Less than a day into enforcement of the no-fly zone over Libya and cracks are apparently appearing in the 2011 edition of the coalition of the willing with the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, reported to have said the following:
“What has happened in Libya differs from the goal of imposing a no-fly zone and what we want is the protection of civilians and not bombing other civilians.”
Western governments have been quick to respond, knowing that without Arab backing they could find themselves in yet another quagmire. A spokesman for Barack Obama told Reuters:
“The resolution endorsed by Arabs and the UNSC (United Nations Security Council) included ‘all necessary measures’ to protect civilians, which we made very clear includes, but goes beyond, a no-fly zone.”
The difficulty of course stems from the fact that for the coalition to be able to operate a no-fly zone safely, air defences have to be destroyed. Easy enough to do without collatoral damage if they are sitting in the middle of nowhere but as Gaddafi has been taking a leaf from the book written by the Palestinians and embedding them into civilian areas, the chances of non-combatants being killed in suppression raids become almost a near certainty.
Precision guided weapons are designed to be accurate but they are also full of explosive. The warhead on a Tomahawk missile contains 1,000lb of muntions whilst each bomb dropped from aircraft can be double this. All of which adds up to a very large explosion come detonation time. Why make bombs that large? Because when accuracy is measured in meters rather than millimeters, a large explosion makes up for not quite pin-point perfect accuracy.
However I am getting off topic. Back, therefore, to Amr Moussa.
Moussa is an Egyptian and before he became SG of the Arab League he was, from 1991 to 2002, Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Mubarak government. He is also, if opinion polls are to be believed, the current front runner to become the next President of Egypt and, although reports of his candidacy are not confirmed at this time, he has not ruled out standing.
Given that Qatar and the UAE have sent aircraft to support the no-fly zone it would seem at this time that Amr Moussa is guilty of gross politicking. But if so, he isn’t the only one. I’m looking at you, David Cameron, and you, Nicolas Sarkozy.