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West Will Have To Supply Arms To Libyan Opposition, Say Russian Pundits

Muamar Khadafi and Ban Ki-MoonMoscow, 30 March: The coalition of Western countries which has been conducting a military operation in Libya against Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi since 19 March (2011) will inevitably have to supply arms to the Libyan opposition, Russian pundits interviewed by (Russian news agency) RIA Novosti said.

"The way the situation in Libya is developing has confirmed the fears of Western allies regarding the military incompetence of the Libyan opposition. Insurgents have demonstrated their absolute inability to introduce any dramatic fundamental change to the course of military actions, even with the air support from the West," expert of the Institute of Strategic Studies and Analysis Sergey Demidenko has said.

He went on to say that Western countries have got themselves in a situation when there is no way back.

"The West has wanted to topple al-Qadhafi for a long time. And when a riot started in the country, leaders of Western countries, driven by the euphoria of the Egyptian and Tunisian events, considered that al-Qadhafi had already been toppled. Libya's Interim National Council has already been recognized, political support to the opposition has already been provided, and now it turns out that the positions of al-Qadhafi are rather strong in the country and he is successfully beating the insurgents. So now there is no way back for the coalition, they can only oppose al-Qadhafi," he said.

Director of the Middle East Studies Institute Yevgeniy Satanovskiy agrees with him saying that the only possible option to provide help to Libyan insurgents is to supply arms to them. "The current situation has proven that without the air cover from the Western coalition, without a ground operation, which nobody in the West wants because it will involve them in another campaign similar to the Afghan one, the opposition is unable to defeat al-Qadhafi. The only thing which can help them is the supply of arms, both official and unofficial," he said.

But the arms that the West will supply to the Libyan opposition will inevitably be turned against the West, the pundit said. "Any weapons which we give to anybody is turned against us later. Any weapons that the West gives to certain groups are turned against it, as we have seen in the situation with Al-Qa'idah which Western countries armed, educated, trained and then met on 11 September in New York and Washington," he said.

Asked why the West is not afraid that the tragic events might repeat themselves, Satanovskiy said that "in modern world supplying arms to the opposition has become a generally accepted norm". "And it is not a matter of fear, it is a matter of the absence of an ability to draw parallels, to conduct strategic and tactical analyses, which Washington and Brussels are totally incapable of today," he said. (Passage omitted: background information)

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