Middle East press welcomes Libya intervention

Tornado GR4 aircraft takes off at Royal Air Force Marham in England British jets are flying down to southern Italy to join Allies' airstrikes against military targets in Libya

The intervention in Libya has generally been welcomed by newspaper commentators in the Middle East. Many compare the action to the invasion of Iraq eight years previously, highlighting the legitimacy of the current operation compared to disputes over the 2003 invasion.

However, columnists in two London-based pan-Arab titles are more wary.

Mazin Hamad in Qatar's pro-government Al-Watan

"The West has sent a unique message to the Arab world, which means that the international family, to which the West is the main contributor, will not stand by with its hands tied as massacres are committed against an Arab people by their ruler. This message was not there when the USA and Britain attacked Iraq in 2003 without UN permission... But the picture is totally different today. The West... is standing by the Arab people."

UAE's private Akhbar al-Arab

"Russia, China and three other countries abstained from voting on the draft resolution to impose a no-fly zone... Abstaining from voting is the middle ground between supporting and rejecting the draft. However, the decision leans towards supporting the resolution more than rejecting it because rejecting the resolution required China and Russia to use their veto against it but the two countries only abstained, giving the resolution an international outlook and making it appear unanimous."

UAE's pro-government Al-Bayan

"We hope that Muammar Gaddafi will take note of the united stand by the world not to stand idle over events in Libya and that he will make the appropriate decisions. Tripoli also has to promptly review its actions, give priority to the voice of reason and conscience rather than threats and intimidation, and avoid the loss of innocent lives."

Turki al-Dakhil in Saudi pro-government Al-Watan

"The international intervention to save Libyans from Gaddafi's cruel grip has come at the right time. As we read we find that the decision came from the Security Council, even though we have reservations about some of its resolutions, especially the veto regarding the Palestinians. However, its decision to save Libya was historic."

Khalaf al-Harbi in Saudi centrist Ukaz

"The brutal manner in which Gaddafi dealt with his people was a major cause of the Arab people's welcoming Western military intervention to liberate Libya... So once again Arabs enter history by proving that there is no cure for (Arab) tyranny other than foreign military intervention."

Hida Hizam in Algeria's highest-selling independent El-Khabar

"The Libyan people will not lose anything if the US and France take control of their country now. Their conditions will not be as they were under Gaddafi... Gaddafi was no better than the Italian colonialists."

Samir Rajab in Egypt's pro-government Al-Jumhuriyah

"What is happening in Libya may be a lesson for the remaining Arab rulers: Try to save your heads and your people before the time comes, and it is obviously coming."

Hamud al-Hattab in Kuwait's independent Al-Siyassah

"Sarkozy, Obama and Cameron - the new youth of the West is moving the Arab world and deciding the future political life of the Arab youth who moved against the injustice of some of their leaders. Is it unreasonable to let the youth decide their future themselves?"

Yahya Rabah in Palestinian Authority-owned Al-Hayat al-Jadidah

"The Arabs are entering a new era that will witness many collapses. We might invite the old occupiers and ask them to occupy our countries, and we might destroy everything only to discover after the dust settles that we have nothing new with which to begin. This is indeed a new era with confusing criteria. What is right and what is wrong?"

Zvi Barel in liberal broadsheet Ha'aretz

"Drawing comparisons between the Western countries' attack on Libya and the two wars in Iraq, as well as the current war in Afghanistan, is easy. True, the objective in each case was to destroy the regime - but in the past military actions, the leader or regime was described as posing a real threat to the Western world... In Libya's case today the conditions have changed. Muammar Gaddafi is a leader who poses a danger to his own people and who is trying to block the wave of revolution that has engulfed the Middle East."

Abd-al-Bari Atwan in London-based Arab nationalist Al-Quds Al-Arabi

"You cannot watch US missiles falling like rain over Libyan towns and areas and follow the propaganda that accompanies it without remembering the aerial bombardment of Iraq, which was targeted twice... the international community cannot stand idly by while Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his sons' brigades slaughter the Libyan people without mercy, but you cannot help but wonder about the West's selectivity in intervening militarily to protect certain Arab revolutions and entirely ignoring others."

Ahmad al-Dulaymi in London-based pro-Libyan Al-Arab al-Alamiyah

"On this day in 2003 the invaders... led by the USA... launched a barbaric and brutal attack on an Arab capital, the Muslims' beloved Baghdad... Today the same coalition is waging another attack on another Arab country, which is Libya, with the same flimsy arguments put forward by the assailants before the occupation of Iraq."

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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