1 August 2011 — Morning Star
Anti-war activists clashed with Tory ministers today over Britain’s ongoing bombing campaign in Libya.
Tory ministers appeared delusional as the war entered its fifth month by claiming that the war effort had been a success.
But anti-war campaigners repeated calls to end the war on grounds of international law.
Foreign Secretary William Hague has ardently defended the war as a humanitarian intervention, launched in March after Libyan dictator Muammar Gadaffi’s brutal crackdown on protesters erupted into all-out civil war.
However that showed no sign of changing, Mr Hague claimed.
He said Nato’s bombings had saved ‘many thousands of lives’ and stopped destabilisation of Egypt and Tunisia.
‘What we have done so far has been a success in achieving the objectives of saving civilian life.
‘Now we want to see a political settlement and that involves the departure of Colonel Gadaffi.’
It was up to the Libyan people to decide what happened in the end, he said. But ‘the best feature of any solution will be Col Gadaffi leaving Libya as well as leaving power.’
When pressed later, Mr Hague refused to say how long he expected the war to last – but further comments reiterated that unseating Col Gadaffi was a key objective.
‘We don’t know when Col Gadaffi will see that he has to go.
‘We don’t know when members of his regime will come to that conclusion,’ he added.
Mr Hague’s statement came just days after Defence Secretary Liam Fox claimed Col Gadaffi was ‘a busted flush.
‘The key to the Libyan resolution will be whether or not the close circle around Col Gadaffi recognise there is no point investing in him, he is a busted flush and that he will sooner or later have to leave power,’ he said.
But the Stop the War Coalition condemned the government’s actions as a breach of international law.
Coalition convener Lindsey German said that the ministers’ comments made it ‘absolutely clear’ the intervention was about regime change, she said – an act banned under the United Nations charter, which forbids ‘the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.’
And the war itself was ‘totally at an impasse. The only thing that’s been created is more instability and death,’ she said.