For a time after the NATO bombardment began, fears of Qaddafi’s return to the east receded. But after weeks of seeing their fortunes wane, rebel leaders who had fumed against any accommodation with Qaddafi now ask why Western powers are not more vigorously pursuing a cease-fire that might let them preserve their current holdings in the east. The alternative is ghastly. The sandstorm season in Libya is fast approaching, and under its cover, the colonel could yet send his pickup trucks, disguised with rebel flags, into Benghazi. Diplomats who had earlier said they were coming to stay are making contingency plans to flee within an hour’s notice, waving goodbye to free Libya.
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