Stop the War Coalition vice chair calls for people to 'oppose the west' to stop conflict in Syria

'A protest outside the Russian embassy would actually contribute to increasing the hysteria and the jingoism that is being whipped up at the moment against Russia'

Samuel Osborne
Wednesday 12 October 2016 15:01
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Anti-war protesters chant 'Don't bomb Syria' outside Downing Street against the possible British involvement in the bombing of Syria at Downing Street on 28 November, 2015 in London, England
Anti-war protesters chant 'Don't bomb Syria' outside Downing Street against the possible British involvement in the bombing of Syria at Downing Street on 28 November, 2015 in London, England

The vice chairman of the Stop the War Coalition has called for people to "oppose the west" in order to stop the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Chris Nineham was asked about Boris Johnson's call for protests against Russia's actions in Syria, when he jeered: "Where is the Stop the War Coalition at the moment? Where are they?"

When asked why Stop the War would not be campaigning against what Russia was doing in Syria, Mr Nineham told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Well we are. We're protesting with statements and in our information that we put out.

"We’ve condemned not just Russia but all foreign interventions into what is an absolutely disastrous and horrible situation for the Syrian people."

Boris Johnson calls for protests outside the Russian Embassy over Syria conflict

“But we were set up as a coalition in response to 9/11 and in response to the Western, British-supported drive to war back in 2001 and that is our focus."

He was then interrupted by Today host Sarah Montague, who said: "But we are in 2016 now and we are in a situation where Aleppo is being destroyed.

“You have a Labour MP, Ann Clwyd, saying ‘where’s the rage, we should have two million, three million, four million people outside the Russian embassy'."

She pressed him further, asking whether Stop the War would support demonstrations outside the Russian embassy.

Mr Nineham replied: “No we wouldn't. There’s a very good reason for this, because we can make a difference to what Britain does, we can make a difference to what our allies do to a certain extent and we have done.

“But, if we have a protest outside the Russian embassy, it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference as to what Putin does because we are in Britain and we are in the west.

“And, not only that – a protest outside the Russian embassy would actually contribute to increasing the hysteria and the jingoism that is being whipped up at the moment against Russia.”

He went on to say: "There is a hysteria which is being organised by politicians and by the media against Russia, to see Russia as the only problem in Syria.

“Syria is a multi-faceted war which involves Saudi Arabia, it involves the US and Britain who have been bombing the country as well."

Mr Nineham also criticised Andrew Mitchell's calls for a Syrian no-fly zone enforced by Nato. He said: “And Andrew Mitchell actually came on this programme yesterday and seriously said that he thought it wouldn’t be a problem if RAF fighter pilots attacked Russian planes.

“The possibility now presents itself of there being a confrontation for the first time since the Second World War, between Russia and Western powers including Britain."

As Ms Montague brought the interview to a close, Mr Nineham said: “And anyone who has a responsibility for peace or the future of the planet quite frankly needs to mobilise against that, and that means opposing the west."

His interview, and Stop the War's statement on Syria, have been widely criticised on social media:

While Russia asserts it is fighting Isis extremists in Syria, the majority of its air strikes have targeted opposition groups threatening the Syrian regime.

The Assad regime has also been accused of killing more civilians than Isis and has been severely criticised for indiscriminately using barrel bombs on civilian-populated areas.

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