There is not a no-fly zone over Zimbabwe, where an oppressive dictator capriciously murders its citizens while condemning them to a life of poverty. There is not a no-fly zone over Bahrain, where the Saudi National Guard is reinforcing a regime shooting its people in the streets. There is not a no-fly zone over Yemen, which is also shooting demonstrators. There is not a no-fly zone over Syria, where the Assad dynasty is once again killing the opposition, and where decades earlier — without a hiccup from the international community — it destroyed the entire city of Hama to suppress an uprising.
None of the pious rationales for intervention in Libya seem to square remotely with the way in which the international community generally, and the United States specifically, deals with tyrants.
Just days prior to our intervention in Libya, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was before the cameras admonishing everyone that no-fly zones don’t work, using Iraq as a case in point.
So what changed?
If we are to believe Andrea Mitchell, the Arab League convinced Hillary Clinton to persuade the administration to bring down the murderous Libyan dictator. This explanation is so comical that it should be a skit for Saturday Night Live. The Arab League is made up of some of the most ruthless, oppressive, and illegitimate regimes on the planet. The league is best-known for issuing the infamous “Three Nos of Khartoum,” condemning Israel for its very existence, and lobbing fiercely just weeks ago for a UN human rights accolade for the same Libyan dictator it asserts that it now wants to remove from power.
Persuaded by the Arab League, so the story goes, Hillary Clinton found an ally in UN Ambassador Susan Rice, and these “courageous women” joined forces to get the administration to support the UN no-fly zone.
This tale of the Arab League and Hillary Clinton seems to be one of those typical contrived leaks for which Washington is famous. Indeed, within twenty-four hours, the Arab League shifted sides, and is now condemning the Western powers for the fierce bombing.
Libya has a no-fly zone because the British and French want Libyan oil, and they no longer view the ever-bellicose and irrational Moammar Gaddafi as a responsible partner. Nations have interests. They do not have friends. They have allies as a matter of ephemeral convenience.
When CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt reinstalled the Palavi dynasty in Iran after the CIA-sponsored coup that eliminated Mohammed Mossadegh, among Mohammed Palavi’s first acts was to replace the Anglo-French oil companies with American oil companies.
If Zimbabwe had oil, it too might get a no-fly zone.