"Total confusion reigns just 13 days after the launch of the war in Libya,” writes Mediapart. “In less than two weeks, what began as a humanitarian operation — with an authorisation to deploy limited military means — has been transformed into a war to bring about regime change.”

For the Parisian news website, the goal of the United States, which is providing the bulk of the resources for the Odyssey Dawn is quite simple: to overthrow Gaddafi. We are now witnessing “an all out attack on military infrastructure and political power centres” by the operation which from Thursday 31 March will be fully controlled by NATO from its headquarters in Naples.

“The strategy of total war (which is far removed from the spirit of Resolution 1973) has prompted increasingly bitter criticism from the Arab League, as well as Turkey and Italy, which was hoping to intervene as a mediator in a bid to persuade Gaddafi to go into exile,” adds Mediapart. As a result, the news website argues that the coalition is headed straight for the quagmire it desperately wanted to avoid. Now that Gaddafi’s army is winning back territory, “the status quo will likely persist, and barring his sudden overthrow, in the long term the country may have to be divided.”

The situation is all the more problematic for the coalition in view of the increasingly heated debate about the Libyan opposition and the reality of the National Transition Council, which France recognised as the legitimate power in the country on 5 March. This is particularly the case in the United States “where some suspect that Islamists and even Al-Qaeda fighters are playing an important role in the uprising.”