Just days after Trump’s assassination of Iranian General Suleimani and the tragic accidental targeting of a Ukrainian passenger plane by a nervous Iranian military, a rally took place in Trafalgar Square organised by the Stop The War Coalition, with speakers including Jeremy Corbyn.
He sent his sympathies to the grieving families and spoke of the spiralling consequences of a pattern of appalling acts in the Middle East when powerful leaders step outside the norms of international law. He asked the British government to stand up for international law, peace, justice, human rights and democracy, and in accordance with those principles, to challenge any countries acting badly, however powerful they might be.
He blamed Trump’s abandonment of the Iran nuclear deal for the deterioration in relations in the region, and asked for resumption of negotiations, halting arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and notwithstanding the need to push for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, beginning a path to lifting of sanctions.
Corbyn reminded the crowd that 17 years ago, many of the day’s speakers were warning that war in Iraq would pave the way to wars of the future, terrorism of the future, and refugees of the future. Now we look at the state of Libya, Syria, and the flows of refugees, and we can see “there is no road to peace that is led by bombing – there is no road to peace by feeding arms into a region that is already overflowing with arms.”
Corbyn’s prescription for peace is a downscaling of arms sales and an upscaling of human rights and justice. He called on ordinary people to challenge the real threats of poverty, inequality, injustice and of climate change and to put our energies towards creating a world where resources are shared and the future is safer for all.