As Canadian Peace Alliance co-chair Derrick O’Keefe pointed out at the time: “This last comment is extraordinary; Harper is in effect claiming to know for a fact that the regime in Tehran is suicidal… Any attack by Iran, let alone its use of hypothetical nuclear weapons, would result in its total obliteration.”
Don’t Attack Iran!
Israeli President Simon Peres recently stated that an attack on Iran is becoming more likely. There have also been a series of moves by the United States, Israeland other NATO countries that signal preparations for a possible attack or severe sanctions against Iran similar to those used against Iraq in the lead-up to Anglo-American invasion of 2003.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report released this week contains very little new information and still does not draw the conclusion that Iran is building a nuclear weapon. The report cites a series of tests that may be used for civilian or military purposes but doesn’t point to any proof of the existence of a nuclear weapons program. It is instead a collection of unverified intelligence reports from “member states”.
Regardless of the findings in the report, any use of military force against nuclear installations in Iran will be dangerous and illegal under international law and must therefore be opposed.
Protocol 1 of the Geneva Convention states that no country can attack a nuclear facility or any other target if, “if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces and consequent severe losses among the civilian population.” An attack on a nuclear facility will cause massive damage to the local environment and to the civilian population in the vicinity. A nuclear attack would cause untold civilian deaths.
The process that led to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq is very similar to the current situation with Iran. Without the support of the international community and in clear violation of international law, the US invaded and occupied Iraq ostensibly based on the same motivation about the threat of weapons of mass destruction. The fact that no weapons were ever found in Iraq and the proof that the evidence of such a program in Iraq was deliberately falsified renders the US accusations against Iran extremely questionable.
An attack on Iran would not be an effective way to stop or reverse nuclear armament in the Middle East. Israel has already built an arsenal of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, and unlike Iran, is neither a member of IAEA nor a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is the position of the CPA that nuclear proliferation will continue as long as those states which currently have nuclear weapons, including the US, refuse to comply with their international treaty obligation to disarm their own arsenals. For this reason, the CPA believes that the call for a nuclear-weapons-free middle east, would be a useful first step towards global nuclear disarmament. This call has been part of the negotiations under the NPT since 1995.
The CPA therefore calls on the Government of Canada to oppose any military action against Iran and to condemn the escalating rhetoric and calls on our member groups to prepare for demonstrations and local events to stop the drive towards war with Iran.
No Western Intervention In Syria
June 26, 2012
As the violence escalates in Syria, there are further calls from Western media and government officials for a foreign intervention into the conflict. The Canadian Peace Alliance stands against any intervention from outside powers and is calling on the government of Canada to refuse participation in any “Friends of Syria” coalition to achieve regime change in Syria.
Military interventions have an appalling track record throughout the world. Usually justified as “humanitarian interventions” under the doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect”, and supposedly undertaken as a means of stopping civilian casualties, military intrusions actually result in even more civilian deaths and the destruction of infrastructure crucial to supporting life. This was clearly the case in the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia and in the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. The most recent example is Libya, where a UN-sponsored “No Fly Zone” morphed into a month-long NATO bombing campaign to remove the government of Muammar Ghaddafi. The result has been the creation of a failed state run by separate militias with their own agendas. Far from stopping a civil war, the NATO intervention in Libya has resulted in a fractured and even more dangerous situation for most civilians.
There is already a concern that other regional and global players, intent on their own geopolitical aims, have infiltrated the Syrian resistance, further muddying the waters and making an already complicated situation even more untenable. Sending more arms and NATO bombs into that mix will not protect the Syrian people but will once again escalate the crisis.
Western governments have always had their own interests at heart while engaging in these types of interventions. They look at the uprising as an opportunity to weaken the ties between Syria and its regional allies, primarily Iran. The US, Canada and the UK have all made it abundantly clear that Iran, which operates outside of the Western sphere of influence, is a primary target of attack.
What is even more troubling is that the conflict in Syria has the potential to build into a proxy war with major global powers such as Russia and China on the one side and NATO powers on the other. Any intervention in the dispute has, therefore, the chance of becoming a much larger global conflict.
It is time to stop the warmongering-rhetoric and find a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis. Recently, the United Nations Security Council appointed Kofi Annan to begin a peace process, which does not call for regime change. It calls for observers, dialogue between the warring parties, and peace. While western countries supported the Annan peace initiative in the Security Council on the one hand, they have been, on the other hand, hypocritically arming and funding (with the help of Turkey, Jordan, and the Gulf monarchs) the rebels who seek the overthrow of the Assad government. Moreover, Western governments are the loudest complainers when the Syrian government responds to armed aggression with force, as any other government would do in its place. As the Syrian foreign minister was famously quoted, speaking to western powers recently, saying, “You can’t be an arsonist and a firefighter at the same time.”
The Canadian Peace Alliance calls on the Canadian government to be the first to downscale the tensions that have escalated over the Syrian downing of the Turkish fighter jet. This can be done in several ways:
1) stop calling for regime change in Syria and work toward the success of the Annan peace process in Syria;
2) urge restraint at the upcoming emergency meeting of the NATO Council, called by Turkey;
3) recall the HMCS Charlottetown and other warships from the Middle East, where the presence of these gunboats are likely to drag Canada into war.