British MPs and celebrities accused UK Prime Minister David Cameron of fanning the flames of war by exploiting the refugee crisis to justify broader military action in the Middle East.
An open letter published in the Guardian on Friday was signed by such notables as actor Mark Rylance and musicians Brian Eno, John Williams, and Charlotte Church, as well as British MPs and Nobel Laureate peace activist Mairead Maguire.
The letter states that the time has come for the UK to stop bombing and make peace.
“The US and its allies have dropped 20,000 bombs on Iraq and Syria in the past year, with little effect. We fear that this latest extension of war will only worsen the threat of terrorism, as have the previous wars involving the British government,” the letter reads.
It also addresses the refugee crisis Europe currently faces, which Cameron is “cynically” using “to urge more war.”
Britain’s parliament is due to vote next month on an extension of the UK’s military involvement in Syria, which comprises strikes both against Islamic State terrorists and President Bashar al-Assad’s government forces. In an attempt to persuade Parliament to give its permission for strikes, Cameron said “hard military force” is required.
It’s a move that was rejected by Parliament in 2013, when MPs voted against British airstrikes against the Assad regime.
The following year, MPs from all parties approved airstrikes against IS extremists in Iraq. In July 2015, Britain’s Defense Secretary said the UK should consider airstrikes in Syria to combat extremists operating from the country, but added that a Parliamentary vote would be needed first.
The letter argues an approval by the House of Commons may only lead to worsening the situation in the region.
“We are gravely concerned at the possibility of a parliamentary decision to bomb Syria. David Cameron is planning such a vote in the House of Commons in the near future. He is doing so in the face of much evidence that such an action would exacerbate the situation it is supposed to solve,” it states.
Connecting the involvement of British troops in armed conflicts across the Middle East with the suffering of innocent people, the letter reminds that the UK has “seen the killing of civilians and the exacerbation of a refugee crisis which is largely the product of wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan.”