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Arab world divided on Libya no-fly zone

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In a region where news of Western warplanes striking a Muslim nation typically elicits rage and vows of revenge, the initial support for Operation Odyssey Dawn shows just how isolated Qaddafi had become in the Middle East.

President Bashar Al Assad of Syria, another pariah state, is a lone voice in support of Qaddafi, perhaps fearful of a similar uprising at home.

Few others in the region would miss the flamboyant colonel, who appeared to take delight in berating and goading fellow leaders. He has a long history of stunts at the annual Arab Summit, such as smoking cigars on the conference room floor to show contempt for the speakers or trading insults with the Saudi king in a fight so heated that it had to be taken off the air.

"Usually, Arab rulers tolerate each other, no matter how idiotic they are, in order to survive," said Mohamed Qahtani, a Saudi human rights activist. "But the guy is insane, there's no question about it. He's unacceptable in every way."

The tiny Persian Gulf states of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates reportedly are taking part in the Libya campaign. In contrast, Gulf countries are silent or complicit in attacks on protesters in Bahrain and Yemen, where dozens have died in the past week. Saudi Arabia sent 1,000 troops to help defend the Bahraini government, and there's little uproar over Yemen's vicious campaign against rebels.

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