Last night the international community got through it's hesitancy as the UN Security Council backed the implementation of a no-fly zone over Libya. This resolution includes “all necessary measures” to protect civilians.
While it is not immediately clear right now what exact form of intervention the international community would be taking, it does appear that things potentially could get underway very quickly (relatively speaking).
It seems America will not be visible in the initial action – though such an action probably would not be possible without American support. Both the British and French, along with some Arab allies and Norway, are expected to be taking the lead.
On yesterday's Harvest Show I mentioned the paradox about inaction from the Arab League. It seems that may be changing now, but let me explain.
There are several modern air forces in the Arab region that could ground Gadhafi's planes. Granted, this would require a clear mandate and internal coordination from participating Arab States – and this underscores the problem – no cooperation.
The Arab League could easily have taken control of Libyan airspace had their been decisive leadership among it's members.
Why didn't it happen? They can hide behind the many 'brotherhood' excuses, but the reality is they want someone else to do (and pay) for the dirty work.
And there may well be another reason too – they simply can't work together.
In the face that there is a real possibility that Colonel Gadhafi could stay in some form of power, they don't care. The Arab League doesn't mind bloodbaths, humanitarian refugees, nor international terrorism.
But what they should care about is perception…
While the 9/11 terrorist attacks strengthened the perception that Islam was a generator of global terrorism, we see today splashed across the media developing revolutions spurred on by the desire for democracy and liberty of life.
With this case regarding Libya, the Arab League really missed it's chance to step up and use some muscle on behalf of 'Arab brothers' crying out for human rights.
They could have mobilized into political action, then military if that failed. These men who have been in power for decades missed the chance to give the secular and moderate middle classes the support they needed to press for change and ultimately address their social issues.
Now, because of the lack of cooperation, it looks like a missed opportunity to give hope to the young, poor, and unemployed Arab masses which will potentially give way to 'Western intervention', and the power of human rights that led the revolutions in Tunis and Cairo will be lost to radical Islam as a consequence of no cooperation.
Middle East Correspondent