Prime minister David Cameron was accused today of cynically exploiting the US presidential elections and the plight of Syrian refugees to ratchet up the case for war.
The PM has come in for fierce criticism during his three-day tour of the Middle East over his role in securing arms sales to despotic regimes and double standards over human rights abuses.
While consistently condemning the abuses of the Assad regime, Mr Cameron has been happy to meet and greet representatives of other repressive regimes including those of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both of which have been accused of gross violations of human rights yet continue to be armed by Britain.
The PM pledged today to work with newly re-elected US president Barack Obama to find ways to end the bloodshed in Syria after spending time at a refugee camp in Jordan.
"It is truly horrendous to hear those stories and redoubles my determination that now, with a newly elected American president, we have got to do more to help this part of the world, to help Syria achieve transition," he said.
But Stop the War convener Lindsey German accused Cameron of cynically ratcheting up the war threat and blatant double standards.
She said: "No doubt millions of people in the Middle East will be fearful of the 'help' that David Cameron wants to give them. He brought 'help' to Iraq and Libya and now wants to bring it to Syria and Iran.
"We have seen what he really means by helping - selling arms to hideous dictators and monarchs. Criticising the human rights records of governments with which he doesn't agree and turning a blind eye to abuses by governments with which he does.
"This was a totally cynical exercise. Really what he is doing is taking advantage of the US election to try and stoke up war again."
She pointed out that there were up to two million Iraqi refugees in Jordan after the invasion of Iraq.
"I don't remember anyone from the British government going to visit them."
Meanwhile anti-arms campaigners said that the PM's visits to United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia - where he was decorated by King Abdullah - and Oman sent a very clear message of support for the countries' regimes.
Campaign Against Arms Trade spokesman Henry McLaughlin said: "The Prime Minister claims that he wishes to support democracy in the Middle East but at the same time sells arms to these authoritarian regimes.
"Despite everything that has happened in the last two years, the UK government continues to bolster authoritarian regimes with weapon sales and to spend taxpayers' money on promoting further deals. They don't just approve the arms sales, they promote them."
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