Can Moammar Gadhafi keep hiding from NATO?

Libya's embattled ruler has stayed one step ahead of the international coalition's airstrikes, but he may not be able to hold on much longer

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who was last seen in a video released May 11, has so far dodged NATO airstrikes, while his wife and daughter have reportedly fled.
(Image credit: REUTERS/Libyan TV)

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has reportedly gone into hiding to evade NATO airstrikes, which continued to slam government installations near his personal compound in Tripoli over the weekend. The bombings, which also destroyed warships preparing to attack the rebel-held port city of Misrata, appear to have limited Gadhafi's ability to command his forces. Gadhafi's wife and daughter are believed to have fled to neighboring Tunisia. The European Union has officially opened a diplomatic office in the rebels' main stronghold, Benghazi, to demonstrate growing international support for their pro-democracy cause. Is time finally running out for Gadhafi?

Yes, the end is near: "Sinking Libya’s ships is a serious blow to Gadhafi," says Matt Gurney at Canada's National Post. And the only reason his forces on land are still in business is that NATO refuses to bomb when there's any danger of killing civilians. Gadhafi might have an easier time hiding than his navy did, but he's fighting a losing battle.

"The Libyan navy's bad week just got worse"

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Sorry, Gadhafi is not finished yet: The Libyan despot has had a very bad week, no question, says Andrew North at BBC News. He and his loyalists must wonder whose bunker will be obliterated next, and "rumors of defections further jangle their nerves." But with NATO balking as Col. Gadhafi uses human shields to protect whatever resources he can, it "looks as though he can last it out." It will take negotiations — and concessions from the West — to get rid of him.

"Libya: Not at the tipping point yet"

The outcome of this war is still up in the air: NATO insists the airstrikes are working, says Jason Ditz at Antiwar, but they sure "don't appear to be changing the situation on the ground meaningfully." The rebels haven't conquered a new city in weeks, "and there is no signs of any doing so in the near future." If Gadhafi's army is as crippled as NATO says, the threat to civilians would be over. Clearly, it is not.

"NATO: Strikes crippled Libyan troops, sent Gadhafi into hiding"

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