Support President Obama in Maintaining No-Fly Zone in Libya to Save Innocent Lives

March 24, 2011

In solidarity with the people of Libya, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and the Libyan Emergency Task Force today expressed their support for the decision by the member states of the United Nations to enforce a no-fly zone against Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s regime in order to prevent further atrocities against civilians. President Barack Obama's willingness to endorse this policy is a welcome move, despite the risks involved and rising criticism from other countries in the region.

SEE: “Obama Facing Mounting Criticism Over Libya” (CNN)

This morning, MPACs Washington DC Director, Haris Tarin, participated in a press conference organized by the Libyan Emergency Task Force in support of the international communitys response to the crisis in Libya. The press conference brought together members of the Libyan American community, the Muslim American community and former Libyan Ambassador to the U.S. Ali Suleiman Aujali, who resigned in February in the wake of the Libyan uprising and called for intervention to save the lives of civilians.

Clearly, Qaddafi's attempts to violently quell the uprising have been hampered significantly by the no-fly zone, giving the opposition a chance to regroup and recover. While non-violent resistance is the most direct path to a peaceful democracy, the world cannot stand idly by as a ruthless dictator slaughters his people. Memories of the massacre in Hama, Syria, in 1982 should prevent any responsible country or leadership from such inaction.

The double standard exhibited by the member states of the Arab League in this regard must be exposed for its recurrent display of weakness and hypocrisy. On the one hand, they spent the past several weeks demanding action to support the Libyan people against their maniacal oppressor, but on the other hand, after the U.N. Security Council passed its resolution supporting a no-fly zone, they have begun actively criticizing nations that have responded to the Libyan peoples call for help. One can only surmise that these dictator states provide rhetorical support without any genuine desire to achieve democracy in the region. No matter the motivation of the Arab League, the end result is ineptitude.

Today, members of the Coalition of Libyan Americans issued a statement, which said in part:

"On behalf of the Libyan American community and in support of the citizens of Libya currently under siege by Muammar Qaddafi and his forces, we the undersigned would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to the International Community led by the United Nations, the United States, France and Great Britain for working to end the suffering of the Libyan people. Moreover, in response to the current debate and discussion in the wake of this crisis we would like to declare the following points.

"We welcome and fully support the passage and complete implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 and thank the United States for spearheading the drive to establish a no-fly zone over Libya and include all means necessary to protect civilians from the violence and oppression of the Qaddafi regime...

"We actively seek the continued support of the United States and its coalition partners in achieving these objectives until Libya is free of the tyranny of the Qaddafi regime and Libya is allowed to rejoin the international community as a free and democratic nation."

SEE: The full statement by the Coalition of Libyan Americans and the full list of signers

In seeking to protect the innocent, military intervention at the request of a civilian population under siege may be the least bad option available. It is critical that international allies stop short of sending in ground troops and engaging in a military occupation. Following the road map from U.S. intervention against Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic to end the genocide in Bosnia will help allay misapprehensions about Obama's decision to implement the no-fly zone over Libya. 

The changes in the Muslim world are long overdue and are not about religious sectarianism or even global politics. They are grounded in the natural human desire to be free. We support that push toward freedom and self-determination.

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