Qatar becomes first Arab country to fly fighter jets over Libya
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Qatar participated in a combat mission to enforce a over Libya on Friday, one day after NATO agreed to take command. Qatar is the first Arab country to take part in the operation against Moammar Gadhafi's regime. The said two Qatai flew Qatar's first sortie over Libya accompanied by a French jet.
Besides Qatar, the United Arab Emirates has agreed to send 12 warplanes to support the international no-fly alliance. No other countries from the have agreed to join so far. Qatar's combat deployment as the first by an Arab or Muslim-majority country thus is of critical impact.
|Having our first Arab nation join and start flying with us emphasizes that the world wants the innocent Libyan people protected from the atrocities perpetrated by pro-regime forces|
—Commander Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward
Qatar's participation has great diplomatic importance. Major General Margaret Woodward, Commander of, stated: "Having our first Arab nation join and start flying with us emphasizes that the world wants the innocent Libyan people protected from the atrocities perpetrated by pro-regime forces".
The emir of Qatar has typically preferred subtle diplomacy rather than confrontation, as Qatar is vulnerable because of its tiny size and its position on the tip of the Arabian peninsula. Qatar's decision to send planes is related to its need to maintain its independence from its bigger neighbors like Iran and Saudi Arabia, according to .
- Reuters. "Qatar fighters patrol Libyan air space" — , March 25, 2011
- Hadeed Al-Shalchi (Associated Press). "Qatar becomes 1st Arab country to fly over Libya" — , March 25, 2011
- Jason Burke. "Qatar's decision to send planes to Libya is part of a high-stakes game" — , March 24, 2011