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Corbyn calls for end to West's cycle of conflict in the Middle East

JEREMY CORBYN warned the government against leading Britain into “another conflict led by another US president” in London on Saturday, as demonstrations across the country demanded an end to attacks on Iran.

Thousands of protesters gathered in Trafalgar Square in central London and in many other cities across Britain to oppose the conflict.

Speaking on the podium in London, Labour leader Mr Corbyn urged the West to break the cycle of conflict in the Middle East, which has resulted in “tens of thousands dying and millions more living out their lives as refugees and with terrorism as a result.”

He told the crowd: “There is no road to peace that is led by bombing or feeding arms into a region already overflowing with arms.

“Our message today is we want a British government … that will not lead us into another desperate war led by another US president.

“The only way forward is one of peace, not one conflict after another where the body bags come home to promote another conflict that promotes more body bags.” 

The mass protests came a day after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani admitted Iran “unintentionally” shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet near Tehran, killing all 176 people on board.

Mr Corbyn said: “There’s no excuse for shooting down an airliner, there’s no excuse for a targeted assassination by one state against another.

“All this does is set off a spiral of violence and danger which will lead us to yet more wars in the future,” he said.

His adviser Andrew Murray, also addressing the protest in London, argued that the US must take a “large part” of “moral responsibility” for the attack.

He said the recent “cycle of aggression” between the US and Iran started with the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, which was ordered by US President Donald Trump.

Protest organisers Stop the War described the assassination as “a provocative act that has taken us terrifyingly close to a new war in the Middle East.”

Ahead of the protests, the group’s convener Lindsey German warned: “The situation remains critical. We need to mount maximum pressure on our government and on the Trump administration to prevent further escalation.”

Demonstrations also took place across the rest of Britain on Saturday including in Bristol, Bradford, Leeds, Newcastle, Chesterfield, Liverpool and Manchester.

In Sheffield, anti-war protesters united with the city’s Chilean community who were rallying against repression in their home country.

Speakers included Bill Stewardson, whose son Alex was killed exactly 13 years ago today while serving as a soldier in Iraq. He was 21 and had an infant child.

Mr Stewardson said: “People should realise we are inching closer to more war. Since the Ukrainian airliner was shot down, arms companies in Britain have seen shares jump by 14 per cent. Philip May, Theresa May’s husband, is a major shareholder.

“As long as money is involved, the Establishment in this country is focused on selling as many weapons as possible and every two years London stages the biggest arms fair in the world.”

He said that young people faced with zero-hours contracts, working in warehouses and “being treated like dogs” chose instead to join the armed forces.

“My son worked for agencies and it did not go well. People do not see it from these angles.”

Tomorrow evening, protesters will target a high-tech US communications base in North Yorkshire.

Menwith Hill, outside Harrogate, plays a key role in US overseas military operations including drone strikes.

It is staffed by US military and civilian personnel who gather information via satellite which is used in US military attacks, including those carried out during two wars on Iraq.

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