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?