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Monday, March 21, 2011

So-Called Arab Leaders Bang A U-ey

'Arab League condemns broad Western bombing campaign in Libya' THE WASHINGTON POST's Edward Cody reported on Sunday.

The Arab League secretary general, Amr Moussa, deplored the broad scope of the U.S.-European bombing campaign in Libya and said Sunday that he would call a league meeting to reconsider Arab approval of the Western military intervention.

Moussa said the Arab League’s approval of a no-fly zone on March 12 was based on a desire to prevent Moammar Gaddafi’s air force from attacking civilians and was not designed to endorse the intense bombing and missile attacks — including on Tripoli, the capital, and on Libyan ground forces — whose images have filled Arab television screens for two days.

“What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone,” he said in a statement carried by the Middle East News Agency. “And what we want is the protection of civilians and not the shelling of more civilians.”
Earlier today, the L.A. Times'  Meris Lutz reported that Amr Moussa had, as it were, banged a U-ey, and  
qualified comments he made a day earlier criticizing the reported civilian toll from Western airstrikes in Libya, telling reporters in Cairo on Monday that his organization and the U.N. Security Council are "united" on the need to protect civilians after saying he received assurances on the protection of noncombatants.

The Arab League "respects the U.N. Security Council resolution, and there is no contradiction," Moussa said. "We will continue working to protect civilians, and we will ask everybody to take this into consideration in any military operation."
Meantime, despite the fact that the Coalition is acting under the aegis of a UN Resolution, as well as the approval (however qualified) of the Arab League and the support (however qualified) of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Turkey not only thwarted concerted NATO action on Sunday, but now contends that the Coalition's actions are illegal, reports Simon Tisdall in THE GUARDIAN :

Speaking in Mecca on Monday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, elaborated his country's misgivings.

"Our biggest desire is for this operation to be finished as soon as possible," he said. "Our biggest desire is for the Libyan people to determine their own future ... Now the issue is, is Nato going into operation? If Nato is going into operation, we have some conditions. Nato should recognise that Libya belongs to the Libyans, not for the distribution of its underground resources and wealth."

The Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, raised legal objections. "There are legal procedures for the establishment of a coalition in an international operation. We take the view that for Libya, these were not sufficiently respected."
All of the above is as predictable as the lack of any concrete action on the part of so-called Arab leaders--beyond continuously emitting gaseous pronouncements--to assist their co-religionists in Libya.

I, for one, would be interested to know how these so-called leaders, on their own, without U.S. and European military forces assisting,  would propose to ensure the safety of Libyan civilians who were being pounded by Gadhafi's Air Force until the Coalition implemented the no-fly zone, and who continue to be pounded by Gadhafi's tanks and artillery days after the Libyan dictator has declared his bogus ceasefire.  
       
At the same time, it is less entertaining than infuriating to hear Turkish officials rant about international legal niceties. For decades Turkey has ignored international objections to its invasion of Cyprus, subsequent expropriation of Cypriot property, and continued military occupation of half of the island nation. And at present, Erdogan's regime flouts domestic legalities daily in its crackdown on the Turkish press.