After numerous stalled offensives on both sides, each of which was heralded as the “beginning of the end,” one might be forgiven for being skeptical that the current civil war in Libya was ever going to end. Today, however, it seems the current rebel offensive is on the brink of success, with rebel forces claiming the center of Tripoli and capturing at least two of Moammar Gadhafi’s sons.
There has been some very publicized celebration of the apparent victory, and already some efforts to paint the rebel march into Tripoli as vindication of the months of NATO air strikes. British Deputy PM Nick Clegg, once an antiwar darling and now Libyan War enthusiast, is already insisting the post-Gadhafi occupation won’t be like the one in Iraq.
But with plenty of time to reflect on where Libya is going once the NATO-backed rebels have actually taken over, questions still remain. How many Gadhafi-loyalist troops remain in the capital? Are more en route? More importantly, where is Moammar Gadhafi?
Despite the capture of his sons, the aging dictator is still vowing to fight on, and NATO leadership’s demands that he step down probably aren’t going to change his mind. The rebels are warning that the regime still has blocs of power in the capital city, and exactly how close the fighting is to being “over,” or at least transitioning into whatever post-Gadhafi fight inevitably breaks out, remains to be seen.