Leader: What next for Libya?

One cannot fail to be moved by the euphoric scenes on the streets of Tripoli, as crowds celebrate the collapse of Muammar al-Gaddafi's regime. The 42-year reign of one of the Middle East's most brutal and capricious dictators is all but over.

Yet now is not the moment for leaders in the west to declare "mission accomplished". Vital questions remain unanswered. What role will the west play in deciding the country's next government? Will we be sending in ground troops to serve as peacekeepers? How much do we know about the rebels - a hotchpotch of defectors, democrats, nationalists and Islamists - who wish to replace the colonel? Gaddafi may have lost but, at present, it is far from clear who has won.

This article first appeared in the 29 August 2011 issue of the New Statesman, Gold