Arab League head says wanted no-fly zone not bombardment
Maria Golovnina and Michael Georgy, Reuters, March 20, 2011
…But Arab League chief Amr Moussa said what was happening was not what Arabs had envisaged when they called for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya.
“What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians,” he said.
In comments carried by Egypt’s official state news agency, Moussa also said he was calling for an emergency Arab League meeting.
Arab backing for a no-fly zone provided crucial underpinning for the passage of the U.N. Security Council resolution last week that paved the way for the Western intervention, the biggest against an Arab country since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Withdrawal of that support would make it much harder to pursue what some defense analysts say could in any case be a difficult, open-ended campaign with an uncertain outcome…
Mullen said he had seen no reports of civilian casualties from the Western strikes. But Russia said there had been such casualties and called on Britain, France and the United States to halt the “non-selective use of force”.