Qaddafi and Clinton
Qaddafi and ClintonIsrael news photo montage

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at an international conference in London Tuesday that that “there could be a legitimate transfer of arms [to Libyan rebels] if a country were to choose to” do so. She added there no decision has been made to arm forces trying to dislodge Muammar Qaddafi from power.

The Libyan Transitional National Council attending the London conference, chaired by British Foreign Secetary William Hague, asked the international community to arm the insurgents. The NATO-led forces are authorized by the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone in Libya that allows military strikes on Qaddafi’s military bases.

"If you look to the reports that you have from the streets of Libya or from the cities of Libya, you will see that our people have very light arms, said the council’s media official Mahmoud Shammam. “You can see that just regular cars are fighting with machine guns. We don't have arms at all; otherwise we [could] finish Gaddafi in a few days."

NATO's forces have been joined by the oil-rich kingdom of the island of Qatar, whose prime minister was the highest-ranking Arab official to attend the London conference. He said there was no discussion on the request to arm the rebels, but added, “Our opinion is that we have to evaluate the air strikes after a while to see if they are effective to protect the people of Libya or not."

In her opening remarks, Secetary Clinton stated, "We have prevented a potential massacre. This coalition military action will continue until Qaddafi fully complies with the terms of [United Nations Security Council Resolution] 1973, ceases his attacks on civilians, pulls his troops back from places they have forcibly entered and allows key services and humanitarian assistance to reach all civilians.

"As the Arab League has said, it is obvious to everyone that Qaddafi has lost the legitimacy to lead. We believe he must go … he will have to make a decision and that decision, so far as we are aware, has not yet been made … a political resolution could include him leaving the country."