Arab League: We Don’t Want No Bombs

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arab league logo.gifInevitably, it had to happen.
Despite amazing diplomatic efforts to first secure Arab League support for a No-Fly Zone, always a false hook because a no-fly zone would not have affected the military equation significantly, and then getting a UN resolution through, the head of the Arab League is now saying the organization never signed off on what the US, French and allies are now doing — meaning, bombing military sites inside Libya.
There is no doubt that Arab League members knew that what was really being debated was something that might become more intrusive than the language of an NFZ, but politically, they are feeling heat domestically for having supported large scale Western intervention against an Arab neighbor.
Hopefully — and I’m one who tends to be cynical about hope and best-case scenarios — President Obama’s intention to be involved in the Libya conflict will really just be days rather than weeks. We’ll see.
But what is enormously important is that we quickly weave Arab participants into every aspect of this military action.
Qatar and the UAE are not enough. Frankly, Qatar has already been involved well beyond its weight in the support and spread of Al Jazeera. That’s far more effective than any bombs Qatar can drop.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

69 comments on “Arab League: We Don’t Want No Bombs

  1. Kotzabasis says:

    Buchanan’s “robust dissent” has already been overcome by the robust events that have hit the Libyan ground.

    Reply

  2. kotzabasis says:

    The fleeing of Gaddafi and his high military echelons from his compound in Tripoli that contained a military command and control facility provides a unique opportunity and a propitious moment to Coalition strategists to bring the ceasing of hostilities and the triumph of the Opposition over the Gaddafi regime. Since it is more likely than not that the field commanders of the loyalist forces of Gaddafi are no longer directed in their operations from a command centre and acting on their own initiative, the Coalition, in the context of the destruction of Gaddafi

    Reply

  3. Carroll says:

    “. Libya matters to the United States not for its oil or intrinsic importance, but because it has been a key part of the rapidly
    evolving transformation of the Arab world. For Arab protestors and regimes alike, Gaddafi’s bloody response to the emerging Libyan protest movement had become a litmus test for the future of the Arab revolution. If Gaddafi succeeded in snuffing out the challenge by force without a meaningful response from the United States, Europe and the international community then that would have been interpreted as a green light for all other leaders to employ similar tactics.”
    Exactly– I don’t why that is so hard for nay sayers on this to understand.
    The Arab revolts mean the US ‘has to’ change it’s policy—-this intervention signals a policy change however small or fickle it may be when applied overall.
    But the alternative of doing nothing and seeing Gaddafi slaughter people or appearing indifferent
    would have made the US rep even worse in the ME and Africa and sent the worst possible message to the street and the rulers.

    Reply

  4. Paul Norheim says:

    A anecdotal glimpse of the resistance in Tripoli:
    “An old woman, in her late 70s at least, I’m told, entered the bank to collect her 500
    Libyan dollars ($410;

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I see that Kucinich is mouthing some toothless horseshit about impeachment…
    “And I’m raising the question as to whether or not it’s an impeachable offense. It would appear on its face to be an impeachable offense,” Kucinich said. “Now, it doesn’t necessarily follow that simply because a president has committed an impeachable offense, that the process should start to impeach and remove him. That’s a whole separate question. But we have to clearly understand what this Constitution is about.”
    Its the same shit he and Conyers pulled when Bush was in office. A lot of noise, and no action. They pander to their ever diminishing base, loosing more and more of them as their tough talk keeps being demonstrated as empty rhetoric. These wimps shut shut the fuck up if they haven’t got the balls to back their rhetoric up with strong effort and action. Reid is the same. Remember how he got his undeserved monicker of “Give ’em hell Harry”??? The little pissant made a big deal out of demanding the…what was it, Phase “two”, (?) report, then completely and utterly wimped out after getting the press attention. He got press for making the demands, but the press didn’t cover the epic wimp-out he performed. “Give ’em hell Harry” shoulda been called “Give ’em head Harry”, because its obvious he sold out. I’ve often wondered what the spineless piece of shit got in return for backing down.

    Reply

  6. Paul Norheim says:

    Marc Lynch, who on his blog at Foreign Policy was among the first “experts” to actually see the
    possible impact of the Tunisian uprising in the Arab world, has a piece today that provides food for
    thought for those skeptical toward the invasion in Libya (a group that includes Lynch himself). Excerpt:
    “President Obama’s decision to join an international military intervention in Libya has met with a
    largely negative response in the United States across the political spectrum. (…)
    This emerging consensus misses some extremely important context, however. Libya matters to the
    United States not for its oil or intrinsic importance, but because it has been a key part of the rapidly
    evolving transformation of the Arab world. For Arab protestors and regimes alike, Gaddafi’s bloody
    response to the emerging Libyan protest movement had become a litmus test for the future of the
    Arab revolution. If Gaddafi succeeded in snuffing out the challenge by force without a meaningful
    response from the United States, Europe and the international community then that would have been
    interpreted as a green light for all other leaders to employ similar tactics. The strong international
    response, first with the tough targeted sanctions package brokered by the United States at the United
    Nations and now with the military intervention, has the potential to restrain those regimes from
    unleashing the hounds of war and to encourage the energized citizenry of the region to redouble their
    efforts to bring about change. This regional context may not be enough to justify the Libya
    intervention, but I believe it is essential for understanding the logic and stakes of the intervention by
    the U.S. and its allies.
    Libya’s degeneration from protest movement into civil war has been at the center of the Arab public
    sphere for the last month. It is not an invention of the Obama administration, David Cameron or
    Nikolas Sarkozy. Al-Jazeera has been covering events in Libya extremely closely, even before it
    tragically lost one of its veteran cameramen to Qaddafi’s forces, and has placed it at the center of the
    evolving narrative of Arab uprisings. Over the last month I have heard personally or read comments
    from an enormous number of Arab activists and protest organizers and intellectuals from across the
    region that events in Libya would directly affect their own willingness to challenge their regimes. The
    centrality of Libya to the Arab transformation undermines arguments that Libya is not particularly
    important to the U.S. (it is, because it affects the entire region) or that Libya doesn’t matter more than,
    say, Cote D’Ivoire (which is also horrible but lacks the broader regional impact).
    The centrality of Libya to the Arab public sphere and to al-Jazeera carries a less attractive underside,
    though. The focus on Libya has gone hand in hand with al-Jazeera’s relative inattention to next-door
    Bahrain, where a GCC/Saudi intervention has helped to brutally beat back a protest movement and
    tried to cast it as a sectarian, Iranian conspiracy rather than as part of the narrative of Arab popular
    uprisings. It has also distracted attention from Yemen, where rolling protests and mass government
    defections might finally today be bringing down the Ali Abdullah Saleh regime.”
    More here:
    http://lynch.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/03/21/keeping_libya_in_context
    Now, if Al Jazeera and other TV-channels could focus more on the fall of the Yemenite government,
    this could provide the momentum for a continuation of the revolution. 3 out of 4 autocrats down in
    two months – and one draw, so far. That’s not bad for the Arab streets…

    Reply

  7. Paul Norheim says:

    Actually, I care much less about the respective motives of the
    Brits, the French, and the Americans than about the outcome in
    Libya and the wider region – which is to some extent (a large
    extent, I assume) beyond their control.

    Reply

  8. Philippe says:

    About sarkozy :
    If everything goes well in Libya, it might do him no more good than gulf war one did electoraly to Bush the elder.
    Ok you took part in an easy trash of a scumbag with french blood on his hands (remember UTA flight and thers), but you shook this hand.
    “It’s the economy stupid”
    If it does not ends as expected :
    You took us in another mess.

    Reply

  9. Don Bacon says:

    Paul,
    The goals of politicians everywhere, including Obama/Sarkozy/Cameron, are to pump up their poll figures. There’s nothing like beating up on a tyrant (by killing his citizens) to juice up the numbers. Gaddafi — the new Saddam.
    reports:
    After a faltering start David Cameron has restored a sense of pride to the role Britain takes in the world.
    Sarkozy’s popularity hits record low: “A fresh opinion poll shows that more than seven out of ten people in France are unhappy with his performance.”
    US President Barack Obama’s popularity is plummeting, according to the latest USAToday/Gallup poll.

    Reply

  10. erichwwk says:

    I would like to clarify my perception of the Arab league vote.
    More accurate than stating they were mislead, or that it was a case of bait and switch, would be to state that both resolutions contain clauses that limit the power of the US, that were essential to getting the vote.
    It is that the US believes itself “above the law” That contract clauses are “not binding on a super power”. What the US wants (and got in both cases) are resolutions that can be used as cover for illegal activities, and they totally ignore the clauses non-super powers require to get their consent.
    The Arab League is NEITHER parsing, nor reneging on their agreement. It is the US, the UK, and the French that are reneging on THEIR agreement.

    Reply

  11. questions says:

    Maybe Paul has the better take here…. Energize the “spring” movements, limit everything else.
    If anything has been learned from Iraqistan, it’s that internal politics matters and there have to be internal supports for gov’t change, and if anything has been learned from later ME uprisings, it’s that weak but untried dictators can be dumped, protesters/uprisers/insurgents get energy from external support but need internal legitimacy above all else, the domino effect/contagion concerns are for real, and these effects seem to spread to the US domestic scene as well.
    We’ve had many variations on many themes — Egypt may end up with far less real change at first, but far more surface change that can lead later to governance changes — the elections and parties are there, and slowly newer forces emerge to challenge the currently more organized groups.
    Libya is a work in progress ane we don’t really know what is going to happen.
    I, for now, though, doubt strongly that Iraqistan’s twin cousin is the most likely version.

    Reply

  12. erichwwk says:

    Just time to scan comments. Apologies if all this is beating a dead horse. Kudos. to all
    I hope folks see the parallel between what is happening in Libya w/the UNSC Res 1973 and UNSC Res 1441 before the Iraq invasion in 2002.
    Both were essentially attempts by the US to manipulate public perception. BOTH were quite explicit in the limits on the use of force, w/UNSC Res 1441 requiring a SECOND UNSC resolution before invading Iraq.
    The US ignored this, and were somewhat successful in convincing folks (mostly in the US) that a second UNSC resolution was not needed.
    This model is being used in UNSC Res.1973. While Lebanon voted to represent the Arab league in support of a NFZ , but NOT for overthrow of Gaddafi.
    Again the US pulled a “bait and switch”, although the US already dropped the need for African League support before the UN vote. Now they have lost the Arab League support as well.
    What might have been a UN led effort to support civilians, is now clearly just another attempt to expand US empire over oil producing countries. The US is fooling no one outside of the US. How is it playing in the US?
    Regards the Arab League knowing what was voted on:
    Nonsense. The Germans and French were quite on clear on the 2002 UNSC 1441- I know because thats how I got involved in all this back in Oct. 2002, working with the Germans and French. There is NO QUESTION that the US pulled an illegal bait and switch, avoiding the REQUIRED SECOND UNSC resolution. So it seems to me the Arab League (whether it represents the public interest is a separate,equally important question) was similarly misled and manipulated by the US.
    At least this time BRIC and Germany abstained.

    Reply

  13. Paul Norheim says:

    The army in Yemen now supports the protesters. This will
    probably provide more momentum to the “Arab spring” –
    regardless of events in Libya.

    Reply

  14. questions says:

    Stratfor on the war in Libya (the war ON Libya?)
    http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/20110319-libyan-war-2011?utm_source=SpecialReport&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=110319a&utm_content=readmore&elq=47652813cd5848d0ba6a3d966d1d56c6
    “Like previous wars since 1991, this war began with a very public buildup in which the coalition partners negotiated the basic framework, sought international support and authorization from multinational organizations, and mobilized forces. This was done quite publicly because the cost of secrecy (time and possible failure) was not worth what was to be gained: surprise. Surprise matters when the enemy can mobilize resistance. Gadhafi was trapped and has limited military capabilities, so secrecy was unnecessary.
    While all this was going on and before final decisions were made, special operations forces were inserted in Libya on two missions. First, to make contact with insurgent forces to prepare them for coming events, create channels of communications and logistics, and create a post-war political framework. The second purpose was to identify targets for attack and conduct reconnaissance of those targets that provided as up-to-date information as possible. This, combined with air and space reconnaissance, served as the foundations of the war. We know British Special Air Service operators were in Libya and suspect other countries

    Reply

  15. Paul Norheim says:

    It is my impression, based on statements as well as actions, that the ambitious goal
    of Cameron/Sarcozy/Obama is to weaken Gaddafi so much that it creates the
    opportunity for the opposition in Benghazi to conquer him.
    Then they can claim mission accomplished: The “international community” did their
    duty in protecting the civilians against Gaddafi; and the Libyans themselves liberated
    the country from the despot. This way the Western powers – especially the former
    colonial powers Britain and France – hope to get a moral and economical stake in the
    New Middle East, while the Arabs can still claim that victory was *their* achievement.
    That is, I think, their dream. The outcome may be very different.

    Reply

  16. rc says:

    No Fly Zones: Disambiguation
    “A fly is any species of insect of the order Diptera; to fly is a verb referring to flight, the process of flying. Fly may also refer to:…” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fly_(disambiguation)
    Bottom-line: this is just another jolly joy ride with many military-industrial complex fathers and mothers — and much to gain for ailing desperate economies for a burst of destructive capitalism in someone else

    Reply

  17. rc says:

    It’s a good example of the resource curse.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_curse
    Which includes the following observation:
    “Ten years from now, twenty years from now, you will see: oil will bring us ruin

    Reply

  18. DakotabornKansan says:

    A new Pew Research Center poll indicates that once again, the public is getting increasingly disgusted with Washington; and they don’t think Obama has better ideas either.
    “Now, there’s one thing you might have noticed I don’t complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain’t going to do any good; you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here… like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There’s a nice campaign slogan for somebody: ‘The Public Sucks. F*ck Hope.” – George Carlin

    Reply

  19. DakotabornKansan says:

    @ POA
    “Bullshit is truly the American soundtrack.” – George Carlin

    Reply

  20. erichwwk says:

    “More and better bombs. Where will this lead . . . is difficult to see. We keep saying, ‘We have no other course’; what we should say is, ‘We are not bright enough to see any other course.

    Reply

  21. DakotabornKansan says:

    Graham Allen, a British Labour MP, states why he will vote against the military action in Libya in the vote in the House of Commons.

    Reply

  22. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Too bad, Pepe really seems to offer opinions and analysis that are not only astute, but are a far cry from the scripted bullshit we are so used to reading”
    Just to clarify, I meant what we read in our media. I wasn’t referring to TWN.

    Reply

  23. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I once emailed Pepe Escobar and Steve Clemons in the hope that Steve and Pepe could, or would, arrange a guest post here by Pepe. Neither of them responded. Too bad, Pepe really seems to offer opinions and analysis that are not only astute, but are a far cry from the scripted bullshit we are so used to reading. Heres his latest on the Libya thing….
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MC19Ak02.html
    Excerpt….
    “t’s essential to stress that “take all necessary measures” goes way beyond a no-fly zone, stopping short of a land invasion. Crucially, it covers air strikes, or cruise missiles unleashed on Gaddafi tanks on the road to Benghazi, for instance. But it may also cover bombing of Gaddafi regime installations in Tripoli – even his headquarters. With Gaddafi willing to fight to the death it’s fair to assume the mandate only ends with regime change”
    End excerpt.
    So uh, we are gonna “regime change”, but gee oh golly we ain’t a gonna “nation build”, doncha know??? Well, if you believe that, I have some farmland to sell ya in Fukushima.

    Reply

  24. erichwwk says:

    Coalition targets Gadhafi compound
    By the CNN Wire Staff
    March 20, 2011 10:30 p.m. EDT
    Tripoli, Libya (CNN) — Airstrikes Sunday in the heart of Moammar Gadhafi’s Tripoli compound had a military objective, but also no doubt brought a message of allied resolve to the Libyan leader’s doorstep.
    A coalition military official confirmed to CNN that the compound was targeted because it contains capabilities to exercise command and control over Libyan forces. The coalition’s goal is to degrade Gadhafi’s military capabilities.
    The official, who was not identified because of the sensitivity of the information, insisted that neither Gadhafi nor his residence was the intended target. The leader’s whereabouts were not known.
    http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/03/20/libya.civil.war/index.html?hpt=T1&iref=BN1
    Sound familiar?
    We are now a part of Oh-bomb a nation

    Reply

  25. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Declaration of war from Congress????
    How quaint, a cute little foray into yesteryear, into what we once claimed to be.
    Wake up, Bacon, you aren’t in Kansas anymore. This is 2011, the founding fathers are long buried, and whatever posturing piece of shit we have in the White Houses doesn’t need your, or anyone else’s, permission to jerk himself off with our military might. If he can torture those nasty heathen sandniggers whenever he feels like it, he damned sure can rain cruise missiles down on their heads, and there’s nothing you and I can do about it. (Except, of course, pay for it.)

    Reply

  26. JohnH says:

    Obama – the Nowhere Man
    He’s a real nowhere man,
    Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
    Making all his nowhere plans
    for nobody.
    Doesn’t have a point of view,
    Knows not where he’s going to,
    Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
    Nowhere Man please listen,
    You don’t know what you’re missing,
    Nowhere Man, the world is at your command!

    Reply

  27. Don Bacon says:

    Besides all that UN subterfuge, Obama failed to get a declaration of war from Congress. Glen Greenwald documented his campaign promise to do so.

    Reply

  28. Philippe says:

    @Bornes-fontaines
    As for Saorkozy avoiding political humiliation at home well :
    Did not work, in the local election for ‘conseil generaux’ (local assemblies dealing with such things as : welfare for the really poors and childs, firemen, elementary schools, secondary roads, and some others…)
    http://www.liberation.fr/politiques/01012326661-cantonales-forte-poussee-du-front-national-et-une-abstention-record
    For those not reading French the name of Sarkozy’s party is UMP with just 16.3% of the vote. Turnout is very low (compared to previous votes) with just 46% of voters bothering to vote.
    And I don’t think the intervention in Libya played a great role, it’s more or less supported by most political parties (at least now, what if it goes wrong…).
    The army is now one of professionals, no conscript will be sent in case of intervention as happened in Yugoslavia. The emotional link in case of casualties will be weaker than in the US (no one forced them to go…).
    Sarkozy is believed by many (like you) to use this intervention to look tough, and they don’t appreciate that use of war.
    So out of the picture those local elections.

    Reply

  29. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “So off to war they have gone to fight for freedom and democracy,

    Reply

  30. DakotabornKansan says:

    Guardian headline:

    Reply

  31. Cee says:

    Frim Prison Planet

    Reply

  32. Don Bacon says:

    Warren,
    1. The United Nations was established to promote and maintain peaceful relations between nations; it has international responsibilities not infra-national ones. It was not established “to provide military assistance to people who want to be free.”
    2. I believe that the UNSC has never before ordered military action against a state in regard to an internal dispute, for good reason. In any case there is no authority in the UN Charter to do so.
    3. UN Security Council resolutions are binding only when they are invoked under Chapter VII of the Charter — CHAPTER VI: PACIFIC SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES.
    The chapter includes nineteen articles, starting with Article 33. The first nine articles detail procedural to be taken to settle disputes between states, and then:
    Article 42
    “Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.”
    4. So we have nine articles on: bringing and investigating any dispute, considering procedures of settlement, making recommendations, determining threats to international peace and security, corrective measures, interruptions or severance of relations, etc. and then an article for military action to settle an international dispute and restore international peace and security. ** INTERNATIONAL ** (between nations)
    5. So this whole rush to war in which the U.S. roped the UNSC into making a resolution authorizing its aggression against a state doesn’t follow the procedures outlined in the Charter, is unprecedented and is extra-legal because it deals with a state’s internal dispute and not with an international dispute, which is what the UN was set up to address.
    6. So the resolution is nowhere authorized in any international law nor by the UN Charter in any way and it is merely serving as a convenient crutch for another country subjected to0 a U.S. military attack.
    7. But it’s understandable why the U.S. wants to bomb Libya and not Ivory Coast, for example. Libya

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Each action / situation stands alone. And if the US has behaved despicably in the past 100% of the time, that is of no relevance as to whether what it now does is honorable”
    Probably one of the most asinine statements I have read here in sometime.
    The Muslim “street’s” interests, and that of Israel and the United States, are polar to each other. To accept your argument, one must swallow the premise that we would commit to actions that are not in Israel’s best interests. To argue that we will discard our ability to manipulate who, and what, governs nations like Libya, is ridiculous. It is equally ridiculous to advance such a premise, and to additionally state that said manipulation is based in altruistic concerns for the interests and welfare of the Muslim “street” in whatever Muslim state we are tampering with.
    At a snap of a finger, according to you, suddenly we have found humanitarian concern for a people that we have participated in murdering, oppressing, and governing by proxie with tin pot dictators and brutal megolamaniacs like Ghaddafi. Of no small import, as well, our government is actively engaged in demonizing the very people whose welfare you now claim we are suddenly overcome with concern about. Presto chango, now we are the lilly white good guys. But only selectively, and in a totally schizoid manner. While basking in this new found altruistic and humanitarian design for the Muslim street, we are just simply biding our time to intervene on the Palestinian’s behalf??? Or that of the Bahrain protestors??? Iraq???
    Oops, we musta just pushed the wrong button with our recent UN veto, and missed noticing when Israel was dumping white phosphorous on women and children, or our better behaved Arab puppets were slaughtering innocents engaged in peaceful protest.
    Egads. No wonder the scumbags in DC keep feeding us horseshit. It seems far too many of us have an insatiable appetite for it.

    Reply

  34. Warren Metzler says:

    Don Bacon, please to the this link, it will take less than five minutes of your time.
    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=6442
    It will show you that if UN passed resolutions are international law, which most international law experts agree is a fact, than bombing of ground targets is covered by this resolution.
    It may very well be that the administrations of the US, Britain and France have hidden agendas for this action. But from a logic perspective, the hidden agenda of any one party to an action has no relevance to the moral legitimacy or illegitimacy of that action.
    The real question on the table is that is it reasonable to provide military assistance to people who want to be free, who started that expression with peaceful demonstrations, as occurred in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and so forth, but were met with massive killing by the administration of that country, and so resorted to military actions to achieve their goals? Although I am a pacifist, and would never fight for any reason, I say yes military assistance is reasonable. From my perspective, if we gave diplomatic pressure as assistance when a country’s opposition was mainly protesting peacefully, it is perfectly rational to give military assistance when an opposition has to resort to military action to survive.
    I also want to comment on the specious view that if the US has in the past repeatedly supported murderous dictators, it is impossible for the US to be now acting honorably in opposing a murderous dictator. Each action / situation stands alone. And if the US has behaved despicably in the past 100% of the time, that is of no relevance as to whether what it now does is honorable.

    Reply

  35. Dan Kervick says:

    The Arab League is now backtracking on their feckless backtracking.

    Reply

  36. erichwwk says:

    From yesterday’s ABQ Peace rally:
    http://bit.ly/huj7zi

    Reply

  37. Dan Kervick says:

    The resolution doesn’t just authorize all necessary measures in enforcing a no-fly zone, but also authorizes member states to authorize all necessary measures …
    ” … to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi.”

    Reply

  38. Don Bacon says:

    Airspace is in the air, I believe, and not on the ground. At least it was the last time I looked out the window.

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  39. drew says:

    “Not a word …”
    Eh? Item 8: “all necessary measures.” It doesn’t say “to *threaten
    to* take all necessary measures.” It says to clear the airspace and
    enforce the NFZ. That’s not possible without violence, and who
    would assert that it is possible without violence (other than the
    Arab League).

    Reply

  40. Don Bacon says:

    UN security council resolution 1973
    No fly zone
    6. Decides to establish a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians;
    7. Decides further that the ban imposed by paragraph 6 shall not apply to flights whose sole purpose is humanitarian,. .
    8. Authorizes Member States. . .to take all necessary measures to enforce compliance with the ban on flights
    9. Calls upon all Member States,. .to provide assistance,
    10. . .to coordinate closely with each other
    11. . . .inform the Secretary-General. .
    12. . . .to inform the Council . . .
    Not a word about the extensive multi-phased bombing of Libya which has been widely condemned by many countries, besides being detrimental to the already-abysmal opinion of the U.S. in the Arab world.

    Reply

  41. Cee says:

    It largely represents a bunch of decrepit and kleptocratic rulers whose number one goal is to prevent what is happening to Qaddafi from happening to them.
    Indeed. They also hate Gaddhafi because he has called them impotent. They are.

    Reply

  42. Sober realism says:

    The Arab League and everyone else would do well to avoid swallowing the propaganda being promoted by Libyan state television which even Qatar’s PBS admits is less committed to facts than Fox News.

    Reply

  43. drew says:

    Well, I will keep my thoughts to myself in respect of Obama’s
    personality disorders, but let’s play this game:
    As this situation devolves into another regional conflict and farce
    — and if the Arab League turns on the US and Nato, it will be a
    blunder that dwarfs the Bay of Pigs — what would a sociopath
    do?
    Your typical white collar sociopath would say:
    a. What do you want me to do about it? I was just following the
    lead of the UN, trying to help the UN with their objectives, and I
    was told by my staff we had an antiseptic, compact, and low-risk
    plan. (Hey, I just work here, I don’t need this dumb job, and you
    can’t fire me but I can fire you, so buzz off.)
    b. Brazil is a strategic partner and it’s time we reorient ourselves
    to emerging southern hemisphere. (I’m smarter than you. Wars,
    schmores, it’s all a sideshow to the challenge of visionary
    leadership.)
    c. This is what happens when you allow people like McCain to
    advance rash policy. I checked with my staff, and they confirmed
    I never authorized any activity that would disturb the Arab
    League; if you have a problem with that, check with Miss NFZ
    World, 2011, Ms. Power. (Turnabout; attack someone else.)
    d. Hah-ha, if I had bet my NCAA bracket I’d have paid for the
    garage on the house on the Vineyard I’ll be buying soon. (I’m
    smarter and hipper than you, get a life and stop ragging on me
    for not treating these ‘interventions’ like the most important
    thing in an executive’s life.)
    ***
    Don, Gates’ very first public comment on this fiasco was, “You
    realize, you want to impose an NFZ, you have to go in and bomb
    that country.” No one is going to fly missions without first
    obliterating the air defenses. If someone thought that we were
    going to effect an NFZ and not blow things up, that person is
    delusional. Maybe not as delusional as people thinking B.
    Hussein Obama had won over the Arabs and made them our
    partner, but delusional.

    Reply

  44. Tank Man says:

    Off topic, but people like Bush, Obomba and the sociopaths
    riddling the political and Nat’l Security establishment have
    made it my mission in life to encourage as many kids as
    possible to not serve in the military.

    Reply

  45. Tank Man says:

    Ah, right, another “Coalition of the Willing.”

    Reply

  46. Don Bacon says:

    news report:
    Only the Western-oriented Gulf emirate of Qatar has announced it would participate despite Western efforts to enlist Arab military forces into the campaign.

    Reply

  47. Don Bacon says:

    McGrath’s main point (above) is that the real (unstated) allied goal is to establish a Fly Zone over Libya for allied warplanes.

    Reply

  48. DakotabornKansan says:

    The head of the Arab League is now saying the organization never signed off on what the US, French, British and other allies are now doing – bombing military sites inside Libya?
    But didn

    Reply

  49. jonst says:

    The Arab League and Obama deserve each other.

    Reply

  50. Paul Norheim says:

    Amr Moussa, the leader of the Arab League, who was a driving force behind the initial
    support for the UN resolution, has political ambitions in the new democratic Egypt. He tried
    to please the West by providing the verbal support they were craving for. Now he tries to
    calibrate his position to please his domestic constituency. He’s an old hand in the Middle
    East diplomacy, who knew exactly what he supported when he said yes to Cameron and
    Sarkozy.

    Reply

  51. PissedOffAmerican says:

    A huge oil slick now being investigated in the Gulf. Thats the what you get when you jack off a corporation like BP.
    But hey, take heart, radiation isn’t near as unsightly as oil is.
    Besides, who cares about the Gulf when we can get our rocks off by bombing the shit out of Libya?
    Yahhoooo, send in the Marines, its only money!
    And any blood spilled will just be that worthless Muslim stuff. Is it even the same color as ours is? No matter, a bucketful of it isn’t worth a drop of our own. Right, Hillary? Right, Bibi???
    Oh boy, another killing field! Go get those sand niggers, Uncle Sammy! We’ll teach those heathens that dare go against our designs!
    If we kill enough of them, someday they’ll be free, by God. And if we’re REALLY lucky, one of our smart bombs will get that Allah character, and THEN we can stop killing them for good.
    Long live the Christian God, the one, the only, the merciful.

    Reply

  52. Don Bacon says:

    I guess we need George W. back. Bush got Gaddafi to give up his nukes but Barry didn’t even try to get Gaddafi to stop shooting his people, and didn’t listen to his military chief, but after his arm was twisted a bit he went straight to the bombs and missiles and now we’ve got bloggers blaming the ineffectual Arab League for what Obama did.
    I didn’t know that the Leader Of The Free World was (suddenly) so beholden to the Arab League. Well, thanks to the U.S. (specially Clinton) touting the League when its support was semingly required, its withdrawal of support is now a significant factor. What goes around, comes around.

    Reply

  53. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “America, however,

    Reply

  54. Don Bacon says:

    drew, I don’t know what the Arabs (or McGrath) are thinking but I suspect they envisioned a NFZ in Libyan airspace w/o large scale aerial bombardment of Libya itself.
    They know what’s going on and what’s possible. If Israel and the US can destroy a car traveling on a highway in Palestine or Pakistan from some remote location without having any forces in the vicinity, then why can’t the allies knock an airplane out without using tons of warheads on the ground below and planes circling all around? We’ve had an AWACS in the air which “sees” everything that moves.
    Of course AWACS also “sees” radar-emitting sites which are then designated targets for waves of bombers and cruise missiles, their accuracy a matter of question, and that’s when the cheese gets binding. The mil guys enjoy shooting off and dropping their ordnance and they need real-case training (getting ready for Iran?), but the Arabs don’t like still another Muslim country being blown up by unpopular westerners.
    news report:
    Nineteen U.S. warplanes, including stealth bombers and fighter jets, conducted strike operations in Libya on Sunday morning. The warplanes included Marine Corps Harrier Jets, Air Force B-2 stealth bombers, and F-15 and F-16 fighter jets. It is the next phase in the operation that started Saturday with the launch of more than 110 Tomahawk Cruise missiles from U.S. and British warships and subs.

    Reply

  55. Carroll says:

    Marc Lynch nailed it days ago:
    Don’t exaggerate Arab support for Libya No Fly Zone
    Posted By Marc Lynch Tuesday, March 15, 2011
    “As urgently as they want the international community to come to the aid of the Libyan people, ..”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Well then, tell them to take responsibility and clean up their own house for a change.
    I am not gung ho on intervention or the US and Europe having to be the ME cops either.. but this constant bullshit of expecting the US and Europe to “do something” and then criticizing us for it is ridiculous.
    And this…”The U.S. would be better served focusing on rapid moves toward non-military means of supporting the Libyan opposition.”…is so stupid it defies common sense.
    Use non military means–taking gawd knows how long, drawn out and costly against a mad man’s military? All that would do is extend this into forever and wear down the opposition instead of Gaddafi.
    One sentence for the Arab league—Put up or Shut Up.
    And we ought to send them the mother of all invoices for once again doing their job for them while they speak out of both sides of their mouths to protect their own positions.

    Reply

  56. Don Bacon says:

    It is a tad misleading to imply that the Libya fiasco involves the US, UK and France doing the bidding of the ineffectual Arab League when it was really the Ladies League (Hillary, Samantha, Susan and Ann-Marie) that pushed the bus over the cliff, poor Barry at the wheel.

    Reply

  57. DonsBlog says:

    Nothing like the support of Arab despots in the military intervention against and Arab despot.
    What could go wrong?

    Reply

  58. drew says:

    Don, I haven’t read McGrath’s essay but the opening sentence that
    you quote is incoherent. Has McGrath discovered some new way to
    control the airspace that doesn’t involve warplanes and ordinance?
    Were we supposed to just fly in circles at 40,000 AGL so that the air
    defenses could be left untouched?
    But it’s a great rhetorical approach: all those newly-minted lefty
    military enthusiasts can say now that the NFZ was the right call, it
    was just somehow botched in the execution.
    My head hurts.

    Reply

  59. drew says:

    At first I thought this was just more Arab cynicism, but given
    how predictable it was (“Stop Gaddafi, how dare you stop
    Gaddafi, you dirty infidel crusaders”), I think it sinks further to
    simple cravenness. And this is what happens when ingenue
    college professors take command of a superpower’s armed
    forces. Like, what the Arab League meant all along was that we
    were supposed to commit Nato, a carrier task force, and an air
    armada — and not break any dishes. Right?
    To continue the metaphor, the next thing we’ll hear from the
    Arab League is Powell’s Pottery Barn Rule: now that we’ve broken
    the country, we own the outcome. What are *we* going to do to
    clean up the mess?
    Time and again, as a footnote, we see the blinding,
    overwhelming military and technology and cultural superiority
    deployed by the USA — and an immediate reaction of rage,
    because rage is about the only thing a personality can muster in
    the face of abject humiliation (how many more decades will it be
    before our 1980’s cruise missile technology is duplicated by an
    Arab state?) So last night it was raining cruise missiles and the
    invisible B-2s were completing 9000-mile round trip sorties, and
    these corrupt little kleptocrats haven’t even learned yet how to
    air-refuel one of the C-130s we sold them. They can’t build a
    computer, a jet engine, a GPS chip, an iPod, a functioning
    economy that does anything besides sell assets that they dig or
    pump out of the ground.
    So in decoying us into this misadventure, we demonstrate in 24
    hours their impotence and corruption, for all of their unemployed
    and disenfranchised to see.
    I’m sorry but this was just way too predictable. While tasteless,
    I’m going to quote myself, March 13:
    “… And astonishing that the Arab League seeks USA intervention.
    To what end? So that once again the USA can be vilified for
    committing arms, treasure and blood on behalf of these
    slaughtered, nascent democrats?
    “…Obama could have actually done some good here, in
    advancing a
    noninterventionist role for the USA. He could have said,
    “Look. For 10 years we have been vilified in this very region for
    eliminating the most murderous of tyrants. We have given, and
    given, and given — and we have been reviled. I ran for this
    office in large measure by stridently opposing the Bush doctrine,
    Bush rhetoric, and Bush military campaigns.
    “Now that another Arab country is on fire and being assaulted by
    its own government, we are somehow supposed to be the
    difference-maker. I’m not doing it. I’m not sending our Navy
    and Air Force and Marines into what is no different than the last
    conflagration. If Iraq was a matter for the region to arbitrate,
    then surely is Libya. We have provided more than adequate
    military capabilities to the sufficiently trained militaries of this
    region. If the Arab League cannot act on its own decision to
    impose a no-fly on Libya, because Syria and Yemen do not wish
    it to, it is not, again, going to be American blood and what’s left
    of American wealth solving this problem. They can’t have it both
    ways, not on my watch.”
    No, instead we get the aptly named Samantha Power filling the
    bureaucratic vacuum, because, after all, she wrote about the
    importance of using hard power to intervene in Darfur.
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2011/03/commen
    ts_to_al/#comment-181045

    Reply

  60. Don Bacon says:

    A “No Fly Zone” in Name Only
    Bryan McGrath — Information Dissemination
    “It has become clear a day after its imposition that what allied forces are doing is NOT imposing a “No-Fly Zone”, so much as they are imposing absolute air supremacy in order to enable them to conduct operations against fielded Libyan forces on the ground. These are two very, very different matters. One deprives the the target of his ability to use the air to prosecute his own counterinsurgency operation (which after all, is what Qaddafi is doing), and the other (our operation) is designed to enable allied forces free reign from the air to support the insurgents.”

    Reply

  61. Don Bacon says:

    It was a bogus mission w/o a clear objective to start with, and big explosions which kill a bunch of humans clarify peoples’ thinking.
    Marc Lynch nailed it days ago:
    Don’t exaggerate Arab support for Libya No Fly Zone
    Posted By Marc Lynch Tuesday, March 15, 2011
    “I am just leaving the Al-Jazeera Forum in Doha, where I had the opportunity to discuss this question in depth with a wide range of Arab opinion leaders and political activists as well as several leading Libyan opposition representatives.
    “Every Arab opinion leader and Libyan representative I spoke with at the conference told me that “American military intervention is absolutely unacceptable.” Their support for a No Fly Zone rapidly evaporates when discussion turns to American bombing campaigns. This tracks with what I see in the Arab media and the public conversation. As urgently as they want the international community to come to the aid of the Libyan people, The U.S. would be better served focusing on rapid moves toward non-military means of supporting the Libyan opposition.”

    Reply

  62. Warren Metzler says:

    Taking advantage of reading TWH as this comment from Steve came on line, I want to present several comments.
    First in regard to relevant and irrelevant comments. It is clear to me that Steve focuses on foreign affairs, and comments on this blog ought to focused on foreign affairs.
    Two. Having a blog on which to post, even if the person who establishes the blog doesn’t take banning action, doesn’t make it reasonable for a poster to perceive this blog as his or her personal soap box; writing away about his or her favorite complaints. Civilized people ought to discipline themselves. I laud Paul in being willing to express a reasonable frustration.
    Three. A look at definitions. Words exist in language as a means for each person to communicate to others her personal inner experience regarding all of life’s issues. But this communication capacity becomes an exercise in fantasy and delusions if words are not properly used. War is an example. To me a war is where two groups actively fight each other, with the intention of taking over the other and establishing control over the other. If A attacks B by some means, without the intention of taking over B and subduing B to A’s desires, because A in only interested in changing one of more of B’s behaviors, that is a police action, not a war. Which makes the behaviors of certain prominent American clever idiots; like Nixon with his absurd war on cancer, and Bush junior in his equally absurd war on terrorism; to be quite counterproductive for the health of US residents and many residents of all of the world.
    Four. Each activity stands alone, and should be evaluated on its own merits. So the current no fly plus resolution against Gadhafi; it is not against the Libyan people, but against a tyrant who lives in a delusion that his personal fantasies are somehow the desires of all how live in his country. And it should be evaluated on his own merits. It is definitively not similar to Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Yemen. Afghanistan was a war from beginning, Iraq was a war from the beginning. Yemen was surreptitious police action from the very beginning. This police action in Libya is, from my perspective, a valid action, and whether it is valid is based on what it accomplishes in Libya; not at all whether the world leading governments have the guts to take the same actions against all other countries who treat many groups of their residents similarly to Gadhafi’s does in Libya: China (Tibet,Uyghurs, Fulun gong), Saudi Arabia, Russia (Muslim majority areas), Sudan, Zimbabwe, Syria, Israel, etc., etc. etc.).
    Five. Police actions rarely evolve into war. Kosovo didn’t, Clinton era cruise missile attacks against Al Queda didn’t, the no fly zone over Iraq from 1993 to 2003 didn’t, etc. So enough of this boogie man argument.
    Six. The majority of the leaders of Arab countries are merciless dictators. And that they wanted exactly what is in the UN resolution before, and now have second thoughts as they realize they may very well be next, should be perceived as the gasps of a self-centered egotists, not at all as reasoned perspectives that merit assessment.

    Reply

  63. Dan Kervick says:

    Yemen’s UN Ambassador resigned today in protest over the government’s killing of protesters.
    Thousands are protesting in Syria’s southern city of Daraa.

    Reply

  64. Don Bacon says:

    SC: “There is no doubt that Arab League members knew that what was really being debated was something that might become more intrusive than the language of an NFZ, but politically, they are feeling heat domestically for having supported large scale Western intervention against an Arab neighbor.”
    That’s arguable, given the first two paragraphs of UNSC 1973 which illustrate that even the UNSC had different priorities than bombing the shit out of Libya.
    The Security Council,. . .Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
    1. Demands the immediate establishment of a cease-fire and a complete end to violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians;
    2. Stresses the need to intensify efforts to find a solution to the crisis which responds to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people and notes the decisions of the Secretary-General to send his Special Envoy to Libya and of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to send its ad hoc High Level Committee to Libya with the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution;
    Granted the AL should have known that “all necessary measures”* in Para. 4 opened the door to allied bombing, but most of the resolution is concerned with the control of air and sea transport (arms embargo).
    *. . .to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory,
    Large-scale bombing, by its very nature, affects civilians and therefore violates the primary goals of the Resolution which are a cease-fire and diplomacy. Besides gaining the disfavor of the Arab League, the bombing offensive has drawn criticism from Russia, China, India and Germany. (Brazil is apparently holding its tongue while Obama is there, but Russia spoke out while Gates was there.)

    Reply

  65. PissedOffAmerican says:

    We interuupt the regular scheduled programming to bring you this important message…..
    The number “4” has officially been excised from the Japanese language.

    Reply

  66. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The Arab League does not fully represent the Arab people”
    As if we have ever acted in their interests?

    Reply

  67. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians,” Mr Moussa told Egypt’s official state news agency.”
    Well, it appears Mr.Moussa “gets it”. When has our decision making process ever had anything to do with the citizens of whatever country we are fuckin’ with? Whether going to war, or propping up some monster of our own making, it has never really been about the so-called “street”.
    And now, suddenly, we have launched yet one more military adventure out of altruistic concern for this “street” that has been yoked, for years, by our seduction of a tyrant? Yeah, right.
    You think you are going to launch some 120 cruise missiles and not take out a substantial number of non combatants? And what of the destroyed infrastructure? You think a cruise missile confines its explosive carnage to the inner boundries of its targeted building or installation?
    This is yet one more blossoming clusterfuck, that the Arab League’s protestations foreshadow. We have an inept and cowardly President, a card carrying hawk for a SOS, a waffling little synchopant for a SOD, and a majority party that has never seen a dead Muslim that didn’t warrant a cheer.
    And meanwhile you have an idiot society, here, that buys into yet one more horseshit excuse about why we are now gonna bomb the bejesus out of some foreign people while our own house crumbles in decay.

    Reply

  68. Dan Kervick says:

    Isn’t the most important Arab participation that is needed a re-launched offensive by the Libyan rebels themselves? We also need to get them the tools they need to communicate more effectively with the rest of the world, so they can counter Qaddafi’s propaganda campaign and begin to establish themselves as the real voice of Libya.
    It really irks me that back in late February, when Qadaffi was close to abandoning Tripoli, when he could barely communicate with the world from his bunker, when Libya’s US and UN ambassadors had abandoned him and demanded he step down, and when the opposition was on the march and advancing, no tangible support was given. All Gaddafi had to do was say, “Al Qaeada, Al Qaeda” and he sapped US will and manipulated US media and pundits for crucial weeks.
    The Arab League does not fully represent the Arab people. It largely represents a bunch of decrepit and kleptocratic rulers whose number one goal is to prevent what is happening to Qaddafi from happening to them.

    Reply

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