Al Jazeera Director General Wadah Khanfar gave a stirring tour de force of authoritarian control, conflict and change in the Middle East at the TED 2011 meeting in Long Beach which I attended this past week. He said that a new generation inspired by universal values and global understanding has created a dynamic changing the entire region.
One of the lines from his TED talk was the importance of this change being authentically rooted in the citizens of these countries. He said that this needs to be “change that comes without foreign intervention.”
No fly zones are complicated and could easily create a backlash from those the West is trying to support. I myself am ambivalent about no fly zones — seeing their value in protecting Libya’s population from Gaddaffi’s heinous assaults from the air but also knowing that a strong NATO or American presence on the military side of this equation could spin out of control and animate anti-American, anti-Western sentiments in this fluid political situation.
Khanfar’s comments above are important to hear. He had an enormous ovation at TED.
– Steve Clemons