Stop Tory drive to war in Libya with a general strike

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THE imperialist war drums are beating with a vengeance as advanced preparations for a direct military intervention into Libya by Britain, Italy, France and the US emerge into the light of day.

Over the weekend, the Tory foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, made an unannounced visit to Libya pledging money and ‘practical assistance’ to the Government of National Accord (GNA). The GNA, which in reality exists only in name, has been cobbled together by the imperialist powers out of the warring jihadist factions spawned by the 2011 bombing campaign that smashed up the democratic and advanced Libyan nation.

Its claims to legitimacy are being fiercely contested by the myriad of jihadist groups, including Islamic State (IS), who control whole swathes of the country. This bombing campaign, led by Britain, France and the US, destroyed Libya and led to the torture and murder of its leader Muammar Gadaffi at the hands of the jihadist ‘rebels’ – imperialism’s valued allies – an atrocity that the then US secretary of state Hillary Clinton greeted with an ecstatic shout on live TV of ‘We came, we saw, he died!’

Five years on from the bombing campaign these same imperialist powers are preparing for even more direct intervention, with Britain pushing to play the leading role. It emerged in January that approximately 6,000 European and US troops, including 1,000 British troops, are to be sent in as ‘boots on the ground’, while special forces from the US and Britain are already operating clandestinely in the country.

All these war preparations by the Tories have been prepared and carried out without any vote or even discussion in Parliament. Last week the Tory MP Crispin Blunt, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, complained bitterly that Hammond was being ‘less than candid’ over the plans to send troops in as part of the Italian-led action.

Blunt was put in his place by Hammond who announced that the government could go to war without any vote by MPs as the troops were only on a ‘training mission’.

This excuse was contradicted immediately by the Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon, who told the Commons that the government reserved the right to send British troops to war without asking Parliament.

Clearly, the Tories are determined that there will be no further humiliating defeats like that in 2013 when MPs voted down sending troops into Syria to oust the democratically elected government of Assad, under pressure from the huge opposition throughout the country to imperialist war.

Along with troops on the ground the British Navy is already operating off the coast of Libya with orders to turn back boats containing refugees fleeing the murderous hell-hole created by imperialism. Now the plan is to demand that the Navy be allowed to enter Libyan waters to effectively blockade the country and stop refugees from even attempting the dangerous crossing to Italy.

With the Libyan people penned in by sea, and its borders with other North African countries already closed, the imperialists are planning an all-out military campaign to achieve what they failed five years ago – to install a pliant government in Libya that will do what it is told by its imperialist masters, and to regain total control of the country’s huge oil resources from its erstwhile allies in IS and the other jihadist groups that it financed and encouraged and who now control key parts of the country.

This new war being launched by Britain and the other imperialist powers can only result in yet more carnage, more refugees and spawn yet more acts of terrorism from a country already ripped apart by a crisis-ridden capitalist system that can only solve its crisis through war to re-conquer the world for exploitation.

The only answer to imperialist war is to smash capitalism and imperialism worldwide with socialist revolution, and replace them with a world socialist republic where production is for the needs of the people of every country. In Britain the Tory war plans must be met by the working class demanding the TUC take action and call a general strike to kick out the Tories and go forward to a workers government and socialism.