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PROTESTS erupted across the United States and beyond over the weekend against President Donald Trump’s bombing of a Syrian air base.
Thursday night’s strike on the Shayrat airfield, which Syria says killed nine people, was allegedly a response to a chemical weapons attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun which Washington says was carried out by Syrian government forces. Damascus denies the charge.
Emergency rallies for peace took place in more than a dozen cities from Friday night onwards, many organised by the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (Answer) coalition which is campaigning against a US attack on Syria.
The strike marks a shift in priorities for the Trump administration, which had previously suggested it was more concerned with defeating the Isis death cult than overthrowing the Bashar al-Assad government.
It prompted calls for greater intervention — including by Turkey, which demanded the creation of no-fly zones.
Creating such zones would entail shooting down Russian aircraft — and thereby risk igniting a nuclear war.
“No-fly zones are often packaged and sold to the public as a humanitarian measure,” a statement from Answer argued, but “in fact, a no-fly zone is a prelude to a war, and involves extensive bombing to cripple the targeted country’s ability to control its own airspace.”
No-fly zones in Libya during that country’s 2011 war were used to bomb the Libyan military, leading to its defeat by Islamist insurgents and a civil war which has raged ever since.
At an anti-war demo in Newark, New Jersey, organiser Bob Witanek slammed Washington’s self-appointed role as judge, jury and executioner in Syria.
“We are not in a place to say we are the arbiter of what is horrendous, when every other day there is an article about civilians being killed by an air strike or a drone strike,” he said.
New Jersey Peace Action executive director Madelyn Hoffman asked: “Is this going to trigger World War III and how do you pull the dogs of war back once you have unleashed them?”
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