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The disunited nations over bomb strikes

With protests growing around the world, serious splits have emerged in the international community over the military intervention in Libya, with some nations asking such basic questions as what the endgame is and how long it will take.

Just days after forsaking its chance to veto the UN resolution that authorised the air strikes, Russia offered the most jarring commentary, with prime minister Vladimir Putin saying: "The resolution is flawed. It allows everything and is reminiscent of a medieval call for a crusade. In fact, it allows intervention in a sovereign state."

Germany also repeated its misgivings about the operation and the Chinese government condemned what it called "armed action against a sovereign country".

Below is a table of where the nations stand on the conflict:

Arab League

What they said: The League's head Amr Moussa, caused ripples on Sunday when he condemned the air strikes, saying: "What we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians."

What's the impact: His comments undermined Western assurances that the action on a Muslim nation had Arab backing.

What are the motives? Arab leaders are walking a diplomatic tightrope, with many League members facing their own protests and keen to keep the international community on-side.

But the mostly Muslim nations also have to consider domestic opinion.

China

What they said: The Chinese government's state media compared the strikes with action in Iraq and Afghanistan, calling it "armed action against sovereign countries".

What's the impact: Practically, not much, as it chose not to use its veto when the UN Security Council voted last week. However, developing nations look to China as an alternative voice to the West.

What's are the motives? China has a history of ducking countries' affairs, in the hope that the nations will repay the favour when China comes under fire for its political system and human rights abuses. It also relies heavily on the Middle East for oil.

Russia

What they said: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was scathing yesterday, calling the UN resolution "defective", adding that it "resembles medieval calls for crusades".

What's the impact: Like China, Russia also opted not to wield its veto at the UN, but Mr Putin's harsh comments come as Barack Obama tries to improve ties with Moscow.

What are the motives? Mr Putin said the action showed Russia is right to boost its defence capabilities. Military posturing is a large factor, with Mr Putin also keeping an eye on a presidential poll. Russia also tends to avoid getting entangled in other nations' affairs.

Turkey

What they said: Prime Minister Recep Erdogan said Nato should enter Libya only to determine that it belongs to Libyans and not to distribute its resources and richness to others".

What's the impact: Turkey is opposing a Nato military strategy, throwing the operation into turmoil as European nations urged a united front.

What's are the motives? Some diplomats claim Turkey was angered by its exclusion from talks on Libya, and there have been protests in Ankara. Turkey is the only predominantly Muslim Nato member, thus its support is crucial to the alliance.

Germany

What they said: Germany argued at the UN that the no-fly zone carried risks -- Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has told parliament military operations bring civilian victims".

What's the impact: Germany abstained at the UN Security Council, but its decision not to take an active role led to some analysts saying it has isolated itself from Nato allies, France and Britain.

What's are the motives? German public opinion is firmly against military intervention and with crucial state elections this year, commentators say Chancellor Angela Merkel is looking to boost her popularity. The country is also bogged down in the war in Afghanistan, which is deeply unpopular at home.

United States

What they said: "Our consensus was strong and our resolve is clear," Barack Obama has said. The coalition is prepared to act with urgency, he said.

What's the impact: There was little appetite on Capitol Hill initially for another military intervention and caution over the no-fly zone, so there was relief from Britain and France when the US finally put their weight behind it.

What's are the motives? The US was determined not to be caught on the wrong side of history, watching as a dictator unleashed violence but the US has taken a back seat, keen not to be seen as pushing "regime change" which battered its standing in the Muslim world after Iraq and Afghanistan.

France

What they said: "It's a grave decision we've had to take," President Nicolas Sarkozy said at the weekend. "France has decided to play its part before history."

What's the impact: France firmly opposed military action in Iraq, and for Britain and the US, their involvement has helped to boost the allied operation's credentials as a global push rather than appearing as a unilateral action.

What are the motives? President Nicolas Sarkozy's enthusiasm is partly domestic, with a presidential election due next year. Libya has been a perfect opportunity for Mr Sarkozy to appear proactive, energetic and statesmanlike.

Britain

What they said: "He continues to brutalise his own people and so the time for action has come," British prime minister David Cameron has said. "We cannot allow the slaughter of civilians to continue."

What's the impact: Britain and France were the two nations spearheading the diplomatic push for a no-fly zone and strong action against Colonel Gaddafi and their armed forces are leading the operation.

What are the motives? Britain, like the United States, has been bruised by the Iraq war, while the current government has also suffered from revelations of the links between the establishment and the Gaddafi regime.