Daniel Korski

A victory for the Libyan rebellion, and for NATO

A victory for the Libyan rebellion, and for NATO
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The regime of Colonel Gaddafi appears to be over. In a matter of hours, we hope, the Libyan dictator will be located and captured, assuming he does not flee Libya. Finally, after 42 of evil rule, the Libyans can build a free nation.

The tumultuous events of recent days are, first of all, a victory for the brave Libyan rebels who took arms against Gaddafi. They defied the odds, underwent setbacks but carried on. But, secondly, today's events are a vindication for David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy.

Keen to learn the lessons of Bosnia, Kosovo and Rwanda, they saved Benghazi from a massacre and helped to build up the Transitional National Council. In the process, they suffered the opprobrium of realists, armchair generals and so-called "experts". They even had to endure doubts from Cabinet colleagues and near-mutinous remarks from senior military officers.

But they stayed focused on their aim - and in the last couple of hours have been rewarded. History will treat both David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy harshly if the capture of Tripoli leads to an Iraq-style bloodbath. However, if the collapse of the Libyan dictatorship leads to a reasonably orderly transition, with a limited UK/French presence on the ground (perhaps deployed through the UN or the EU), and prospects for a democracy, then they will fly into the history books, and rightly so. For they helped save a people, showed that Europeans had the wherewithal to act within their own sphere of influence without US leadership, gave NATO a much-needed victory and, most importantly, helped to maintain the thrust behind the Arab Spring.