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No, the conflict in Libya is not over yet. Yes, Muammar/Moammar Gadhafi/Qaddafi is still in power… and U.S. troops are still out there on our dime.

But it’s not all bad news. With the support of France, England, the U.S. and the U.N., rebel forces in Libya are actually making some headway in their fight for freedom.

Rebel forces battled the government outside Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown and stronghold of Sirte as Western and Arab nations prepared to meet in London Tuesday to seek an exit for Libya’s long time leader.

Thanks to international airstrikes begun March 19, Libya’s rebels are in a much stronger position than a week ago, having recaptured all the territory lost earlier to Gadhafi’s forces, including two key oil terminals.

But the rebels remain woefully outgunned by Gadhafi’s forces and it is unclear how they can take the stronghold of Sirte without further aggressive international air support. Attacks on Monday were repelled by heavy mortar and rocket fire.

Rebels acknowledged they could not have taken so much ground without the air and cruise missile strikes. Libya state television reported new NATO airstrikes after nightfall, targeting “military and civilian targets” in the cities of Garyan and Mizda about 40 miles and 90 miles respectively from Tripoli.

NATO insisted that it was seeking only to protect civilians and not to give air cover to an opposition march. But that line looked set to become even more blurred. The airstrikes now are clearly enabling rebels bent on overthrowing Gadhafi to push toward the final line of defense on the road to the capital.

Meanwhile, the world’s “super powers” are set to get together in London this week to do what they do best: figure out how to pressure a third world leader into doing what they want him to do.

International leaders were gathering in London on Tuesday seeking to plot out an endgame for Moammar Gadhafi’s tottering regime and to strike agreement on plans for Libya’s future.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Arab League and as many as 40 global foreign ministers were joining the talks — seeking to ratchet up pressure on Gadhafi to quit.

Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said several nations planned to table a joint deal aimed at swiftly ending the conflict, setting out proposals for a cease-fire, exile for Gadhafi and a framework for talks on Libya’s future between tribal leaders and opposition figures.

Oh. So we might see an end to this by summer? SMH.

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