David Cameron, August 5 2011, Vatican City. Photo credit: UK in Italy
The imminent fall of Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has been warmly welcomed by the majority of Libyans, who have long tired of his oppressive, eccentric rule. It has also been interpreted as a much needed boost for British Prime Minister David Cameron, given the PM led the international charge to intervene in Libya. Clearly looking to seize the moment, Cameron returned from his summer holiday to Cornwall to chair a National Security Council meeting this morning.
Speaking outside Number 10, Cameron said Gaddafi’s regime in Libya is “falling apart” and “in full retreat.” He added, “Gaddafi must stop fighting without conditions and clearly show he has given up any claim to control Libya.”
The speed at which Tripoli has fallen to the rebels is a much-needed boost for Cameron, whose reputation has been severely dented in recent months by his close relationships to disgraced senior News International staffers Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson and by his handling of the UK riots.
- Cameron can be very proud. “The mission isn’t accomplished but the overnight news from Libya is a big vindication for Cameron,” enthused key right-wing commentator Tim Montgomerie at Conservative Home. Montgomerie suggested there will be “no premature rejoicing in Downing Street” but insisted that the Tory leader has much to proud of: “It was David Cameron – supported in hugely significant ways by William Hague – and Nicolas Sarkozy that put this international alliance together. When the French were getting impatient with the time it was taking for operations to succeed and suggesting brokering a deal with Gaddafi, Britain didn’t budge. There’s a long road ahead for Libya but Cameron can be very proud of what has been delivered so far.”
- Cameron’s decisive moment. Writing at The Spectator’s Coffee House blog, Fraser Nelson bellowed, “Let there be no doubt: Cameron pushed for the Libyan intervention, averting what looked certain to be a massacre in Benghazi. The Prime Minister took a principled stand. In so doing, he reminded the world that the West can still intervene when it so chooses and will not stand by to watch slaughter. This was a decisive moment. Averting a Benghazi massacre was in itself a victory.” However, Nelson warned Cameron not to get too over-excited just yet: “he’d best have a long think before declaring “mission accomplished”. As Bush learned in Iraq, getting rid of the bad guy is just the end of the beginning.”
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