Rebels claim control of Tripoli

Thomas Lifson
The whereabouts of Col. Gaddafi remain unknown today, as Libyan rebels claim to control 80% of the capital, Tripoli. President Obama interrupted his vacation to issue a statement last night:

Tonight, the momentum against the Qadhafi regime has reached a tipping point.

Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. The Qadhafi 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.

The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moammar Qadhafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end. Qadhafi needs to acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya.

He needs to relinquish power once and for all.

Meanwhile, the United States has recognized the Transitional National Council as the legitimate governing authority in Libya.

At this pivotal and historic time, the TNC should continue to demonstrate the leadership that is necessary to steer the country through a transition by respecting the rights of the people of Libya, avoiding civilian casualties, protecting the institutions of the Libyan state, and pursuing a transition to democracy that is just and inclusive for all of the people of Libya.

A season of conflict must lead to one of peace.
 
The future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people.

Going forward, the United States will continue to stay in close coordination with the TNC.

We will continue to insist that the basic rights of the Libyan people are respected. 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.

Of course, it remains to be seen how the situation will play out. Will the victorious rebel tribes take revenge on the tribes affiliated with Gaddafi? Will Islamists gain a major foothold in the new government?

No doubt the Obama administration will claim vindication for its odd formulation of "leading from behind." At least until things turn south in Libya.

Update: James G. Wiles calls our attention to this1805 poem on Revolution (in this case, France's) by Wordsworth:

OH! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!

For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood

Upon our side, we who were strong in love!

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,

But to be young was very heaven!--

Oh! times, In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways

Of custom, law, and statute, took at once

The attraction of a country in romance!

When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights,

When most intent on making of herself

A prime Enchantress--to assist the work,

Which then was going forward in her name!

Not favoured spots alone, but the whole earth,

The beauty wore of promise, that which sets

(As at some moment might not be unfelt

Among the bowers of paradise itself)

The budding rose above the rose full blown.

What temper at the prospect did not wake

To happiness unthought of?

The inert Were roused, and lively natures rapt away!

They who had fed their childhood upon dreams,

The playfellows of fancy, who had made

All powers of swiftness, subtilty, and strength

Their ministers,--who in lordly wise had stirred

Among the grandest objects of the sense,

And dealt with whatsoever they found there

As if they had within some lurking right

To wield it;--they, too, who, of gentle mood,

Had watched all gentle motions, and to these

Had fitted their own thoughts, schemers more mild,

And in the region of their peaceful selves;--

Now was it that both found, the meek and lofty

Did both find, helpers to their heart's desire,

And stuff at hand, plastic as they could wish;

Were called upon to exercise their skill,

Not in Utopia, subterranean fields,

Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!

But in the very world, which is the world

Of all of us,--the place where in the end

We find our happiness, or not at all!

The whereabouts of Col. Gaddafi remain unknown today, as Libyan rebels claim to control 80% of the capital, Tripoli. President Obama interrupted his vacation to issue a statement last night:

Tonight, the momentum against the Qadhafi regime has reached a tipping point.

Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. The Qadhafi 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.

The surest way for the bloodshed to end is simple: Moammar Qadhafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end. Qadhafi needs to acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya.

He needs to relinquish power once and for all.

Meanwhile, the United States has recognized the Transitional National Council as the legitimate governing authority in Libya.

At this pivotal and historic time, the TNC should continue to demonstrate the leadership that is necessary to steer the country through a transition by respecting the rights of the people of Libya, avoiding civilian casualties, protecting the institutions of the Libyan state, and pursuing a transition to democracy that is just and inclusive for all of the people of Libya.

A season of conflict must lead to one of peace.
 
The future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people.

Going forward, the United States will continue to stay in close coordination with the TNC.

We will continue to insist that the basic rights of the Libyan people are respected. 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.

Of course, it remains to be seen how the situation will play out. Will the victorious rebel tribes take revenge on the tribes affiliated with Gaddafi? Will Islamists gain a major foothold in the new government?

No doubt the Obama administration will claim vindication for its odd formulation of "leading from behind." At least until things turn south in Libya.

Update: James G. Wiles calls our attention to this1805 poem on Revolution (in this case, France's) by Wordsworth:

OH! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!

For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood

Upon our side, we who were strong in love!

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,

But to be young was very heaven!--

Oh! times, In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways

Of custom, law, and statute, took at once

The attraction of a country in romance!

When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights,

When most intent on making of herself

A prime Enchantress--to assist the work,

Which then was going forward in her name!

Not favoured spots alone, but the whole earth,

The beauty wore of promise, that which sets

(As at some moment might not be unfelt

Among the bowers of paradise itself)

The budding rose above the rose full blown.

What temper at the prospect did not wake

To happiness unthought of?

The inert Were roused, and lively natures rapt away!

They who had fed their childhood upon dreams,

The playfellows of fancy, who had made

All powers of swiftness, subtilty, and strength

Their ministers,--who in lordly wise had stirred

Among the grandest objects of the sense,

And dealt with whatsoever they found there

As if they had within some lurking right

To wield it;--they, too, who, of gentle mood,

Had watched all gentle motions, and to these

Had fitted their own thoughts, schemers more mild,

And in the region of their peaceful selves;--

Now was it that both found, the meek and lofty

Did both find, helpers to their heart's desire,

And stuff at hand, plastic as they could wish;

Were called upon to exercise their skill,

Not in Utopia, subterranean fields,

Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!

But in the very world, which is the world

Of all of us,--the place where in the end

We find our happiness, or not at all!