Arab League chief: Goal in Libya is to protect civilians, not regime change
Amr Moussa – departing secretary general of the Arab League and Egyptian presidential candidate – discusses the no-fly zone intervention in Libya and Qaddafi's exit. He also touches on Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria and the future of Egypt's relationship with Israel and the Palestinians.
(Page 2 of 4)
Moussa: It is not a question to have some time to relax and then resume the attacks. This would be unacceptable.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Dergham: In the end, isn’t this an operation to embolden and support and enable the rebels to keep Benghazi?
Moussa: You can say it in a different way: To keep the forces of the regime from attacking Benghazi and inflicting a lot of casualties. This operation is to prevent this from happening, not vice versa. It is not to give the rebels support. It is not a question of supporting a regime, a government, or a council. It is to save the situation from further, bloody deterioration.
Qaddafi's exit: 'I cannot discuss'
Moussa: Well, I cannot really answer this question, but it would be a prolonged case of civil war and tension and destruction of Libya. This is too much. I hope that there will be no civil war, and I hope that things will be dealt with, with reason.
Dergham: People are speaking of one way out of a prolonged war in Libya: a bullet or bomb somehow lands on the head of Muammar Qaddafi.
Moussa: Some things I cannot discuss and I don’t want to discuss.
Dergham: The Security Council resolution says nothing about getting rid of leadership?
Moussa: This is not dealt with by the Security Council. As I told you, we don’t go beyond the Security Council and what the Arab League decided. The goal is a no-fly zone. We are not talking about anything else.
Dergham: Tell me about the extent of the Arab participation in enforcing the no-fly zone. Is it financial only? The word “assets” is being used. What does that mean?
Moussa: No, it is not financial. It means participation by certain Arab countries, but this is a sovereign decision by them. It is not a mandated by the Arab League. And the participation will be in kind sometime, such as the planes being sent by Qatar, or by other means as announced by the rest.
Concerns about Yemen
Dergham: Should the coalition intervention in Libya be applied to other places, where there is similar bloodshed, such as in Yemen?
Moussa: We requested the Security Council to impose a safe area and no-fly zone in Libya, and this is what happened. You cannot extend a resolution in Libya to Yemen. The situation in Yemen is different.
Dergham: So there will be no such request for a no-fly zone in Yemen?
Moussa: I don’t think they need that.
Dergham: How afraid are you of the disintegration of Yemen given that there is a history of north-south conflict, of the Houthi and Al Qaeda? It’s a gateway to countries like Saudi Arabia. Are you afraid that if there is a void, there now will be disintegration of the country and things will be worse?