The war in Libya is entering a new phase that NATO believes -- and hopes -- will lower the curtain on the Gadhafi regime.
The rebel provisional government offered amnesty today to the apparently scared, dwindling ranks of Libyans still loyal to Moammar Gadhafi. The offer came as NATO sent the regime a message in the form of a bold daytime air strike on Tripoli.
Rebels in Misurata have been told French and British attack helicopters will soon join the fight.
"Yesterday two French men, who usually come to take coordinates so that Nato knows where to attack, came to the front. They told me this is the 'third stage'," said Ahmed Ibrahim, a senior rebel said, according to The Telegraph of London.
Hoping the end game (as far as the fighting goes) is in sight, the Transitional National Council dangled a carrot in front of Gadhafi loyalists today: Any defectors accused of crimes before the revolution's Feb. 17 start date will get a fair trial, while those who commit crimes after that date will be granted total amnesty.
"Those still betting on Moammar Gadhafi's regime should wake up to reality and abandon it and join the righteous and just cause," said TNC leader Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, a former judge and justice minister in the Gadhafi regime.
NATO demonstrated with a daytime raid on Tripoli today the confidence it has that Gadhafi forces are worn down and are limping. NATO warplanes destroyed guard towers and storage depots behind the high walls of Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziyah complex.
The strikes began overnight and continued after sunrise, re-affirming the alliance's resolve that the Gadhafi regime is in its final act.
"We are joined in our resolve to finish the job," President Obama said after meetings at the Group of Eight summit of industrialized nations in France that centered on the Libyan conflict.