Sunday, April 10, 2011

I knew it seemed too good...

There are a lot of jokes about "too good to check" out there.

Well maybe, when the Arab League was part of the call for a no-fly zone in Libya, somebody should have checked.

. The Arab League is historically an anti-Western alliance. Specifically anti-Israel, but more than willing to have voiced troubling opinions pretty much any time Western governments are drawn into any Middle Eastern trouble. They certainly were no help at all in Lebanon in the 1980's, for one example.

.. The Qaddafi regime in Libya has never abandoned its Arab Nationalist credentials. Sure, he played the "we are African" card all the time in the AU, especially when Moammar viewed it as an extension of his petty empire, and he had his fallings out with other Arab leaders, but the Arab League never really turned against him... until, apparently, this time.

... There are elements always present in the Arab League that spend their time looking for any opportunity to get a foot in the door on matters in the unresolved portions of the Palestine Mandate. Any opportunity.

So, no one should be surprised in the slightest that *this* is their latest scheme:
The Arab League on Sunday announced during a special meeting in Cairo that it plans to press the UN to impose a no-fly zone over Gaza amid an escalation in violence in the area, AFP reported.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said he plans to present the proposal to the UN Security Council, the report said.
I knew it seemed too good when they seemed to be making a reasonable request to intervene in Libya; Reasonable requests and the Arab League have simply never coexisted in the past.

There is always an angle.



Mr. Bill said...

So, they present it to the UN Security Council and we vote against it. Don't UNSC resolutions for action have to be unanimous? And even if it passes, it'd just be one more of the hundred or so UN resolutions Israel has defied.

How is this substantively different?

L.Douglas Garrett said...

@Mr. Bill

UNSC Resolutions? A small supermajority of membership (9+ of 15), without veto by a permanent member, is required for anything non-procedural. Unanimous is the desired process, and often considered necessary for less-that-resolution level edicts (like President of the Council's Statements), but rarely achieved. Even then, the only ones that really count are Chapter VII resolutions, which are the only kind indisputably legally binding on all ratified signatory nations of the UN Treaty.

Two things about that "hundred or so" concept:

1) don't count the General Assembly Resolutions; they are never binding external to U.N. processes (the vote of the UNGA to select a Secretary-General is binding, obviously; the vote of the UNGA to condemn some activity of a member nation is, on its own, not.)

2) there is a lot of legal quibbling over what "defied" means in a lot of UNSC cases. The usual course is to argue the act of defiance before the UNSC meeting on a following resolution, then to add language stating "so-and-so having acted in defiance of previous UNSC resolution number such-and-such" as the justification for whatever binding and coercive penalties the UNSC intends. Generally speaking, Israel has avoided being the target of such actual penalties in the past... albeit mostly because of the threat or execution of a veto by a permanent member, nearly always the USA. Doesn't make it necessarily right, but it has been so.

This case is substantially different because:

It may be a weasel-way for the Arab League to back out of the Libya Intervention, and to do further harm to the UNSC's already pretty weak reputation in the Middle East and North Africa. "You aren't fair! It's only against Arabs that you do such!" sort of claims (for domestic politcal cover back home and in the court of world opinion) followed by a retraction of their call and endorsement of the Libya Intervention...


You shouldn't discount the possibility that there is more intended by this: The opinion-on-record of several advisors to the Obama administration is that a UN Intervention would be a desirable mechanism to force a conclusion to the Palestine Question. It is by no means the declared position of the administration, but dragging such out in formal session could cause any number of disputes within the Obama administration that certainly would further confuse their efforts (and although unlikely, the outcome *might* be a USA abstention on the vote... and then things could really get out of hand, at least diplomatically).

To sum up: It's a nasty little nuisance play by somebody the USA and EU (in part) were supposedly helping by getting involved in the Libya Intervention. Heck of a way to say "thank you", if you ask me.

Will said...

Isn't "... disputes within the Obama administration that would further confuse their efforts ..." [emphasis mine] an awfully high bar to pass?

In other words, do you think we'd be able to tell the difference?

L.Douglas Garrett said...


"The difference between genius and stupidity..." comes to mind, so yeah, I think we'll notice. Unfortunately.