Egypt and the United Arab Emirates secretly teamed up to launch two airstrikes against Islamist forces in Libya.
This development comes as little surprise, after all, both countries are waging their own internal and regional battles to stem the rise of political Islam in the Middle East and North Africa. Libya itself is an unsurprising target, an oil rich country beset by chaos since a NATO intervention helped depose Col. Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. It also happens to be right next door to Egypt.
As the Times reported, there is just one little surprise in all of this:
The United States, the officials said, was caught by surprise: Egypt and the Emirates, both close allies and military partners, acted without informing Washington or seeking its consent, leaving the Obama administration on the sidelines. Egyptian officials explicitly denied the operation to American diplomats, the officials said.
There are a number of ways to look at this development. Here's one:
Status of US influence in the Mideast: UAE & Egypt conduct airstrikes in Libya without US knowledge http://t.co/002YB4De93— Matthew Levitt (@Levitt_Matt) August 25, 2014
If true, this is significant but hard to believe DC knew nothing. Egypt & UAE Secretly Carried Out Libya Airstrikes http://t.co/7xVGRzTvw0— Yousef Munayyer (@YousefMunayyer) August 25, 2014
Pretty notable that Egypt & UAE were conducting airstrikes in Libya w/o any Western support: http://t.co/wTS1qyfars— Dan Trombly (@stcolumbia) August 25, 2014
Egypt & UAE bomb Libya without telling the US. The problem w/ leading from behind is sometimes you get left behind. http://t.co/PZetHN54xc— Yair Rosenberg (@Yair_Rosenberg) August 25, 2014
Okay, there may only be one way to look at this development.