Western business interests have arrived in Libya. Lord Green, minister for trade and investment, led a British delegation including representatives of BP and Shell for talks in the capital Tripoli on Monday.
The same companies happily profited from their links with Gaddafi. Now they want to benefit from the gratitude that opposition leaders feel they owe to Nato.
National Transitional Council leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil has indicated that Nato countries will receive preferential treatment in investment deals.
Hotels in Benghazi and Tripoli are swarming with executives and their fixers. Financial papers say Libya will offer around £130 billion in “investment opportunities” over the next decade.
It has plenty of money to dish out. Up to £110 billion worth of frozen Gaddafi-era assets alone should help pay for reconstruction.
Estimates for the cost of Britain’s intervention in Libya have soared to seven times what the government originally claimed.
Some estimates are as high as £1.75 billion. Still, business leaders will consider it money well spent if the profits start to flow.