NATO has failed to agree on a plan for its possible involvement in enforcing the UN no-fly zone over Libya. Alliance member Turkey, which is against the military intervention, blocked a proposal.
The Arab League has also expressed reservations over the extent of military action being taken by France, Britain and the US.
As other countries began sending their military hardware to the region, Arab countries claimed they only backed the UN’s no-fly zone in order to protect civilians, not to knock out Gaddafi’s forces.
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates believes there is a way to get the League on board. “I think there is a sensitivity on the part of the Arab League to being seen to be operating under a NATO umbrella, and so the question is if there is a way we can work out of NATO’s command and control machinery without it being a NATO mission.”
France also has its reservations. As it sent its Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier The Charles de Gaulle to the Mediterranean, the government warned about treading too heavily on Arab feelings.
After NATO involvement in other theatres of war such as Afghanistan, the alliance’s reputation has been tarnished in the Arab world.
TO READ – Libya: a timeline of international diplomacy