28 February 2011

Jason Miks, The Diplomat: “‘Osama Bin Laden Did It’”

Jason Miks, ‘Osama Bin Laden Did It’,” The Diplomat, 25 February 2011.

While Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi takes a further step from reality by blaming the unrest in his country on al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, there are a couple of interesting China-related developments I wanted to mention before the weekend.

The first relates to an interesting report over on China Sign Post from Andrew Erickson and Gabe Collins, who penned a guest entry for us earlier this month. They note that the PLA Navy has apparently dispatched a missile frigate usually tied to its ongoing counter piracy task force off Somalia to provide cover for an evacuation mission from Libya. …

As they argue, Beijing’s quick response in dispatching the Xuzhou demonstrates a nimble touch in what’s sounding like an increasingly chaotic situation. Erickson and Collins report that as of 23 February, China’s Commerce Ministry was saying at least 27 Chinese-run construction sites had been attacked by armed individuals, resulting in numerous injuries.

The take away quote: ‘Xuzhou’s mission marks an important milestone because to the best of our knowledge, this is the first ever dispatch of a PLA military platform specifically assigned to help protect a non-combatant evacuation operation to help (its) citizens trapped in an active conflict zone.’ …

For more details on Beijing’s dispatching of the frigate Xuzhou to escort ships transporting Chinese citizens from Libya, see:

Gabe Collins and Andrew Erickson, “Missile Frigate Xuzhou Transits Suez Canal, to Arrive off Libya ~Wednesday 2 March: China’s first operational deployment to Mediterranean addresses Libya’s evolving security situation,” China SignPost™ (洞察中国), No. 26 (27 February 2011).

Gabe Collins and Andrew Erickson, “China Dispatches Warship to Protect Libya Evacuation Mission: Marks the PRC’s first use of frontline military assets to protect an evacuation mission,” China SignPost™ (洞察中国), No. 25 (24 February 2011).

For analysis of Beijing’s interests in Libya and the surrounding region, see Gabe Collins and Andrew Erickson, “Libya Looming: Key strategic implications for China of unrest in the Arab World and Iran,” China SignPost™ (洞察中国), No. 24 (22 February 2011).

For early projections regarding Chinese efforts to protect citizens overseas, see Andrew Erickson and Gabe Collins, “Looking After China’s Own: Pressure to Protect PRC Citizens Working Overseas Likely to Rise,” China SignPost™ (洞察中国),  No. 2 (17 August 2010).