Of course, British subjects know there are good reasons to oppose a military strike, and they understand the complications of the situation in Syria. But these groups are unabashedly pro-Assad, and have gained ground by being able to exploit the anti-war sentiment of the populace. They are supporters of Assad, the Iranian mullahs, and Hamas, and are avowed enemies of democracy and the United States. Although they now oppose al-Qaeda because of its fight against Assad, they have not hesitated to support al-Qaeda’s actions in the past, such as when these elements of the British Left argued that 9/11 was a just rebuke to the American government and U.S. imperialism.
As Gilligan writes, the Stop the War Coalition has “at least a certain brutal clarity: Assad is right and must win.”
Ed Miliband is too smart to favor such a goal, and his stand against Cameron did not have a victory for Assad as his intent. But I agree with Gilligan’s conclusion: “Providing succor to the regime was, and is, quite clearly the intention of many of Mr. Miliband’s new friends.”
As usual, in opposing the position of the administration for a military strike, those who are against it must always remain vigilant and be able to recognize that not all opponents of war are made up of groups they should align with. Not all who take the same position are doing so for good reasons.
In this country, Code Pink and Answer are lurking around the corner, and hopefully will remain isolated and without influence. In some ways, we are way ahead of the Brits.