Muammar Gaddafi
Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi appears in a live broadcast on state television in Tripoli in this still image taken from video March 15, 2011. REUTERS

As the 41-year-old regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi is falling apart, leaving space for the National Transitional Council to take over the country, analysts are already attempting to look at the consequences of the fall of the man that managed to cling to power for so many years.

The Arab Spring is now hailed as a revolution and the fall of Gadhafi is expected to haunt the Arab and African leaders facing similar revolts many say.

Just like in Egypt and Tunisia, images of jubilation in the streets of Tripoli appeared to take over previous fears of a bloody battle, proving that even the most entrenched autocratic governments are not invincible, or at least this is what we are being told.

In Syria however, while the images of Libyans dancing in the streets will provide anti regime activists hope that their turn will also come, it is doubtful their leader Assad feels any more threatened.

Clearly, in the case of Libya, the rebels managed to push to Tripoli with NATO's help and this partnership was crucial.

Months of a bombing campaign targeting Gadhafi's compound and his regime buildings and headquarters have finally paid off. Also, the NTC forces have been helped financially whilst also being given more material by some of the NATO coalition countries such as Qatar and France.

Yes, in the last eight months Arab countries have seen Tunisia's Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali flee the country, he had ruled for 23 years, and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak stood down after 30 years in power, but what has actually changed?

Yes, these developments are fundamentally important but will they really change the way autocrats think? When Bahrain suppressed popular discontent with the help of Saudi Arabia, Arabs and Western countries alike decided to look the other way.

In the Saudi Kingdom, a keen ally of the U.S., women are still fighting to have the right to drive, so clearly, ousting the monarchy stands a long way ahead.

"It is an important development because it shows there are different ways in which Arab regimes will collapse. It just shows once you get a momentum developing and the right combination -- a popular will for change and regional and international support -- no regime can withstand that," Beirut-based Middle East analyst Rami Khouri, told Reuters.

"Syria has this combination of a popular uprising with regional and international backing. These authoritarian regimes, even if they are strong, collapse in the end. We have three transitions now, Tunis, Egypt and Libya and more are to follow," she added.

While the crumbling of the Gaddafi regime proves that authoritarian regimes can collapse after years in power, the fact itself is not new. Dictators have been toppled by rebel fighter groups for years, in Africa and the Middle East.

Gadhafi himself was a "freedom fighter" who said he fought to liberate Libya from King Idris I and so did Hafez Assad, Bashar's father. Some will say that both men took power by a coup and that the conditions for their ascensions to power were different, but in the case of Libya, contrary to Tunisia and Egypt, the regime collapsed after more than six months of confrontations with an armed rebellion.

Ecstatic activists are quoted as saying that the fall of the Gadhafi regime represents a new day in the history of Libya, but hopes for real change have given space to less enthusiastic statements in both Tunisia and Egypt.

While the Arab Spring can certainly be defined as a series of important and substantive political changes calling those changes revolutions can also sound misleading.

Egypt and Tunisia are still at transition stage and many protesters are still very unhappy with the transitional government ruling their country. To talk about a social and political revolution at this stage is far too precocious and the removal of particular deeply entrenched and brutal political leaders and their regime does not constitute in itself deep revolutionary changes.

While in Tunisia, the fall of the Ben Ali regime was followed by the collapse of the core elite that supported and benefited from the regime, the situation in Egypt and Yemen is quite different. Also in Tunisia, the military had, under Ben Ali, remained confined to its professional role and had only a limited political role since assisting in the removal of the former president.

Clearly establishing a significant reordering of politics and power on different levels and segments of the society in those two countries is not yet assured.

In Egypt, one should not forget that most of the old regime has managed to hold on to power, with very little change at the structural level. Of course the Tantawi military council is only transitional, but the elite still remains influential and powerful while the opposition is still sketchy and weak.

In Libya, the opposition is now monopolised by the NTC, which insist that it will push for democracy and organise elections, but only time will tell.

While the fall of Gaddafi might bring hope to the Libyan people, the revolution if this is one, has just started.