Will France, Britain and America Wage a Ground War in Libya?

On March 19, the Libyan War broke out. One side of the war is a grand army consisting of France, Britain, America and Libyan anti-government armed forces; their opponent is Gadhafi and his lonely government army, or plus a few of his supporters perhaps. The West does not call it a war even though the missiles are raging, flames are burning the sky and people are dying; instead, they think of a pretty name for it: Operation Odyssey Dawn. But in Gadhafi’s words it doesn’t sound that poetic. He calls it with direct clarity “the crusaders’ invasion.”

The war in Libya is the biggest military operation conducted by the West against the Muslim world in the Middle East and North Africa since the Iraq War in 2003. Before the war broke out, America and its European allies were acting in accord — posting military threats publicly, making military mobilizations and deployments and then conducting a military strike. They are so confident that they entirely look down upon their opponent. And their excuse for the air raid is even more “ingenious” — without military support the common people who are under the oppression of the dictatorship in Libya cannot be protected.

The Libyan War, however, differs from the Iraq War on one point — that is, regarding Iraq, the leading role was played by America, Britain was simply following and France insisted on the opposite direction. This time, however, concerning Libya, Britain and France snatched the main role and left America merely cooperating. American President Obama said that the U.S. supports its allies in their military operations without taking the lead. In fact, it’s not that America doesn’t want to be a leader, but rather that it costs a high price to be in such a position. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have given America a good taste of being a leader, so it would be better just to give the spotlight to Sarkozy this time. In the case of Libya, France is running up front. Apart from trying to gain dominance in the waves of democratization in the North African countries, what Sarkozy values the most is the upcoming French presidential election in 2012. Therefore, his attempt at making a scene in Libya is just his trick to win over voters at home.

The air raids carried out by France, Britain and America were based on a decision of the UN Security Council passed on March 17. The aim was to set up a no-fly zone to protect the common people there. Yet the international community knows very well that the real intention of America and its European allies is to overthrow the Gadhafi government and spread Western democracy in Libya. So the first question proposed itself immediately: Will Gadhafi step down willingly? King Ben Ali of Tunisia has escaped to Saudi Arabia and former Egyptian president Mubarak was deprived of power by his people. If Gadhafi chooses one of these two options willingly, the Western allies would lose their excuse for further military interference in Libya. But the issue is that Gadhafi is a hard nut to crack; he will not lower his noble head to the invaders, but would rather call for his people to stand firmly on their mother land and protect their home in the sea of fire.

Now another question pops up: Will France, Britain and America wage ground warfare? Everyone knows that only air raids can hardly beat Gadhafi down unless he himself steps down willingly. Back when America caught Saddam, it was by way of sending in ground troops. On March 19, after attending the Libya Summit in Paris hosted by Sarkozy, Canadian Prime Minister Harper indicated that the Western allies’ strategy is to fight against Gadhafi’s government army and then let the anti-government force beat him down and obtain the power. During the summit, some held the opinion that if Gadhafi insists on not stepping down himself, ground warfare is inevitable.

If ground warfare really begins, will Libya be another Afghanistan? It has been 10 years since America started the war against Afghanistan in 2001, and the Western democracy advocated by America over there still hasn’t gained a firm foothold. But now the situation is that there are big differences and constant arguing between America and its European allies concerning Libya. If the three countries send armies and occupy Libya, it would be against the decision of the UN Security Council; what’s more, it would put an unbearable “Afghanistan-style burden” on the shoulders of the Western allies.

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