Muammar Gaddafi's regime in Libya has hung on for several months despite the popular uprising supported by Nato forces, but at last it seems there are real signs that the regime is falling apart. Nine more senior military officers from Gaddafi's military, including five generals, defected this week, and on Monday, they appealed to those officers still loyal to Tripoli to join them in backing the rebels.
One of the generals said that Gaddafi's forces were running at 20 per cent efficiency, and added that at most 10 generals are still loyal to him. This puts Gaddafi under great pressure, and such a great survivor must see that the present situation cannot continue forever.
Gaddafi needs to plan his exit, and Libya's Transitional National Council needs to be ready to take part in talks about how it will take over the whole country, and how it will deal with the survivors of the Gaddafi regime. Gaddafi seems to be weighing his options, many of which involve him having safe passage to take up residence in an African state.
Such plans might well help the present situation and could be a very good thing. For example, South African President Jacob Zuma met Gaddafi on Monday and said afterwards that Gaddafi was ready for a truce.
It has to be remembered that it is in no one's interests to fight to the bitter end. The loss of human life can never be replaced, and the destruction of infrastructure will take years to repair. Gaddafi needs to be ready to leave Tripoli, and Nato and the Transitional Council need to be ready to engage in talks to end this conflict, and prepare to build a new Libya.