Arab League Condemns No-Fly Zone They Called For

A mere week after calling for a no-fly zone over Libya, the Arab League is now criticizing the nations implementing a no-fly zone over Libya:

CAIRO (AP) — The head of the Arab League has criticized international strikes on Libya, saying they caused civilian deaths.

The Arab League’s support for a no-fly zone last week helped overcome reluctance in the West for action in Libya. The U.N. authorized not only a no-fly zone but also “all necessary measures” to protect civilians.

Amr Moussa says the military operations have gone beyond what the Arab League backed.

Moussa has told reporters Sunday that “what happened differs from the no-fly zone objectives.” He says “what we want is civilians’ protection not shelling more civilians.”

File this under “You can never please anyone.”


FILED UNDER: Africa, United Nations, World Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    So much for all of the friends we’re going to make by opposing Qaddafi.

  2. Tony says:

    So basically, the Arab League wants a NFZ and it wants somebody else to enforce it, not them, but they want it to be done without at any point firing on the Libyan air defence network, or indeed pretty much anything at all,

    I don’t know what the policy is on swearing indiscriminately in your comments section, so I’m going to go and sit in a darkened room now.

    But seriously, this should actually have been quite predictable. Did anyone serious think the Arab countries wouldn’t start having a hissy fit once things got underway? They want us to do their dirty work for them and they want to sit back and call us scum while we do it.

  3. TG Chicago says:

    Supposedly one of the big reasons Obama agreed to get involved was due to the Arab League’s approval. I wonder if, as the Arab League retracts their approval, Obama will retract the US from involvement.

    Yeah, right.

  4. michael reynolds says:

    You guys are all over-reading this. This was a given that the AL would be hypocritical. When have they not? They’re the girl who provokes a bar fight and then squeals and says, “Stop, you guys, stop.”

    Qataran planes are reported to be moving to bases near Libya. Tunisia? And do we assume that planes wearing Qataran colors are actually theirs? Possibly Saudi? There are thick layers of hypocrisy and denial at play.

  5. The Arab League was only backing the no-fly zone as a distraction from the fact they’re doing the exact same thing in Bahrain that we’re supposedly angry at Libya for. If they’re against it again, that must mean they’re done crushing the rebellion in Bahrain.

  6. I am just suprised they went about their 180 as fast as they did. Everyone would have expected some AL members to turn away at the first opportunity (Syria and Yemen first of course), but Moussa openly acting like this surprises me. Behind all this are a large number of Arab regimes frantically making power-realist calculations.. not realizing their world and their peoples perception of them is no longer theirs to control.

  7. TG Chicago says:

    @reynolds: “You guys are all over-reading this. This was a given that the AL would be hypocritical. When have they not?”

    That being the case, why did Susan Rice — at Obama’s instruction — specifically use the AL’s call for intervention as a justification? Why did Obama use a source that was “a given” to be hypocritical?

  8. Does the fact that Amr Moussa backtracked on his backtrack, and that the Arab League re-affirmed its support for UNSCR.1973 merit a post?

  9. Richard Collins says:

    Wow, really? I’m just now getting into history now that I see it happening all over the place and i’m getting interested. So I really don’t know much about the Arab League yet, but I think the hardest information for me to get so far is intentions. Anyone know why they waver often? It is to set, or get a sense of, a popular opinion?