The Wall Street Journal reports:
The Arab League on Saturday called on the United Nations Security Council to enforce a “no-fly zone” over Libyan airspace, marking a decisive diplomatic victory for rebel forces opposed to Moammar Gadhafi, the Libyan ruler.
The announcement will bolster calls by some European leaders to intervene in the violent confrontation between rebels and Col. Gadhafi’s military.
The U.S. and the European Union had deferred to the 22-member league of Arab nations to determine whether outside military forces should intervene.
The air superiority of forces loyal to Col. Gadhafi has helped tip the balance of power against the antigovernment uprising based in the eastern part of the country. On Saturday, government forces tightened their grip on the coastal road linking government-held territory to the rebel-controlled east, the Associated Press reported.
Col. Gadhafi’s forces all but routed rebels in the coastal oil-refining city of Ras Lanuf earlier this week and completed their assault on Zawiya, a rebel stronghold west of Tripoli, Libya’s capital.
Deliberations will now go to the U.N. Security Council, where permanent members China and Russia are thought to oppose the proposed no-fly zone.
Abdel Hafeez Goga, the deputy head of the Benghazi-based provisional rebel government, the Transitional National Council, praised the Arab League decision.
“We welcome and salute their decision and look at it as a step forward to the imposition of no-fly-zone imposition,” he told a news conference in Benghazi.