James Forsyth

Winning the peace

Winning the peace
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The sight of rebel troops kicking a statue of Gaddafi round the colonel’s compound is another sign that the rebels are taking control of the capital. But the whereabouts of Gaddafi remain unknown. I understand that the British government is doing what it can to help the rebels locate him. But, until Gaddafi and his sons are detained there’ll be uncertainty about the situation.

There’ll be much discussion of where Gaddafi should be tried if he is captured. Personally, I think it is entirely understandable if the Libyans want to try their old oppressor themselves. But the crucial thing is that the Transitional National Council prevents a wave of revenge killings. Encouragingly, they are already trying to get the existing police force to come out and help keep order.

What happens in Tripoli in the next few days will be crucial in determining whether the Libya mission is considered a success. If order can be restored relatively smoothly, then Libya will count as a significant foreign policy achievement for David Cameron. He successfully pushed for a no-fly zone when many thought the idea was a non-starter.