Statement of  Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives, Margaret Melkonian, Executive Director, 516 741-4360
The Long Island Alliance calls on President Obama to support a ceasefire in Syria and to work with Russia and other countries to push both the government and the rebels toward negotiations to resolve the civil war, now in its third year. According to the most recent UN report, more than 93,000 Syrians have been killed and millions more are refugees with 1.5 million in neighboring countries.
Despite only 11 percent public support for US military intervention in Syria, President Obama has decided to intervene in the civil war . . . by sending small arms and ammunition to the rebels. One can argue that the US has already intervened by sending weapons, organized by the CIA, through Qatar.
According to an article by Tom Hayden: “The given reason is that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons ‘on a small scale multiple times in the past year,’ according to the White House.  Intelligence officials say 100-150 people died from the attacks. Even if the chemical testing proves accurate, that can only bea pretext in a conflict, which has claimed at least 93,000 lives and seen barbarism on both sides.”
“Fearing the collapse of rebel forces, the US is stepping onto the treadmill of escalation. Whatever steps are taken now by the US and NATO, of course, if they choose, can be countered by Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah,” says Hayden.
Many warn that US intervention makes the situation worse for the Syrian people with tens of thousands more killed as more weapons fuel the violence. Furthermore, it increases the likelihood of a wider regional war in the Middle East.
By taking the side of the rebels, the US ignores the long-term consequences of such an intervention. Once again we ignore the failures of the US war in Iraq – a war that was based on false “intelligence” – a war that continues to have horrific consequences for the people of Iraq. The US must step back from the brink of another tragic war and use its power to bring about a diplomatic solution.
When the G8 meets this week, the LI Alliance urges President Obama and President Putin to:
·       Support an immediate ceasefire in Syria;
·       Initiate urgent peace talks;
·       Commit to not providing weapons to either side; and
·       Ensure that the more than 8.3 million Syrians who need aid can access it.
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