Global General

Attacks may drive Libya to 'anarchy'

By Wu Jiao and Ma Liyao (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-03-21 08:24
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BEIJING - Air strikes launched by Western forces against Libya will bring anarchy to the North African country, analysts warned.

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Zhang Xiaodong, deputy chief of the Chinese Association for Middle East Studies, said that the military action launched by US and European forces will only add to Libya's domestic chaos, and thus runs counter to the stated objective of the US and its allies to seek an immediate ceasefire in the strife-torn nation.

Gong Shaopeng, a professor of international politics at China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, said that Libya may descend into anarchy as it is a "loosely connected tribal society".

Meanwhile, Russian news agency RIA Novosti on Sunday quoted an anonymous military diplomat in the Middle East region as saying that the military action may actually strengthen Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi's hand.

"The situation in Libya is very complicated; the conflicting parties are at a short distance from each other and the missile attacks may trigger an opposite reaction, as a result of which the so-called opposition and rebels will join forces with Gadhafi," the diplomat said.

Attacks may drive Libya to 'anarchy'

The diplomat said that the air strikes were destroying civilian and economic facilities and the declared goals of creating a no-fly zone over Libya ran counter to the US-led coalition's real actions.

"The American and French military who have attacked Libyan sites are treading on a very dangerous line beyond which irreversible consequences may start and cause large-scale combat operations," the unnamed diplomat added.

Military commentator Liang Yongchun told China Central Television that the length of the air strikes would depend on the time span of ground battle in Libya.

If the ground battle ends and Libyan government force overcome the rebels, then Western countries will turn to severe sanctions as the main form of punishment, said Liang.

But experts are divided over whether the coalition forces will proceed with a ground invasion.

The United States has reiterated its stance of limited involvement in Libya, and vowed not to send ground forces there.

"It is unlikely that there will be a ground invasion, as Western countries do not want to get deeply engaged. Otherwise, they will get severely stuck like the situation in the Iraq war," said Li Qinggong, deputy secretary-general of the China Council for National Security Policy Studies.

Speaking at the West Point military academy on Feb 26, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates made clear that he does not support a ground invasion.

He said that "any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should 'have his head examined', as General MacArthur so delicately put it".

Li Lianxing contributed to this story.