Declaring that “Libyan national security is Arab national security”, Libya’s government has called for Arab arms—and the Arab League Secretary-General has agreed that member states should provide them. The Wall Street Journal reports:
The appeal for arms was made by Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Dairi during an emergency session of the Arab League in Cairo. It came days after the government called for airstrikes by Arab allies on Islamic State positions in Sirte, the coastal city that was Mr. Gadhafi’s hometown and is now controlled by the militant group’s Libyan offshoot.Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby supported Mr. Dairi’s request and urged members to respond quickly.
Though there was no immediate pledge of arms, that could change quickly; Egypt, backed by the U.A.E., has a strong interest in restoring order in Libya. And another shoe might be about to drop: Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has called for Arab countries to field a transnational military force. According to the Journal, the League will meet on August 27 to talk over the status of the force. No prizes for guessing where it might be used.Meanwhile, Western and international responses to the Libya problem continue to be ineffective at best:
Libya has been under a United Nations weapons embargo since 2011 and the U.N. has long resisted lifting it, citing fears that weapons could end up with the myriad militant groups operating in Libya, including Islamic State.Shipping arms to Libya would undermine ongoing United Nations-led peace talks, a Western diplomat said.
The peace talks haven’t led to peace, and the arms embargo hasn’t deprived the Libyan dumpster fire of oxygen. No wonder the Arab League is starting, tentatively, to move on its own. And if that happens, the West will wind up watching from the sidelines as others resolve a war it started, then abandoned.