The allied ground offensive won general political support Monday, but the prospect of a swift victory led some supporters to worry that U.S. objectives might go beyond driving Iraq from Kuwait.

China, the Soviet Union, India, Indonesia and Arab nations that support Saddam Hussein were among countries that either withheld support for the assault or opposed it outright.Financial markets surged Monday on hopes the war would end soon. In Tokyo, the dollar soared and the Nikkei index jumped 559.95 points, closing at 26,462.76. Australia's share market had its highest close in five months.

Allied nations strongly backed the ground assault, and many newspapers joined their governments in blaming Saddam for what the Daily Telegraph Mirror in Sydney, Australia, called "bloody arrogance."

"The ground war signals the allied powers' determination not to let Iraq and its shifty friends snatch a political victory from the jaws of almost certain military defeat," wrote the Straits Times in Singapore.

British Prime Minister John Major said on Sunday that he was "absolutely convinced that there is no choice" but to continue the ground war until Iraq has been forced from Kuwait.

In Germany, where anti-war sentiment has been strong, Chancellor Helmut Kohl declared "firm and inviolable support" for the assault.

Kuwait's ambassador in London, Ghazi Al-Rayes, told the allies, "Thank you for liberating my country."

"People there are suffering, waiting for you to help them," he said.

But there also was uneasiness that Bush's military solution might go beyond restoring Kuwait's sovereignty - as provided for in resolutions passed by the U.N. Security Council - to getting rid of Saddam.

"The United States should refrain from conducting military actions that might lead to an expanded interpretation of the U.N. resolutions," the Japan Economic Journal said.

"We should not make this ground war `the war for Americans,' instead of the benefit of the U.N.'s function to maintain peace."

The Soviet Union said Bush had missed a "very real chance for peace" by not giving more of a chance to Soviet efforts at brokering a peace acceptable to both sides.

Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman Vitaly Churkin complained that "the instinct to rely on a military solution prevailed, despite . . . Iraq's agreement to withdraw its forces from Kuwait."

The United States rejected the peace plan, saying it was not in line with U.N. resolutions demanding that Iraq withdraw unconditionally.

Iran also had led peace efforts, and Monday the Tehran Times - which reflects the government's thinking - called the assault "illegitimate."

Former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi met with Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani in Tehran to discuss ways to end the war, Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency said.

Gandhi has criticized the allies for not compromising to end the war.

Indonesia's foreign minister, Ali Alatas, said: "Ending the conflict through military means will only leave deep scars, and the postwar situation will be full of difficulties."

Arab sentiment split along the lines of countries that had been sympathetic to Saddam and those that backed the coalition.

In Yemen, Jordan, Tunisia and Algeria, political leaders condemned the allied attack.

Thousands of anti-coalition demonstrators took to the streets of Yemen's capital, San`a, on Sunday. President Ali Abdullah Saleh told them the ground assault "is not designed to liberate Kuwait but an attempt to destroy Iraq's human and military potential."

The Palestine Liberation Organization held the same view.

But in Syria, a member of the allied coalition, state-run newspapers blamed the Iraqi leadership for the offensive and said only Saddam could save his people from a "catastrophic situation."

"All of this is now taking place because the Iraqi regime wasted all Arab efforts to save Iraq and to prevent foreign intervention in Arab affairs," the Syria Times said Monday.

Anti-war protesters around the world expressed anger at Bush's decision to reject the 11th-hour Soviet peace proposal accepted by Iraq.

In Melbourne, Australia, police Monday arrested 30 people when about 100 anti-war demonstrators formed a chain around the Commonwealth Defense Department center.

In Israel, Foreign Minister David Levy said on Sunday that he told Secretary of State James A. Baker III by telephone, "We are with you and wish you success."

The Jewish state is not a member of the allied coalition, but it has been the target of frequent Iraqi missile attacks during the war.