In a statement, US President Barack Obama declared that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had lost control of his country and that Washington would stay in close co-ordination with the Libyan Transitional National Council.
Washington has been a key player in the fight for Tripoli as a part of NATO, which has been the major force among those storming the city.
“Tonight, the momentum against the Gaddafi regime has reached a tipping point,” Obama said on Sunday night. “Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. The Gaddafi regime is showing signs of collapsing. The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator.”
He had also said that the US will continue to stay in close co-ordination with the Libyan Transitional National Council. “We will continue to insist that the basic rights of the Libyan people are respected,” the US president declared. “And we will continue to work with our allies and partners in the international community to protect the people of Libya, and to support a peaceful transition to democracy.”
And it is this latter reference that is raising questions, given that recent events in Tripoli have been very far from peaceful. NATO has engaged in extensive bombing throughout all six months of the campaign. The death toll from this weekend alone, according to some estimates, has exceeded 1,300 people, with around 5,000 injured.
The view that the Gaddafi regime has no future and that the Colonel himself must step down was largely supported in the international arena and by most permanent members of the UN Security Council, including Russia. However, the means by which the alliance is accomplishing its goal of ousting Gaddafi has seen many violations of the UN resolution which authorized the intervention.
The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on March 17 which established a no-fly zone over Libya with the aim of protecting civilians, but many innocent Libyans died later in NATO strikes. The funneling of weapons to the rebel forces by the alliance has also become a clear violation of the UN arms embargo that was imposed on the country by resolution 1973.
In light of all those violations it would be very unlikely that the UN Security Council would have adopted yet another resolution on Libya in September, when the previous resolution runs out. So it was crucial for NATO and the rebels to secure a victory before this deadline.
Transitional National Council
The Libyan Transitional National Council has been recognized by the NATO countries, American included, as a legitimate organ. But the stumbling block is that neither the Council, nor its leader, have been chosen by the Libyan people themselves. Many Libyans are outraged by the fact that foreign powers have been making these important decisions for them.