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'US, UK, France gamble on Libya war'
Fri, 29 Apr 2011 20:21:36 GMT
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US ground troops in camouflage
An analyst says the United States and Britain will be dragged into a potentially protracted long-term conflict in Libya by deploying ground troops in the country.

In an interview with Press TV, Ayo Johnson, director of Viewpoint Africa, noted that Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi and his army have held up strong against NATO air attacks as plans are being made by the US, Britain and France to increase ground troop presence which other countries view as disastrous in long-term war efforts.

Press TV: You've known about the sentiments on the streets of Benghazi. There is that sentiment that more could be done with regards to this war and uprising. We do know Britain has revealed plans to deploy troops to the Libyan border with Tunisia, many see it as the initial stages of seeing boots on the ground, militarily. Do you think this will be welcomed by the revolutionaries in Libya?

Johnson: I think the revolutionaries will welcome it in the short term. But the longer the conflict goes on, public opinion will soon start to change against those who see it as interfering in the local politics.

There's an element of risk associated with the ground troops. But we should be more cautious that over the last few weeks and months, Special Forces have been on the ground. They've been there, especially from the United States and Britain, to coordinate the mental efforts, flight movements and delivery of their bombs against Gaddafi's troops and armory.

If the extension of that is now going to be much more visible signs of ground troops, there's an element of risk associated with a prolonged war, a confused action by those troops and, very much, the United States and Britain being dragged into a potentially protracted long-term conflict. The elements of risks are there for all to see.

Press TV: Failure is not an option for many in Libya, and it's not an option for the NATO allies that are embroiled in this campaign right now. Because failure is not an option, how have you seen the understanding and implementation of the UN mandate evolve from just imposing a no-fly zone to regime change?

Johnson: You could see that it's gone through stealth, one would say so. The effort was to protect civilians and then it was there to protect the property; and now, of course, we are talking about regime change.

The UN mandate doesn't call for a regime change. The coalition is struggling, which is why you have a group of countries which have literally broken away from the coalition as a whole, and that's mainly Britain, America, and France, who decided to go unilaterally to call out for a regime change. That's the only option for the result of this conflict.

The minute you start going down that route it means that you're distancing yourself from the international community; you're distancing yourself from the UN resolution. You're literally going it alone.

What you do find is that discord with what the UN wants and what Britain, France, and America are determined to do. The regime change is not one that's supported by Russia or China and, clearly, there's a break in the international coalition and support for this war.

And I think it then leaves those three countries in limbo as we move forward, especially when things could, potentially, go so wrong with ground troops, potentially go wrong with an escalation of the war, potentially go wrong with an increase in costs associated with such a conflict of this sort.

And, of course, public opinion starts changing locally, internationally, and regionally. It leads to all sorts of undertones that can happen.

I think Britain, France, and America are taking a huge gamble when they themselves do not have the international community behind them.

Press TV: Is this going to conclude with a negotiated settlement, in your opinion?

Johnson: As it is, we were talking about a stalemates on Press TV for a very, very long time when we started this off many, many weeks ago; we're still in a stalemate situation.

And, if the current status quo cannot be maintained, there's no doubt about that, I think negotiations are the way forward and a political settlement in the long-term.

But when you do have very powerful countries like Britain, France, and America, who have huge influences in the world development and economies, growth and so forth, it's very difficult for you to determine otherwise when they decided to go a completely different course.

A political option is the more feasible one, the more sensible one being that we have a stalemate situation and the rebels are not going to be strong enough to defeat Gaddafi.

Gaddafi has been weakened everyday by the air bombings but then he is not weakened enough to be totally defeated. I think a political solution is the other way forward but Britain, France, and America think otherwise. It's very difficult.

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