On Saturday the Arab League unanimously called for a no-fly zone over Libya, adding its voice to that of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The no-fly zone will have to come soon unless it will serve mostly to protect the corpses of Libyan opposition fighters. In the last few days, Gaddafi’s forces have reversed the earlier opposition momentum and are using their superior fire power, including air power, to wipe out opposition gains. Unless stopped, in the coming weeks they will wipe out the opposition.
This situation calls for actions that display American leadership, but the president appears to believe that his words have an almost magical power. He has called for Gaddafi to leave; isn’t that enough? “We are slowly tightening the noose,” the president said on March 11, despite all evidence to the contrary. Actual leadership has been avoided and Secretary Clinton has in fact said we wish to avoid it. “I think it’s very important that this not be a U.S.-led effort,” she explained on March 9th.
What explains this gap between Gaddafi gains on the ground, and the administration’s continuing inaction and claims of progress?