McCain: Qaddafi's time "nearing the end"

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Sunday he thought Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's rule in Libya was "nearing the end" and that it would be a "matter of hours" before his ouster.

McCain, speaking on CBS' "Face the Nation," said that "we will be rid of a guy who has practiced the worst kind of brutalities."

Hundreds of rebel forces advanced to within 15 miles of Libya's capital of Tripoli Sunday, as anti-Qaddafi protests erupted in the city. According to the AP, the mood was euphoric, with some rebels shouting: "We are getting to Tripoli tonight."

"I believe that it's nearing the end," McCain said, of Qaddafi's rule.

McCain noted that, following the increased engagement of NATO forces in Libya, the implosion of Qaddafi's leadership "was something that was going to happen." But he lamented the drawn-out nature of the six-month conflict.

"I grieve a bit because this conflict didn't have to last this long," McCain told CBS' Norah O'Donnell. "The United States' air power could have shortened this conflict dramatically. Unfortunately we chose not to. We led from behind."

Still, the Arizona Senator said he thought the Libyan opposition movement would succeed- and that the ouster of Qaddafi would "send a message" to other nations seeking democratic transitions - and to other dictators.

"This will send a message to Bashir Assad, and to Yemen and to other dictators, that their time is nearing the end. This Arab Spring is echoing all over the world, from Russia to China to Israel... Since that young man burned himself to death in Tunisia, we are seeing a vastly changed world. We are going to have to make some adjustments.

"It's going to be a big challenge forming a new government, uniting a country that has never known democracy," he said. "We've seen the difficulties with other countries who made this transition, but we will be rid of a guy who has the blood of Americans on his hands."

"I think they can succeed," McCain added, of the Libyan democratic movement. "It's very difficult. There's tribal rivalries from a long time ago. They've never known democracy. They do have access to a lot of money. There's a lot of oil and a lot of assets there... But our European friends and we are going to have to help out a lot."