While Qaddafi forces try to squash any resistance in Libya, the Arab League took the unprecedented step last weekend to call for the international community to impose no-flight zone over Libya. This is a remarkable and positive development.
The endorsement by the Arab League is the first time the group has ever voted unanimously to condemn or sanction a fellow Arab state. It only speaks to the extent of atrocity at the hands Qaddafi. The Libyan regime’s response to its domestic uprising is unacceptable and the Arab League has now acted accordingly. The call provides cover for international action — and it means that military intervention in the form of a no-flight zone should not be read as Western interference.
The international community — led by the United Nations — needs to move quickly now that the Arab countries have acted in unison. Even if there is no guarantee that a no-flight zone will stop Qaddafi, agreement on the action will send an unambiguous signal to Libya that it is now isolated and unwelcomed in the global arena.
This is a positive signal by the Arab states and sets a precedent for the future — Arab leaders clearly rejected this type of violent crackdown of peaceful protests. While there is still obvious opposition in the region to the United States interfering unilaterally and to the presence of foreign troops on the ground, the Arab League’s action means that a return to the status quo is unacceptable.