Military Operation in Libya Sees Little Sign of ‘Crucial’ Arab Participation

Patrick Goodenough|CNSNews

Even more glaring Sunday than the absence of early Arab involvement was an apparent shift in position by Arab League secretary-general, Amr Moussa. “What has happened in Libya differs from the intended aim of imposing the no-fly zone,” Egypt’s MENA news agency quoted the Cairo-based Moussa as saying in a statement. “We want to protect civilians, not the bombing of more civilians.”

Two consistent themes running through the Obama administration’s public statements on Libya last week were that the Arab League endorsement of international action was pivotal, and that Arab “participation” – not just support – was vital.

But in the first 24 hours of Operation Odyssey Dawn (or as the French and Britain are respectively calling it, Operation Harmattan and Operation Ellamy), neither of those principles seemed secure.

The absence of any obvious Arab involvement during the first day of air strikes on Libyan air defense systems and other military targets underlined the unmistakably Western nature of the mission, an impression that the Obama administration had been so keen to avoid.

Qatar’s state news agency confirmed Sunday that the small Gulf state will deploy four aircraft to help enforce the no-fly zone, and several aircraft from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reportedly were en route to an Italian air force base on island of Sardinia.

But when planes from either country would be deployed over Libya was not immediately known. British Defense Secretary Liam Fox said he expected it “in the next couple of days.”

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