“We are urgently working with our allies to see what steps we can take together in a coordinated fashion to deter and condemn what Iran is doing,” Rishi Sunak told Parliament yesterday. He went on to say, “I spoke to my fellow G7 leaders; we are united in our condemnation of this attack.”

The hypocrisy is staggering. When Israel bombed the Iranian Embassy in Syria on 1st April, killing at least 13 people, including high-ranking Iranian officials, there was no condemnation for this clear breach of international law. Israel has been launching military incursions into Lebanon, Syria and Iraq with impunity, claiming self-defence, following the Hamas attack on 7th October. But Iran is allowed no such right to self-defence by Western powers. In fact, Israel’s allies stopped the United Nations Security Council from passing a resolution condemning the Israeli attack, and the USA, France and Britain all intervened on behalf of Israel, flying missions to take out some of the drones and missiles that Iran launched against Israel.

Iran has said that, if the United Nations had condemned Israel, it would not have felt obliged to respond militarily. The real danger is that, as long as the West condemns Israel’s enemies while merely appealing to Israel to show restraint, the Israeli government will feel emboldened to go further and risk provoking all-out war in the Middle East. And if Israel were to use its nuclear arsenal against Iran we could end up fighting World War 3.

For years we have been told that nuclear weapons are necessary as a deterrent to prevent the mutually assured destruction that would be the result of all-out war between Russia and the West. But this uneasy stalemate has had disastrous consequences around the world, as the great powers have backed rival client regimes in proxy wars. We took another step towards doomsday when, dispensing with proxies, Russia invaded Ukraine. Now Israel is the rogue state threatening the world.

But the real threat comes from the United States and its allies. Having continued to arm Israel and provide unwavering support throughout the genocide in Gaza, they are now proposing to increase military aid to Israel to defend it against Iran. The Western Alliance must know that this will further encourage Israeli aggression and add to the spiral of escalation.

This is not because of some bizarre influence that Israel exerts upon the West. It is because Israel is the willing tool of western imperialism in the Middle East. But that imperialist ambition stretches around the world. It has encouraged Ukraine to believe that it can win an unwinnable war against Russia, while eschewing all attempts to achieve a ceasefire and seek a diplomatic solution.

On the other side of the world, the USA now has China in its sights. The triple alliance of Australia, the UK and the USA (AUKUS) aims to create a powerful military barrier to Chinese expansion analogous to NATO’s steady encroachment on Russia’s borders. And it can only get worse under Labour. Just as with Blair and Bush in the 1990s, Starmer will loyally support the USA in all its military adventures. Last week he visited BAE Systems’ shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness that builds Britain’s nuclear submarines to affirm his “triple lock commitment to the nuclear deterrent” and to AUKUS. Alongside shadow defence secretary John Healey, he was also accompanied by Stephen Smith, the Australian High Commissioner to the UK, to hammer home this point. Starmer has pledged to increase spending on warfare while claiming there is no new money for welfare.

The only real opposition to the drive to war is on the streets with all those demanding a ceasefire now and an end to the genocide in Gaza. Moral arguments are necessary but not sufficient. The campaign for peace is inextricably linked to the political struggle against imperialism.


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