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Friday
Apr012011

Officials: Rebels Defeating Gadhafi Less Likely Than Other Paths to His Exit

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Though the TV images of rebels are understandably what the media has been focused on, U.S. government officials tell ABC News that a military victory by the rebels is the least likely of three paths to Gadhafi stepping down.

The first and probably the most likely path would be is Gadhafi stepping down on his own, officials say, brought into exile with promises of immunity from prosecution, access to funds, a potentially cushy life. It would be politically difficult for the Obama administration to be part of such a deal, but Obama administration officials haven’t ruled out the possibility of a “soft landing” for Gadhafi.

A key part of this path would be Gadhafi feeling pressured by his inner circle, which is certainly happening, as evidenced by the defection of Intelligence Chief and Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa this week.

Officials say there are more indications this week that Gahdafi’s inner circle is “rattled and skittish,” as one official put it.

“They’re increasingly concerned about the direction Gadhafi is taking them,” the official said, citing intelligence reports.

This leads us to the second most likely path of Gadhafi’s exit -- his being removed -- by those around him, jailed, shoved into a plane, carried out on his feet or in a bag.

The least likely is the rag-tag band of misfits driving Toyotas around Libya defeating Gadhafi’s standing army.

When ABC News asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Friday to give the administration’s estimate of the rebels’ capabilities, he described them as “untrained, inexperienced people…That it is not a professional military, I think, is a notion that we can agree on.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 







ABC News Radio