As Nato takes full military responsibility in Libya, the rebels surge onwards in the direction of Tripoli. According to one of the group's spokesmen, Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte — some 280 miles east of the capital — fell to their attacks last night; although there are reports, still, of explosions there this morning. In any case, the tidal shift that took hold at the beginning of the weekend is continuing. The rebels are now seizing ground, rather than ceding it.
All this is, if not vindication for the Western leaders who pressed for a no-fly zone, then at least encouragement. It suggests that the one-two combination of Nato air support and rebel ground attacks can leave Gaddafi reeling. It might even make David Cameron's job easier as he prepares — as Benedict Brogan reveals — to restate the case for intervention to his MPs this week.
But let's not unravel the bunting quite yet. There are still a few cracks, or outright chasms, on the road ahead. Italy, for instance, is pushing for an immediate ceasefire in Libya (£) and a negotiated settlement with Gaddafi, against current UK and French wishes. And that's before we get onto the admission made by one rebel leader that his regulars are fighting alongside al-Qaeda linked Islamists. Even with the gains that are being made by the hour, the question hangs persistently in the air: what next?