Is Gaddafi on his way out?
The rot has been eating away at his core supporters for months and now it appears the whole thing is about to collapse.
Moammar Gadhafi is making preparations for a departure from Libya with his family for possible exile in Tunisia, U.S. officials have told NBC News, citing intelligence reports.
One official suggested it was possible that Gadhafi would leave within days, NBC News reported.
The information obtained by NBC News follows a series of optimistic statements this week from U.S. officials that Gadhafi would soon give up the five-month-old fight and and leave Libya.
In an on-camera forum at the National Defense University this week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, "I think the sense is that Gadhafi's days are numbered."
The officials could provide no further details as to conditions or precise timing for Gadhafi's departure, NBC said, and the news report emphasized that there was no guarantee that Gadhafi would follow through on any plans to flee.
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Gadhafi is becoming more isolated in the capital, Tripoli.
When - or if - Gaddafi goes, that's when the real fun begins. There is no organized opposition that will move into Tripoli and take over. There are several factions - all with guns - who might have a say in who sits in the big chair. The best case scenario would be a bloodless transition to a mildly pro-western, Israel-neutral government.
The Islamists who have fought Gaddafi these many months will probably have something to say about that.