Moammar Gadhafi's Days as Libya's Leader Appear Nearly At an End

Moammar Gadhafi's Days as Libya's Leader Appear Nearly At an End,The regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi appeared close to collapse Sunday as rebel forces raced into the capital after meeting little resistance from government forces who appeared to be in disarray.

After six months of NATO bombing, rebel forces broke a military standoff in a startling turn of events that took anti-Gadhafi forces by surprise and may prove a decisive blow to the regime.

Raucous celebrations broke out across Libya, as fighters shouted and fired their weapons into the air after news of the rebel progress spread rapidly across the country.

In some villages, mosque loudspeakers blared "Allahu Akbar," or "God is great," the Associated Press reported.

The euphoria may soon be replaced by worries about how to maintain stability in a post-Gadhafi Libya.

In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland advised Gadhafi to step down and urged the rebel leadership to plan for a post-Gadhafi government that represents all sectors of society.

"We continue efforts to encourage the (opposition council) to maintain broad outreach across all segments of Libyan society and to plan for post-Gadhafi Libya," Nuland said.
"Transitions from broken societies that have lived under authoritarian governments are never easy," said David Schenker, an analyst at Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Mansour El-Kikhia, a Libyan-born professor at the University of Texas-San Antonio, said there is no danger of factional fighting in Libya.

"There will not be a civil war in Libya, clear and simple," El-Kikhia said. "There'll be an interim government and elections in the next six or seven months. There'll be a new Libya."

There were reports that rebels captured Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, a son of the Libyan leader and a key figure in the regime. The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court says the son has been detained but did not release details, the Associated Press reported. Father and son have been indicted on crimes against humanity.

The opposition government, called the Transitional National Council, issued a statement by text message asking people to refrain from property damage and maintain calm in the capital.

Gadhafi's whereabouts were not known, but he delivered a series of defiant audio messages broadcast on state television, calling on his supporters to march in the streets of the capital and "purify it" from "the rats." He was not shown.

Gadhafi's forces also could strike back in the capital, resulting in deadly street fighting.
In response to a question about Libya, President Obama said, "We're going to wait until we have full confirmation of what has happened."

The anti-Gadhafi rebellion began in February in eastern Libya where lightly armed rebels challenged Gadhafi's armed forces. A number of military units defected and rebel forces made rapid headway in parts of the east.

But Gadhafi's forces rallied and blunted the rebel advance, at one point reaching to the gates of Benghazi, the rebel capital.

The rebels got a boost when the United States and its NATO allies launched an air offensive. Though the airstrikes have maintained steady pressure on Gadhafi's regime, until Sunday's dramatic advance on the capital the fight had turned into a standoff.


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