There's plenty of bad news for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi: The rebel forces trying to topple him are within striking distance of Tripoli, bolstered by intensified NATO airstrikes and French weapons drops; influential Muslim nation Turkey just formally recognized the rebel Transitional National Council (TNC) as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people; and the International Criminal Court has a warrant out for his arrest. The Gadhafi clan isn't going quietly, vowing to fight until the end, or even target European nations. But is it finally curtains for Gadhafi?
Turkey's turnaround is a gamechanger: Turkey has "everything to lose" if it picks the wrong side, so its betting on the rebels is a huge tell, says Arab News in an editorial. Whether guided by economic self-interest or growing disgust with Tripoli, Turkey is the first of the major NATO intervention critics to "ditch Gadhafi." Russia and China will likely follow Turkey's lead, because if the rebels win — and "they almost certainly will" now — backing Gadhafi will be very bad for business.
Wishful thinking won't make Gadhafi go away: If Gadhafi's regime can survive four months of NATO airstrikes, rising fuel and bread prices, high-level defections, and economic isolation, says Britain's Guardian in an editorial, why would it fall now? This might be "painful for NATO," but Gadhafi's will to persevere looks stronger than the splintering coalition's "fantasy" that with a little help and a little training, the rebel forces will topple him. It's time to talk with Gadhafi or dig in for a long stalemate.
"Libya: Wishing the way to victory"
Don't underestimate the rebels: On the battlefield, it doesn't feel like a stalemate, says John Simpson at BBC News. "Morale on the government side seems to be very low," rebel forces are about 50 miles from Tripoli, and their commanders are confidently predicting rebel control of the capital by the end of August. A lot could still go wrong, but "there is a sense of inevitability" in the march on Gadhafi.
"Waiting game for rebels in western Libya"
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