The State of the Middle EastIn a recent blog post, Dan Smith, author of The State of the Middle East, considers what should be done regarding a no-fly zone over Libya. He describes western powers’ reaction as a “sort of slow motion shooting from the hip. It’s almost instinctive but it’s also hesitant.”

He continues, “Fear of large scale intervention combined with the urge to do something, even without clarity about exactly what, raises the possibility of drive-by intervention, as a participant in a conference I was at last week neatly called it. And one of the things that the term so neatly captures with its mockingly flip tone is that the idea of painless intervention is a myth.

To enforce a no-fly zone you need air power, satellites and look-down radar. You will get into combat and it is likely some of that will be over Libyan soil. Which leads to the all too likely prospect of at least one shoot-down by Libyan air defence, which in turn means captured air crew displayed for the media.”

Read the rest of the post on Dan Smith’s blog.

Jean-Pierre Filiu author photo
Jean-Pierre Filiu. Image © John Foley/Opale

Meanwhile, over at The Enterprise Blog, a project of the American Enterprise Institute, Jean-Pierre Filiu, author of Apocalypse in Islam, has written an insightful post that addresses what revolutionary movements in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya mean for al Qaeda.

Filiu, a historian and Arab expert at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris and currently a visiting professor at Columbia, asks, “how is the global jihadi network going to survive, in the near or distant future, the inevitable fall of Moammar Qaddafi? Let’s face it: Osama Bin Laden could remain quiet since the beginning of the Arab uprising, some three months ago in Tunisia, because he had found with the Libyan ruler the perfect partner in his propaganda war. Qaddafi has repeatedly said that the rebels who dare to resist him are just a bunch of Bin Laden’s young operatives, high on drugs generously provided by al Qaeda (the Libyan leader even explained a short-lived lull in the insurgency by the fact that drugs were “wearing out”!).”

Read the full post at The Enterprise Blog.