From the Canadian Peace Congress, as reported by Global Research in WAMM Today (excerpt):
The Canadian Peace Congress asserts that the direction of economic, political and social development in any country is the sole right of the people of that country to determine, without foreign interference. We hold this principle to be true for the people of Canada, as we hold it to be true for the people of Syria and Iran. We are completely opposed to any foreign political or military intervention, under any pretext. This includes efforts to interfere with and divert genuine democratic domestic movements.
The role of the Canadian government in both of these crises has been shameful. Under Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, Canada has abandoned its reputation as a country with an independent stance in international relations, and assumed the posture of a vocal NATO aggressor state. In all dimensions – political-diplomatic, economic and military – Canada’s recent policies toward Syria and Iran have been geared toward three goals:
- Isolate and neutralize sources of information that conflict with imperialist aims, by cutting off communication with the governments and peoples in Syria and Iran;
- Increase the suffering of the people and generate anti-government sentiment, by imposing economic sanctions that particularly target energy industries who produce for local consumption;
- Increase the active military threat in the region, by deploying warships and other military resources to the region.
These goals all directly serve the overall objective of pro-Western regime change in Syria and Iran, and the Harper government has campaigned hard internationally, to convince other countries to assume similar policies against both countries.
In the case of Syria, the Conservatives have also campaigned aggressively to create and promote a political opposition movement to the government. In November 2011, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly received a report that “virtually no one [in Syria] is calling for international military intervention” and that Syria was “without a clearly identifiable opposition with precise political ambitions.” Yet, just prior to that report, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird had met with the Syrian National Council and proclaimed them to be the legitimate opposition who has “continuously outlined their appetite for change.” It is unclear how Baird identified an organized and “legitimate” opposition when NATO could not, and it suggests that the Syrian National Council is little more than a pro-Western puppet government-in-waiting that has been fashioned by imperialist forces.
Furthermore, Canada has supported the arming of an estimated 40-60,000 foreign mercenaries to fight inside Syria. These mercenaries form the backbone of the Free Syrian Army, and indicate the degree of armed foreign intervention already underway in Syria. The recent elections in Syria had a higher voter turnout than in Canada, and a number of independents and government opponents were elected and have been included in the cabinet. The Syrian people have spoken, yet Canada and other interventionist forces continue to pick sides in an internal matter.
In the case of Iran, the frenzied drive to war has obscured certain significant facts from the public eye:
- Iran is a non-nuclear state and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and is under the supervision of the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Iran has repeatedly stated that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and not for military ends. The fact of the matter is that neither the IAEA nor the U.S. administration has been able to show any substantiated evidence about the weaponization of Iran’s nuclear energy program. The U.S. Secretary of Defence, Leon Panetta, has publicly conceded, “there is no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapon.”
- Israel is a nuclear weapons state with an estimated 200-400 nuclear weapons, who has refused to join the NPT. There is no UN supervision over Israel’s nuclear activities. It has pre-emptively attacked other neighbouring states, and has threatened Iran with military attack many times.
- United States is a nuclear weapons state with more than 10,000 nuclear weapons, and it has not allowed any inspection of its nuclear facilities by the IAEA. The U.S. has used nuclear weapons against other countries, when it exploded two nuclear bombs on Japan and when it used uranium-enriched weapons in Iraq. The U.S. also has repeatedly threatened Iran with military attack, and has nuclear-equipped forces currently stationed in the region.
The Canadian Peace Congress supports the October 6 Day of Protest Against War, initiated by the Canadian Peace Alliance. After more than a year of conflict and violent foreign intervention, thousands of Syrian people have died. If governments like Canada are allowed to continue their current policies of aggression, interference and colonization, thousands more will die. All peace-supporting groups in Canada – including trade unions, faith communities and student groups – need to speak out and mobilize against intervention in Syria and Iran and the threat of a far broader war in the region.
The Canadian Peace Congress demands that the Canadian government:
- Immediately withdraw Canadian military forces from the region, and oppose military intervention in Syria and Iran, under any pretext;
- Restore diplomatic relations with Syria and Iran, remove sanctions, and support the peace initiatives of those states and organizations advocating a cease fire and negotiated end to the war;
- Withdraw from NATO, which has a nuclear first-strike policy and complimentary sea- and land-based ballistic missile systems, and all other military alliances;
- Promote full nuclear disarmament, beginning with the nuclear stockpiles of the United States, Israel and NATO;
- Adopt a new independent Canadian foreign policy of peace, non-intervention and diplomacy in international relations.