Of course a “U.N.” no-fly zone would really be a U.S. one — but that’s precisely the point. Everyone is nervous about the use of U.S. force and U.S. money in the region, even those who are sympathetic to democratic and American values. That’s why any form of U.S. intervention will be disguised as something else.
Bob and Reuel: I do realize that queasiness about America in the Arab world is related to many things, including America’s long-standing, deeply corrupting and profoundly cynical support for Arab dictators — support that has come equally from Democratic and Republican administrations, over many years. But the Iraq war didn’t, in this sense, make things any better. I believe very strongly in America’s capacity for democracy promotion, but I don’t see how it’s possible to argue that the Iraq war was a good precedent.