Why Nobody Takes the Arabs Seriously


This post isn’t about the wisdom of imposing a no-fly zone on Libya.  I’m leery of this in the same way I was a little leery about our involvement in Kosovo: we’re on the right side, I’m just not sure we’re doing the right thing.  But troops are in action, and that calls for support, and prayers for their safety and success.

This post is about Arab fecklessness and manipulativeness, which often go hand-in-hand.  March 12:

The league’s secretary-general, Amr Moussa, was quoted in the German weekly Der Spiegel as advocating a no-fly zone in advance of the meeting, though he conceded it wasn’t clear who would impose it and how.

“I am talking about a humanitarian action,” Moussa said. “It is about standing by the Libyan people with a no-fly zone in their fight for freedom against an increasingly inhumane regime.”

The Arab League does not have the ability to impose the no-fly zone itself, but the decision is seen as an essential first step before the European Union, the United Nations and the United States move forward with official considerations of the proposal. (Emphasis added)

Today:

But Arab League chief Amr Moussa said what was happening was not what Arabs had envisaged when they called for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya.

“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,” he said.

For some reason, the Arab League’s support was considered a diplomatic necessity before stepping in.  I’m sure there’s a reason this qualifies as “Smart Diplomacy,” but hopefully we’ll at least file this away for future reference.  This group of impotent “leaders,” running militaries incapable of imposing a no-fly zone by themselves, even with the air forces we’ve supplied them over the decades (I’m looking at you, Egypt and Saudi), turn to NATO to do the work, and then turn around and complain about it when, you know, the work gets done.

Don’t tell me they didn’t know what was involved.  There was  no-fly zone over parts of Iraq for over a decade, and its enforcement occasionally involved breaking things and killing people.  These folks have a remarkable capacity for sympathy about human suffering when it’s politically useful, and not too often otherwise.

I’m sure we’ll hear the normal plethora of explanations about this.  They really didn’t want us to go in.  They really wanted us to go in, but to do more.  They really want us to go in and do more, but they have secret reasons of their own.  They really don’t want us to go in, but they said so to placate their people, and now, they’re doing the same thing once the shooting started.  They really want to be able to blame whatever happens on Israel, so they can distract people.  They’re telling us one thing behind closed doors, and saying something different in public because they think they have to, or want to, or have some other agenda.  They’re using this to bargain for something else.

The fact that Arabs do this sort of thing all the time – saying one thing, then saying something else, then doing a third thing – doesn’t make it normal.

And it certainly isn’t any reason to take them seriously.

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