Juan Cole thinks International Criminal Court charges will hasten Qaddafi's departure:
NATO’s aerial bombing missions were what stopped the advance into Kosovo of Serbian troops. But it was the world community’s relegation of Milosevic to pariah status that helped the Serbian elite turn against him. The International Criminal Court has been charged by the UN with looking into whether Qaddafi can be charged with crimes against humanity (and if not he, who could?) The ICC seems likely to return an indictment before too long. Such indictments have powerful real-world effects, as seen with Milosevic. Although this development might make it more difficult to find a place of exile for the Qaddafis, it would almost certainly hasten the fracturing of the Tripoli elite and an end to the conflict.
And this, it seems is now the real goal, what David Brooks calls "squeeze and see." To my mind, this is infinitely preferable to getting bogged down in arming the rebels, or finding ourselves alongside Algeria and Egypt as outside powers trying to turn the events in Libya to our advantage. The latest reports from Tripoli seem to suggest a quickening of the regime's slide:
One resident of the rebellious neighborhood of Tajoura and another with ties to the nearby area of Suk al-juma said that pro-Qaddafi militia members could no longer safely enter the side streets in small numbers for fear of attack by local residents, although heavy contingents of militia still dominated the main arteries.
Defections, however, somewhat work against Qaddafi's departure, it seems to me. It isolates him further, which seems to bring out the dead-ender in him. I was struck however by Qaddafi's spokesman's statement:
“We will remain here until the end.”
Have the Qaddafiites reconciled themselves to the idea that there will be an end? Here's hoping.
(Photo: A Libyan rebel rests before leaving Ajdabiya to the front line near the oil town of Brega, as the West backed off from arming the rag-tag fighters and pushed for a political solution instead, on April 1, 2011. By Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)