I have always wondered how the powers that be select the names that are attached to military actions. The names usually consist of titles that ring of noble goals – Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Provide Comfort, Operation Desert Storm, and on and on. Now we have given birth to Operation Odyssey Dawn.
The U.N. Security Council, composed of five permanent members and ten rotating members, moved quickly after the Arab League requested a vote on establishing the no-fly zone. China and Russia, both permanent members, abstained from the voting, thus only three of the permanent members supported the vote. Seven of the ten rotating members also supported the request for the no-fly zone.
But, the birth of Operation Odyssey Dawn may lead to yet another twilight in American dealings in the Middle East. The goal is a “no-fly” zone – a zone where aircraft is disallowed – similar to a demilitarized zone on land. This goal is not to be confused with regime change. Those who were looking for “boots on the ground” to rid Libya of Gadhafi will be sorely disappointed.
The Arab League already is expressing reservations about the actions taken to establish the no-fly zone. League Secretary General Amr Mussa indicated to reporters that preparations were under way to convene an emergency meeting of the 22-member Arab League at which Libya would top the agenda. Disharmony within the Arab League is not a good sign since it was at their request that the U.N. Security Council took up the no-fly zone issue.
What remains to be seen is how intertwined the establishment of a no-fly zone becomes with the desire to pursue regime change. If that happens, the United States will plunge down a slippery slope of yet another incursion into the Middle East, its politics, and its hold on our troops and our future.