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It's true it's not over yet.

But c'mon. It's clearly false that the issue is in any kind of doubt. The Gadhafi loyalists don't have the numbers, they don't have the weapons, they don't have the internal nor international support and they're going to get rolled up even if it's impossible to say how long that might take.

So now it absolutely IS the right time to start thinking about what post-Gadhafi Libya is going to look like, what kind of system of governance might end up in place (Iraq model, Turkey model, Iran model etc.) and what are the ramifications for the region, for the other freedom movements and for the international community.

At this point, it's also pretty reasonable to make some determinations about the NATO intervention. I think it's a very important lesson - the proper way to do international humanitarian military intervention is with extremely limited goals, a strong resistance to mission creep and the lightest touch possible to achieve those specific goals.

If this kind of consensus and effectiveness could have been brought to bear in Sudan or Srebrenica it's clear that many thousands of lives could have been saved. I hope the international community takes the lessons to heart and stands willing to confront the next despot who tries to use industrial scale murder to cling to power.

[Note on Syria: If the intervention is likely to create a larger regional conflict that will hurt more people than it would help, it's not a reasonable option in that case.]


@Mikey, I'm not trying to engage in any denial about the success of the rebel offensive into Tripoli. But I wonder why you couldn't make any of the same points about post-conflict scenarios and models for future interventions after the US entered Baghdad in 2003. Events on the ground are unsettled; there are many, many prospects for continued instability even after G's forces get routed; the enemy gets a vote; [insert cliche here].

Raimo Kangasniemi

Gaddafi might be "a piece of shit", but when western politicians like Margaret Thatcher were declaring that Nelson Mandela "is a terrorist" and Reader's Digest were doing the same for the large audience, Gaddafi was supporting ANC. I hope that as many people as possible will remember when the obituaries of these two will be written. Gaddafi has killed and oppressed Libyans, sure, and the fall of his regime is good, but could we at least accept that he did good things and many of western elder statesman have done far worse things than him?


Because it's apples and oranges. The invasion of Iraq wasn't an international humanitarian intervention. And like I say, one of the things I think we're learning about successful humanitarian interventions is they have to be quite limited in scope - they should have NOTHING to say about the post-conflict political environment (except perhaps as legitimately asked for consultation/assistance).

The thing I think is so exciting about this outcome is it provides a template and a success for the international community to build on and perhaps standardize a working methodology for preventing authoritarian police state massacres in the future...


Humanitarian intervention? What's so humanitarian about NATO's intervention in Lybia? Last time I looked their missiles killed as much as Gadaffi's and couldn't discriminate between rebel and loyalist forces.


@Atlas look harder. NATO's missiles targeted regime military installations. Gadhafi's forces targeted civilians. A world of moral difference, and you don't have to support the war to recognize it.

Raimo Kangasniemi

Both sides have killed civilians. NATO has, based on neutral reports, killed hundreds of civilians (and abandoned hundreds of others to die on the sea, if you believe the claims of survivors; there are also 100+ rebels NATO has killed). We can claim that the regime has killed more civilians, and of this point there can be little doubt, but NATO has not only targeted military installations and Gaddafi's troops have mainly targeted rebel troops, not civilians. The rebel troops themselves are, of course, too done unsavoury things. All said, the regime comes out the worst by objective account, but NATO has done it's share of killing.

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