Libyan Street Art (5 of 10)
A painter paints a caricature of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in Benghazi May 1, 2011.

As the Libyan conflict is dragging on, headlines indicating that Gaddafi is preparing to leave Libya are emerging once again. Could the Lion of Africa really be on his way out, or is this just part of a desperate tactic aiming at retaining public support at a time when both the rebels and Nato are heavily criticised.

Could Libya be a new Afghanistan? Well, yes, but mainly in the sense that reports about what is actually going on in the country are so confusing that no one can tell where they come from and who is behind them.

The conflict which started as a small uprising in the eastern 0part of the country is now called a civil war, which sounds rather distorted. While footages of thousands of people taking to the streets against President Al-Assad of Syria are everywhere and for everyone to see, when it comes to Libya one cannot help but wonder, where are the protesters? While various website reports many organised protests, it is clear by now that the uprising was not continued by unarmed civilians who wanted to peacefully protest for Gaddafi's demise, but was instead bolstered by Nato's support of armed rebels.

The fact is that the country is by now so deeply entrenched in the conflict and so divided that no matter what the outcome is, Libya will come out of the conflict in a state of chaos and with tensions and suspicious dominating the atmosphere.

After being widely criticised for providing the rebels with arms France has today explained that as they have gotten significantly more organised over the past weeks, the rebels did not need arms anymore, which just proves once again that France is ready to say anything to try and move on from the gaffe that has now tarnished its reputation on the African continent. The illegal trading of light arms has been one of Africa's biggest problems since the cold war, as they are regularly used in intra state conflicts, so providing the rebels with weapons cannot really be seen as a smart move from an afro-centric point of view.

If talks are really taking place between the rebels and Gaddafi, it is certainly due to the softened attitude of the National transitional Council's and of their demands when it comes to the Libyan leader.

Apparently the rebels are now willing to allow him to stay in Libya if he retires from the political scene, while just a few weeks ago they maintained the main conditions for talks to be held would be Gaddafi's instant departure or arrest.

It thus sounds as if Gaddafi is not the only party greatly weakened by the five months of conflicts. Despites their claims of working for the Libyan people, many of the high profile members of the rebels' council are just Gaddafi's old employees, some of them worked for the "dictator" for years but are now determined to "bring the country to democracy"?

When the Arab Spring started, a real revolutionary feeling could be felt in Egypt and Tunisia. The people were in the streets chanting against their leaders and calling for their departure and while many lost their lives, it is indeed this presence on the streets that enabled them to shout out their demands loud and clear. In both Egypt and Tunisia, the civil society is still very much involved in the political scene and protests are still on-going. In Libya however it seems that the rebels have hijacked a populist movement. They make their demands, they make new plans for a new Libya, but who allowed them to inscribe their movement as the homogenised voice of the Libyans?

Also, Despite Gaddafi clearly rejecting all international calls for him to step down, reports about people in his inner circle signalling they are ready to negotiate with the rebels emerge every day.

"My hunch is that we're not far from the end game," Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya, told Reuters.

"There's definitely something going on," said UK-based opposition journalist and analyst Ashour Shamis, referring to his belief that political efforts had been stepped up.

"There are now more efforts to bring things to a conclusion and avoid an armed struggle for Tripoli, which would be very messy," he said, referring to the capital, a Gaddafi bastion.

The rebels on the other hand appear to be hesitant and change their minds regularly on the conditions for negotiations.

The rebels leader, Mustafa Abdel Jalil said on Sunday Gaddafi was welcome to live out his retirement in Libya as long as he gave up all power, but on Monday, he issued a statement saying he wanted to "clarify" that there was no possibility for Gaddafi to stay in Libya and he would have to face justice.

One of the latest news is also that the ICC arrest warrant could be used as a tool for negotiations by the West as it can provide new leverage in the form of a possible offer of immunity in return for him stepping down from power.

Apparently, according to Saad Djebbar, a former legal advisor to the Libyan government, an "internationally-binding U.N. Security Council resolution granting him (Gaddafi) immunity from the court in return for him giving up power and calling on his people to abandon arms" could be on the table.

So now, on top of having the power to allow for an intervention and bombardment campaign in Libya, the UN could have the authority to bypass the International Criminal Court and annul the warrant, of a man that Nato member states have kept on calling a dictator, violator of Human Right, an oppressor and torturer?

Well, it is clear then, that as it states on their website the UN is "committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights?" NOT.