Offered without much comment, as I’m still thinking through my opinion on the intervention in Libya.
The African Union:
The African Union’s panel on Libya Sunday called for an “immediate stop” to all attacks after the United States, France and Britain launched military action against Moamer Kadhafi’s forces.
After a more than four-hour meeting in the Mauritanian capital, the body also asked Libyan authorities to ensure “humanitarian aid to those in need,” as well as the “protection of foreigners, including African expatriates living in Libya.”
It underscored the need for “necessary political reforms to eliminate the causes of the present crisis” but at the same time called for “restraint” from the international community to avoid “serious humanitarian consequences.”
The Arab League:
The Arab League secretary general, Amr Moussa, deplored the broad scope of the U.S.-European bombing campaign in Libya and said Sunday that he would call a league meeting to reconsider Arab approval of the Western military intervention.
Moussa said the Arab League’s approval of a no-fly zone on March 12 was based on a desire to prevent Moammar Gaddafi’s air force from attacking civilians and was not designed to endorse the intense bombing and missile attacks — including on Tripoli, the capital, and on Libyan ground forces — whose images have filled Arab television screens for two days.
“What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone,” he said in a statement carried by the Middle East News Agency. “And what we want is the protection of civilians and not the shelling of more civilians.”
Cynics have explained the AU’s statement as motivated by its financial dependence on Qaddhafi, and (other) cynics have explained the Arab League’s view as dictated by a desire to play both sides of the field (ie, to lend token support to an effort that might oust Qaddhafi while at the same time deflecting potential popular anger). With the AU, its position seems consistent to me with its other stances against Western intervention in Africa. In neither case can the positions be reduced to one factor, though.
What do you think? Are these organizations operating cynically?