Things have moved even faster over the weekend than anticipated, and much if not most of Tripoli has now slipped from Gadhafi’s grip. It appears his time will run out in days, or even hours.
In Damascus, Bashar al-Assad must be watching in disbelief. Gadhafi’s continuous defiance both distracted the NATO powers and give Assad confidence that if Gadhafi could hold out, under much stronger assault, then Assad could do so easily.
Now those calculations have to be revised. The NATO powers may continue to be occupied to some degree with working toward a peaceful transition of power in Libya, but that will be diplomatic work, or boots on the ground by UN peacekeeping forces. NATO’s heavy arms at sea and in the air will soon be wholly free. And if the Lion of Libya can be overthrown, can Assad be secure?
Expect an even harsher crackdown by Syrian forces this week, as Assad tries to bolt the door on revolt before it can be further inspired to emulate that in Libya. But it is already too late. The same scenes of joyous rebels in liberated Tripoli that frighten Assad will energize rebels in Syria.