Stalemate in Libya a likely outcome: US paper

Washington, Apr.2: US officials are beginning to accept the possibility of a stalemate in Libya, with rebels retaining control of east Libya and Colonnel Muammar Gaddafi controlling west Libya, as the rebels lack the ability to dislodge the tyrant from power, according to the Washington Post.

A deadlock backed by a formal cease-fire agreement, could help ensure the safety of the Libyan civilians caught in the crossfire between the two warring sides.

A stalemate could mean an open-ended mission for the coalition of NATO and Arab countries now enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya, increasing both financial and political costs for the participants.

However, analysts are confident that Gaddafi can be contained within a divided Libya, unable to significantly threaten his neighbors and gradually weakening over time.

An opposition spokesman had publicly called for a cease-fire to halt the fighting and to essentially freeze the battle lines, if Gaddafi would withdraw his troops from Libyan cities and allow people to speak freely, which the Libyan government rejected, saying that it would not withdraw from its own cities.

British officials have also disclosed a recent visit by a senior aide to one of Gaddafi's sons to London, to discuss an exit strategy, prompting speculation that those close to the leader were looking for a way out.

As Gaddafi loyalists continue to crush rebel fighters in the key oil hub of Brega, a town that had been claimed by the rebels less than a week ago, intelligence assessments suggest that the rebels are capable of maintaining control of strongholds such as Benghazi and key oil fields in eastern Libya, with continuing NATO air support.

US analysts have concluded that Gaddafi is not likely step down voluntarily, despite recent defections by top aides an he is also not likely to be driven from his Tripoli base, where he has surrounded himself with highly paid fighters and tribal kinsmen who remain fiercely loyal, anytime soon.

Copyright Asian News International/