Meeting in Cairo, the League called on the UN Security Council to “shoulder its responsibility” and implement the no-fly zone. The US – which as part of NATO would undoubtedly contribute most of the military resources for such an action – has so far been leery of intervention given its controversial history in the region. US military chiefs have earlier stated that a no-fly zone would effectively be a declaration of war, as military assets such as surface-to-air missile defence systems would have to be destroyed in order to police the zone.
Backed by air cover, Gaddafi’s forces have been steadily pushing untrained and disorganised rebel militia groups back west toward their stronghold in Benghazi. Three days ago, after near-unanimous global condemnation of Gaddafi, the rebels abandoned the oil town of Ras Lanuf and surrendered in Misrata and Breqa.
A witness to the fighting in Bin Jawwad told the UK’s Independent newspaper that the rebels had been pushed back by fighters from Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Algeria, some of whom appeared to be drugged. An Al-Jazeera cameraman, Ali Hassaon Al Jaber, was killed when his vehicle came under fire near Benghazi.
The Libyan government continues to insist that the insurgents are al-Qaeda militants.
Meanwhile, Bahrain’s Sunni elite are reportedly entertaining the prospect of inviting Saudi Arabian forces into the country to crush growing calls for reform from the majority Shia population. Saudi police meanwhile reportedly fired at protesters in the country’s eastern town of Qatif during protests on Friday.