Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 50 Number 29, August 1, 2020 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

For an Anti-War Government

The call for an Anti-War Government with a modern democratic personality in which the people speak in their own name, where deeds and words are one, which does not prioritise military spending over funding health, education, and other programmes for the people's social wellbeing, and which eschews the use of force to settle national and international differences, but instead stands for peace, democracy, justice and progress - this is the essence of the programme of the working class and people of our time.

In contrast, the present government of the cartel parties can be characterised as pro-war. For example, in a recent keynote address, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace suggested that the British government might learn from Turkey's military intervention in Libya.

This was mainly a speech designed to justify the British government's development of new forms of warfare including the recent signing of a £65m contract with the US monopoly General Atomics to build Britain's first three Protector drones. The Ministry of Defence is reportedly poised to purchase a total of up to twenty drones. The Defence Secretary approvingly spoke of Turkey's capacity to deploy drones in Syria where he explained the "Assad regime suffered heavy losses", including of 3,000 military personnel. The British government approves of Turkey's intervention in Syria and in Libya.

"Look how Turkey has been operating in Libya where it has used Bayraktar TB-2 UAVs since mid-2019," Ben Wallace said. "Those UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) have conducted intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and targeting operations against frontlines, supply lines and logistics bases. In July last year they struck the Libyan National Army controlled Jufrah airfield destroying several command and control nodes as well as two transport aircraft."

Turkey is now one of the main interventionist forces in Libya, a country where there has been an ongoing civil war since 2011 when NATO, led by Britain, France and the US, intervened in the country to bring about regime change and the assassination of Libya's political leader Muammar Gaddafi. At that time the British government claimed that it was bringing democracy and stability to the country, but the NATO invasion brought exactly the opposite, an ongoing civil war, as well as a refugee and humanitarian crisis that has spread throughout northern African and engulfed the Mediterranean and southern Europe. Wallace's admiration for Turkey's intervention in Libya shows that the current government is continuing to support external interference in that country.

Turkey has emerged as the main military backer of what is referred to as the UN-backed government in Libya, while France, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan and Egypt have been the main backers of General Khalifa Haftar, whose forces have been attempting to remove that government by military means. Turkey is just one of the powers supplying arms and mercenaries to the conflict which has led to clear divisions between NATO members and especially between Turkey and France.

Turkey's purchase of an air defence system from Russia has also alarmed some of its NATO allies and led to its expulsion from NATO's stealth fighter programme. Moreover, the widescale use of mercenaries and the importation of weapons into the Libyan conflict by all the interventionists makes a mockery of the UN agreements and arms embargo to which all, including the British government, claim adherence.

The use of Syrian and African mercenaries threatens to further escalate the conflict throughout the region, as does the recent decision of the Egyptian parliament to approve the sending of troops to Libya. It now means that both Turkey and Egypt are openly sanctioning military intervention whilst other powers still do so covertly.

Although this conflict is partly about Libya's oil wealth, it also reflects wider geopolitical struggles which embroil all the major players, with increasing contradictions amongst them. As their contention increases, the peoples of Libya and surrounding countries continue to suffer both from the ongoing civil war and the humanitarian crisis exacerbated by it.

The dire situation in Libya and throughout the region is the result of the meddling and military intervention of Britain and its allies and the warmongering policy of regime change. It demonstrates yet again the need for an Anti-War Government in Britain. Justice- and peace-loving forces are standing against Britain's purchase and use of weapons of mass destruction, against military intervention and all interference in the affairs of other countries, and are demanding that Britain withdraw from the warmongering NATO alliance and that NATO be dismantled.

Let us build the movement for an Anti-War Government in Britain!


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