The international force that has been assembled for Libya’s no-fly zone has some surprising contributors — Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are both sending forces to operate alongside British, French and U.S. planes.
After a decade during which Arab nations were reluctant to project power outside their borders, Qatar’s and the UAE’s commitment to the no-fly zone represents an important shift in regional dynamics.
But the most important Arab military deployment isn’t all that recent and isn’t in the Middle East or North Africa. Two Arab nations have quietly sent forces to join the NATO-led counter-insurgency campaign in Afghanistan. The UAE and Jordan maintain small troop contingents in the Central Asian nation’s mountainous east: Jordan since at least 2007; the UAE since 2003.