Dear members: With so many actions necessary to counter the bellicose and war-mongering nature of our present US administration, we can't forget the egregious and illegal precedents being set. Mary HH
STATEMENT OF THE WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM US SECTION ON THE US BOMBING OF SYRIA ON APRIL 8, 2017 AND THE GENERAL STATE OF AFFAIRS IN THAT COUNTRY
We, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, US Section (WILPF US), continue to be outraged at the ongoing situation in Syria, most recently the unwarranted, illegal and reprehensible bombing undertaken by our own US warships that launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Al Shayrat airfield on the orders of Donald Trump in his role as President of the United States, ostensibly related to claims of Syrian governmental utilization of chemical weapons within the country that we did not bother to substantiate and at a cost of further damage to the credibility of our government in the world community.
We reiterate, as we stated earlier in this conflict, that the intervention of foreign powers in the fighting within the nation of Syria has served to escalate, rather than to diminish, the level of hostilities. We specifically call upon our own government to cease the delivery of weapons and its active participation in the fighting in that nation, and to stop all arms transfers. We make this request in light of the grave humanitarian situation on the ground, which we believe is surely being exacerbated by US participation. We understand other nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, are also involved in similar ways, and we would hope that the US withdrawal might encourage others to do likewise.
We believe that the only solution to the crisis in Syria is one which is led by the Syrian people themselves. We realize that the complexity of the situation is difficult for outsiders to understand. We also do not believe that any single group or faction has all of the answers. What we do know is that civilians are being left with few options, that many have fled and are living elsewhere as refugees, and that others have either died in the hostilities or are slowly dying of starvation. We abhor the loss of life, the indignities to home, family, and life itself that are the result of this current situation. We call for an immediate ceasefire and the lifting of all blockades that prevent food and medical supplies from entering, and those who wish to leave from doing so. We also condemn the bombing of hospitals and schools, as these acts are violations of the Geneva Conventions. We call for an increase in humanitarian help to the population at risk and continued help for the refugees. We hope that all other nations involved in the conflict, including Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, will also cease any arms shipments or military engagement in Syria. Our goal is the de-escalation of conflict in that troubled land.
Our hope is that the Syrian people themselves will be able to decide who should be their legitimate leadership. This can only happen with free and open elections. At this time, that has become difficult, if not impossible, as a high percentage of the population is no longer present in the country. Therefore, we urge that the US take on as its only role the encouragement of the parties to participate in peace talks once a ceasefire has taken hold (unless the US State Department were also to undertake provision of substantial funds for humanitarian aid through the United Nation's relief efforts). The goal of those talks should be agreement that elections will take place, either once repatriation of refugees has occurred, or once a mechanism to include the greatest possible number of those living abroad as refugees has been worked out.
Therefore, we condemn the unilateral and outrageous offensive actions undertaken by our own government in the unwarranted bombing in Syria and urge the US government to take the following actions:
- Withdraw from all fighting within Syria;
- Work for a ceasefire;
- Assist with humanitarian aid and allowing safe passage for refugees wishing to leave;
- Aid in bringing the parties to negotiations leading to free and fair elections;
- Assist in the rebuilding of the country by providing material support, with no strings attached; and
- Reaffirm the democratic rights of all Syrians.
We also urge WILPF members and all Americans to contact your elected representatives to register protests against this latest US aggression against Syria, and to urge Congress instead to undertake the six actions set forth above as well as participating in meaningful negotiations within the framework of the United Nations.
Find your Members of Congress and your Senators by calling the main number for the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or looking up email info at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.