We all recall that banner: 'mission accomplished'.On an aircraft carrier behind former president George W Bush after the ouster of Saddam Hussein. They spoke too soon. And it appears in Libya too, the rebels spoke too soon.
It now is clear that Muammar Gaddafi is digging in for the long haul. Choosing a long-drawn out guerilla resistance to tire out his opponents.
The 'rebels' celebrated after the fall of Tripoli and now feel reluctant to follow up on their Tripoli victory and take Gaddafi's last standing strongholds. They celebrated the end of a six-month protracted struggle and now feel reluctant to fight on and finish the job.
They issued two ultimatums for the Gaddafi-held towns of Ben Walid and Sirte -for the loyalists to give up arms and even extended the deadline but with no result.
Their choice of a negotiated settlement with the Gaddafi loyalits seems to suggested a reluctant military stance in favour of a negotiated exit for the vanquished.
Clearly, the Gaddafi regime has fallen and there is not any real hope that he will forge a come back worth its name but prolonged guerilla warfare doesnt seem out of his reach.
He seems to have fled with huge sums of US dollars,euros and gold as reported by his generals who fled into Niger. So, the vanquished Gaddafi-machine still has access to some resources on which to launch a feeble guerilla campaign even when we all know it is a matter of time before Gaddafi is found.
It would appear that his early exit from Tripoli was a tactical rather than a clear military defeat. Instead of confronting the rebels head-on he prefered to engage them in a guerilla-style resistance, afterall, the NATO air strikes proved too decisive in favour of the rebel forces.