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China Places Bets on Both Sides of the Libyan Conflict as Part of a New “Non-Aligned” Strategy

Libyans take part in a demonstration against eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar, and in support of the UN-recognised government of national accord (GNA), in the Martyrs' Square in the GNA-held capital Tripoli on January 24, 2020. AFP

China was so traumatized from the 2011 UN-intervention in Libya that led to the death of the country’s former ruler Muammar Gaddafi that is employing an entirely new strategy now as the North African country once again descends into all-out civil conflict.

The longheld non-interference doctrine that has been a guiding principle of Chinese foreign policy for more than half a century is evolving into a new “non-aligned” strategy where Beijing isn’t staying out of the conflict but also not taking sides between the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA). Instead, the Chinese are seemingly placing bets on both sides of the conflict in an attempt to handicap the outcome so whoever prevails China’s interests will be secure (or at least that’s the plan).

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