage in Britain at
Mao’s People’s Liberation Army, which was on the verge of taking
power, for shooting at the ship. There was little questioning of
what a British ship was doing on a Chinese river.
Whether or not the British sailors were in Iranian waters is
disputed. But what is not in dispute is that Britain has joined
the US in pouring warships into the Gulf while pressuring and
Reliable US sources have reported that special forces are
already operating in Iran.The Stop the War Coalition has rightly
argued that the occupation of Iraq threatens to generate a wider
The commander of the ship HMS Cornwall unwittingly captured the
mentality of imperial occupation when he said the sailors had
been captured in “our waters”. He meant the waters belonging
under international law and treaty to the Republic of Iraq.
In addition to the immediate argument that this incident is not
worth yet more bloodshed and war, it is vital to challenge this
Part of that is simply asking the obvious question: imagine if
Iran occupied France, had scores of warships in the Channel, was
reported to have commandos operating in the home counties, and
was pushing for sanctions against Britain – how would public
opinion, the media and the British government react?
What makes anyone think Iran is any different?
Secondly, as propagandists try to gloss the “war on terror” in
fake humanitarianism, more and more people need to shout out the
single greatest lesson of the anti-war movement.
It is not the business of Western governments and the
corporations that back them, steeped in the blood and sweat of
hundreds of millions of people across the globe, to bring
“order” to the “savages”.
It is the business of those of us who live in those imperialist
states to do all in our power to stop their militarism and to
act in solidarity with those around the globe fighting for a
Everywhere you go this week, make sure people are asking: what
on earth are British gunboats doing in Iraqi or Iranian waters
in a place called the Arabian or Persian Gulf thousands of miles
It is up to all of us to oppose the war drive against Iran. Can
you start a discussion at work or college, arrange a Stop the
War meeting, get a letter into your local paper, petition on the
And as the People’s Assembly in London agreed last week, if
there is an attack on Iran, we will need civil disobedience in
every community, walkouts in every school, protests and strikes
in every workplace.
If George Bush bombs Iran, we should bring this country to a
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