What about an Arab-led no-fly-zone over Libya?

While the US and European Union hem and haw over launching a no-fly zone over Libya, the Dubai-based Institute for Near East & Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA) has proposed a possibly useful alternate solution: let the Arabs do it.

Riad Kahwaji, chief executive of INEGMA, quotes retired United Arab Emirates air force chief Maj Gen Khaled Al-Bu Ainnain:

“The UAE Air Force can deploy couple of squadrons – one F-16 Block 60 and another Mirage 2000-9 – the Saudi Air Force can deploy a couple of F-15S squadrons and Egypt a couple of F-16 squadrons out of Mersi Matrouh Air Base in western Egypt,” Al-Bu Ainnain said. “This would provide 120 fighters and attack aircrafts that would be backed with airborne early warning planes like Egyptian E-2C Hawkeye or Saudi AWACS, some unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for reconnaissance, and air-refueling tankers from Saudi Arabia and couple of Egyptian or UAE helicopter squadrons composed of Apache Longbow gunships, Blackhawks and Chinook helicopters, for search and rescue missions.”

Crews and troops needed for the operation could be quickly airlifted to western Egypt, and even Algeria, within hours using a large fleet of UAE and Egyptian C-130 and Qatari C-17 transporters.

You know something: He’s got a point! The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have been loading up on the world’s most advanced weapons for some time, with the ambition of becoming the region’s answer to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Maybe this is the perfect opportunity for the GCC to flex its muscle?


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5 Responses to What about an Arab-led no-fly-zone over Libya?

  1. Dave 11 March, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    Why do the Saudis or the Gulf States care if the Libyans crush their rebellion? It’s not like they’re the paragons open democratic societies.

  2. Robert 11 March, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    Excellent idea.

  3. TomS 11 March, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

    Dave has the right of it. The Gulf states have absolutely no incentive to make this rebellion succeed. Each successful anti-authoritarian revolt in the region is one step toward a revolt in their own countries. They can’t publicly side with Gaddafi but they sure would be happier if he won.

  4. TL 12 March, 2011 at 2:00 am #

    Brilliant! But why can’t I stop laughing?

    What about the French? Now that they have recognized the ‘opposition’ even though they don’t really know who they are, that opens the door for access to frozen Libyan funds abroad with which they can buy, say, french MANPADs, A-T weapons. This would bolster the opposition and effectively freeze the conflict.

    Unless of course they run out of time.

    The real problem is that if the west/friends/third parties arm/train/whatever the rebels, then they must accept their responsibility in prolonging the conflict for an indeterminate amount of time, especially if they refuse to put christian boots on more moslem ground, or, is it more or less likely to have moslem troops on moslem ground than moselm pilots over moslem territory.

    Pick a devil and give him a rub (why are devils always male, isn’t that sexist???).

  5. para 12 March, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    “Maybe this is the perfect opportunity for the GCC to flex its muscle?”

    Stephen, no offense, but if this is meant seriously, then its one more example how the West is completely oblivious about the social and political situation in a region, where everyone seems to be happy to sell cutting-edge military hardware worth billions without care for repercussions.

    Most of the Middle East-regimes currently have their hands full in quelling protests and resistance to their own regencies. Behind closed doors every single government there prays, that these protests will either abate or be crushed. Now why a Dubai-based “institute” makes such a case, is open to speculation, but its worth highlighting, that the General quoted is retired and that the UAE are relatively laissez-faire by ME standards.

    But suggesting that such military assets are provided by the Saudis, the most restrictive government in that region, or the Egyptians, who made everybody believe, they had a revolution, when in fact the very same people, minus Mubarak, are running the show – this is about as ridiculous as pointing to the Chinese for support.

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