What's Next for Libya after Western Airstrikes?
    2011-03-23 10:32:40     Xinhua      Web Editor: Zhangxu
 

Libyan workers protest at the wreckage of the Boussetta Libyan navy base destroyed by U.S. missiles in Tripoli, capital of Libya, March 22, 2011. [Photo: Xinhua]

But on Sunday, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa surprised the West by criticizing the bombardment of Libya. "What has happened in Libya differs from the goal of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not bombing other civilians," Moussa said.

He even called for an emergency Arab League meeting to discuss the overall situation after the Western military intervention.

CIVIL WAR WITH PARTITION?

Many Norwegians fear that after the Western military intervention, Libya could fall into long-term turmoil and chaos, in which the Libyan people would also suffer.

"Yes, and this is one of many disturbing dilemmas," Hansen said.

"There is no fixed state apparatus to replace the current regime, no democratic tradition, no political parties or organization to be a solid civic society. And the opposition seems to agree on only one thing, to remove Gaddafi from power," the researcher said.

A long-lasting conflict without a defined regime change and sporadic heavy clashes with a severe number of civilian casualties will result in firm pressure on the coalition to send ground troops to avoid a large number of casualties, he added.

Egeland agreed with Hansen, saying that a long civil war in a divided Libya is a very bad option.

MASSIVE REFUGEE FLOW TO EUROPE?

What could be the short- and long-term impacts on European countries if Libya eventually falls into prolonged civil war?

Egeland said he believed the economic and social impact on Norway would be minimal and that the main impact of a civil war in Libya would be mostly psychological.

"There could be massive refugee flows across the Mediterranean to Southern Europe," Egeland said. "Nobody can be unaffected by so much suffering so close to Europe."

The prolonged chaotic situation in Libya will also lead to an increase in oil and gas prices in the short term and cause instability, organized crime and terrorism, anger and hatred of Europe as well as greater pressure in Europe to engage more in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Hansen said.

"Norway will earn more money than other oil exporters if the oil prices go up, but lose just as much by the economic problems in our export markets," Egeland said.

Norway will gain more both politically and economically in the long term if Libya and the rest of MENA will develop into a more stable region, Hansen said.


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