Over the past week, however, the UK and France have ratcheted up the pressure on Col Gaddafi's regime, stepping up military efforts, increasing support to the transitional council, and pushing the International Criminal Court to indict the Libyan leader and his remaining allies.
As long as opponents of the intervention - especially Russia and China - are unwilling to actively undermine it, pressure on Col Gaddafi is likely to increase until he is toppled or isolated. Even in this case, however, the challenges of a post-Gaddafi Libya are far from straightforward.
The cost of rebuilding the country's infrastructure will be enormous - but the greatest challenge will be achieving a more economically equitable and politically stable country.
In this respect, the threat to Libya's stability does not appear to come from the possibility much-vaunted by Col Gaddafi of "al-Qaedisation", but from the splits within the transitional council itself, and particularly the low opinion many Libyans have of those associated with Col Gaddafi's regime.
• Dr Andrea Teti is a Middle East expert based at the University of Aberdeen