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Diplomatic and political developments are now taking place that might shift the battle for Libya. France has become the first European country to recognise the Libyan rebel leadership, the National Libyan council, as the country's legitimate government.

The step was announced in Paris by the office of Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, one day after European members of parliament tried to convince the entire EU to recognise the rebels.

Other members of the EU have said that they need to know more about the opposition's political leadership and agenda, and that they want to work together with the Arab League before taking steps to recognise them.

But Portugal has already cut ties with the Gaddafi government, and leaders around the world are being asked to take a stand.

Has Muammar Gaddafi lost the diplomatic battle? Will a new government rise in the east of Libya?

Joining us to discuss these issues are guests: Francis Boyle, a professor of international law at the University of Illinois, who was the lawyer for Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war in Bosnia and was able to help secure a NATO-endorsed no-fly zone over the country; Guma el-Gamaty, a Libyan writer and political activist; and Andrew McGregor, a senior editor of the global terrorism analysis programme and a specialist on North Africa for The Jamestown Foundation.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Thursday, March 10, 2011.

Source: Al Jazeera