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China's interests in Gaddafi


What a sight. Chinese president Hu Jintao pulling a vintage John Lennon performance in Beijing and telling self-styled Arab liberator and French neo-Napoleonic president Nicolas Sarkozy to "give peace a chance" in Libya.

The top four BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) all abstained at the voting of UN Security Council Resolution 1973. In his subtle address to Sarkozy, Hu also implied his displeasure that the African Union, which was overwhelmingly against a foreign intervention in Libya, had their proposals totally sidelined by the West.

Only three days before UN Resolution 1973 was voted on, Gaddafi met with the ambassadors of BRICS members China, Russia and India, and told them, according to the JANA news agency: "We are ready to bring Chinese and Indian companies to replace Western ones." That may go a long way to explain the BRICS abstentions.

It would be tempting to see the Beijing leadership merrily watching Washington walk into another open-ended quagmire in a Muslim nation  part of a Chinese grand strategy of letting the US be distracted in peripheral Muslim countries in the arc from northern Africa to Central Asia. 

Well, it is slightly more complicated than that.


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