AS A WAVE of French airstrikes targeted the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria yesterday and as British Prime Minister David Cameron has called for the UK to respond similarly to Friday's attacks in Paris, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Monday warned against a potentially counter-productive military response and said that a political settlement should be the chief priority to end the cycle of violence.
Speaking on ITV1's Lorraine program, Corbyn condemned the "appalling" and "terrible" attacks that killed at least 120 in Paris last week, but added that France's retaliatory bombing of Raqqa, launched Sunday night, was "probably not" going to effect change.
Corbyn's interview aired just as Cameron announced he wanted the UK to carry out its own airstrikes in Syria, but needed additional support from Parliament before holding a vote to authorize such actions.
The Labour leader said:
"The idea has to be surely a political settlement in Syria, but it's very difficult to achieve. We have to be careful. One war doesn't necessarily bring about peace, it often can bring yet more conflicts, more mayhem and more loss."
Corbyn questioned the role of Saudi Arabia in sponsoring terrorism in the region:.
"Who is arming ISIS, who is providing safe havens for ISIS? To get there you have to ask questions about the arms everyone’s sold in the region, the role of Saudi Arabia in this. I think there are some very big questions and we have to be careful."
Corbyn also criticized Western media for providing extensive coverage of the attacks in Paris, while ignoring similar ISIS bombings that took place in Lebanon and Turkey just days and weeks earlier, respectively:
"Likewise, which didn't unfortunately get hardly any publicity, was a bombing in Beirut last week or the killing in Turkey and I think our media needs to be able to report things that happened outside Europe as well as inside Europe. A life is a life."
Corbyn's comments come as U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, along with National Security Adviser Susan Rice, held a sideline meeting at the G20 summit in Ankara, Turkey on Sunday to discuss
'... a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition.'
Corbyn elaborated on Monday:
"I am not saying sit around the table with ISIS, I am saying bring about a political settlement in Syria which will help then to bring some kind of unity government – technical government – in Syria."
As Common Dreams reported over the weekend, foreign policy experts warned that a retaliatory military response by France or other nations to the attacks in Paris would be counterproductive.
Jean-Pierre Filiu, a professor of Middle East studies at the Paris School of International Affairs wrote in Politico on Sunday that ISIS
'... is hoping to precipitate a Western ground offensive in Syria that would be as disastrous as the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the very invasion that fed what would become the "Islamic State".'
But, as Institute for Policy Studies fellow and peace activist Phyllis Bennis explained, in an op-ed for The Nation:
'... wars of vengeance won’t work for France anymore than they worked for the United States.'
Bennis said that killing does not end terrorism:
'Terrorism survives wars; people don’t. We saw the proof of that again...in Paris, and we saw it the day before in Beirut .... You can’t bomb terrorism — you can only bomb people. You can bomb cities. Sometimes you might kill a terrorist — but that doesn’t end terrorism, it only encourages more of it.'
This story was originally published in Common Dreams on 17/11/2015 under the title 'In UK, Corbyn Warns Against Cycle of War That Brings "More Mayhem... More Loss'' and has been republished under a Creative Commons licence. You can follow Nadia Prupis on Twitter @nadiaprupis.
Terrorism can be beaten... https://t.co/DU1U3TCdul. "The answer, if this is at all possible, is to stop the wars & the killing..."— Shirley Green (@ShirleyGreen11) November 16, 2015