Cameron ready to intervene again

By Alex Stevenson

Britain is prepared to launch another military intervention where circumstances permit, David Cameron has said.

His comments came after a major international conference in Paris yesterday evening in which over 60 countries voiced their support for the new national transitional council taking over from Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

The prime minister's decision to impose a no-fly zone over Libyan airspace through Nato and assist rebels in ousting the renegade leader was motivated by "both a moral imperative" and the "ability to do it", he said.

"If you have the opportunity to do the right thing and you can see what you're about to do is achievable, there's a very strong case for going ahead," Mr Cameron told the Today programme.

"I think we've learnt the lessons of Iraq and we were doing this in Iraq."

Many see a case for intervention in Syria, where president Bashar al-Assad has brutally repressed pro-democracy protests.

Mr Cameron insisted that Britain had been "in the vanguard of arguing for a tougher approach" against Damascus, but pointed out the lack of international support for an intervention made firmer action unfeasible.

"We're having problems in the UN even getting a stronger resolution," he admitted. "Every set of circumstances is different."

Yesterday's conference appeared to underline the success of the Libyan intervention, with the international community expressing broad approval for the NTC's approach.

Its chairman, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, said: "The world bet on the Libyans, and the Libyans showed their courage and made their dream real."

The new government will need support, however, as Col Gaddafi – now in hiding – has vowed to fight an insurgency against the new regime.

"We are the lions of our desert, you will not be granted our oil fields and our ports," he said in an audio message.

"Get ready for a gang war, a war of gangs and urban warfare, guerrilla warfare and a war of bees that sting and run away and return to sting once more."

Mr Cameron called Col Gaddafi a "monster".

"He was responsible for appalling crimes, including crimes in this country and I think the world will be much better off without him," he said.

"Frankly, this is a Libyan triumph. One of the reasons why Tripoli is getting itself back together again in relatively good order is it wasn't a foreign force that knocked over Gaddafi's regime. This wasn't done to them. They did it. And they are rapidly mending it."