What if Gaddafi will stay?

It is not impossible. Kenneth Pollack from The Brookings Institution answered my questions on the Brookings ‘s web chat.

Questions:

What do you think about the scenario in which Gaddafi will stay as a leader of Libya? I know it is hypothetical but what if rebels will strike some deal with him? Will the world accept it?

Answer:

Kenneth Pollack, Director, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution

Unfortunately, one we may actually have to deal with in the real world since you have to give pretty good odds on Qadhafi surviving for some period of time absent very major Western intervention which I am skeptical is likely.

What we find in most civil wars is that regardless of how they started, over time, the dynamics of the war itself take over. The Lebanese civil war morphed numerous times from 1975 to 1989, and different countries backed different sides at different times. Remember, the Syrians intervened on the side of the Christians in the beginning, then shifted to the Muslims, and then eventually just wanted everyone to stop fighting by the end.

In Libya, if he is not toppled in the next few weeks or does not reassert control in that same period, the situation will likely settle into a stalemate and then it will be all about which side can get more external support and which side can peel off key tribes from the other. Both of these things could swing the military balance significantly. That means that different tribes currently with the opposition might reconcile to him over time. Heck, he might eventually be able to reassert control over the whole country by bringing tribes over one at a time.

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