In fact, the head of the Arab League criticized the international strikes today, saying they caused civilian deaths. Libya said 48 people were killed in the strikes but there was no other official confirmation.
The U.N. authorized a no-fly zone and also "all necessary measures" to protect civilians.
"What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians, not the shelling of more civilians," said Secretary-General Amr Moussa, according to Egypt's official state news agency.
It was the latest flip-flop from Moussa, who said the Arab League would reject the idea of military intervention from the West immediately after it endorsed the no-fly zone on March 12.
"Maybe he doesn't understand what a no-fly zone is because what he said today and what he said last week are puzzling and contradictory statements," Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Institute in Doha, Qatar, told AOL News today.
"There's no bombardment of civilians. For a no-fly zone to be operable, you have to take out air defenses. In that respect, air strikes are necessary. I think he is playing politics. The U.S. went out of its way to get Arab approval for the no-fly zone and then to get this criticism seems unwarranted."
Though hardly anyone -- other than perhaps Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez -- really believes Col. Moammar Gadhafi's accusations that "barbaric colonialism" was behind Saturday's military strike on Libya, it's striking that Europe and the U.S. are leading the charge without an Arab nation in sight.
The tiny Arab states of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have indicated they may send military support, but that's like sending a few Cessnas into a sky filled with AWACs and fighter jets, one political scientist said.
So where are the Arabs? Staying in the background while letting the West do the work, according to a wide cross-section of Middle East political and policy experts interviewed today by AOL News.
Not only do they not have the military might -- with the possible exception of Egypt, currently in the middle of its own revolution -- but many Arab states are riddled with repressive dictators nervous about anyone meddling in their affairs.
"These are largely weak, illegitimate regimes who aren't going to take the lead in anything like this because they're concerned primarily with the survival of their own regimes," Hamid said. "They're not in the mood to send fighter pilots over to Libya."
Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former U.S. Treasury terrorism analyst said that the Arab League is "filled with leaders not unlike Gadhafi."
"To truly support a mission like this would be antithetical to their existence," he said.
Fawaz Gerges, the Lebanese-born director of the Middle East Center at the London School of Economics, was even blunter.
"The Arab League wants Gadhafi out but they don't want to risk saying it publicly," Gerges said. "They loathe him but they want Western powers to get rid of him without them having to take a risk and say so themselves. They want to have their cake and eat it too."
In fact it's naive even to think that Arab states would play any real role in the military intervention in Libya, said Robert Rabil, a professor of political science at Florida Atlantic who was also born in Lebanon.
He said the League sent troops one time -- to Lebanon in 1976 to help provide stability at the start of the civil war there.
"The Arab League is impotent," Rabil said. "They're not very coordinated and there's a lot of internal rivalry. They're very worried about what's going to happen to them next. Taking anything more than a symbolic stand against Gadhafi just opens up a Pandora's box for them."
David Schenker, who directs the program on Arab politics at Washington D.C.'s Institute for Near East Policy, pointed out that the Arab League's record on human rights is spotty at best.
Schenker said that in 2009, the Arab League hosted Sudan President Omar al-Bashir, who was indicted on charges of war crimes and genocide by the International Criminal Court.
"They have a high level of inconsistency," Schenker said.
Middle East experts said that President Obama's obvious reluctance to push for a no-fly zone, followed by his insistence that the Arab League back it and Europe lead the strike, have helped perceptions that it is not U.S.-led.
But the U.S. is paying the price, not only for its invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan but for years of backing repressive dictators in the Middle East -- like Egypt's deposed president Hosni Mubarak and the now-roiling regimes in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
Hamid said Arab countries are skeptical of the U.S. even while they look to it for help.
"The U.S. has a history of supporting dictators and repressing democracies," Hamid said. "But that's why I think this intervention could shift the narrative if the West stays on course and just protects the Libyan people. This intervention is allied with Arab popular aspirations.
"The U.S. stands to regain credibility and improve its reputation if this operation is successful," he said.