As the world stands captivated by the news in Libya of a rebel advancement into Tripoli, people across the world are starting to wonder, "Where is Gaddafi?"
Although the rebel advancement in Tripoli does not mean the rebels have won the capital of the country yet, many analysts are arguing that with the robust rebel advancement Gaddafi's regime is doomed to fall.
However, the strongman and 41-year leader of Libya, has yet to be seen.
The rebel-led National Transitional Council (TNC) chairman, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, has said via Al Arabiya television that the whereabouts of Gaddafi remain unknown.
Abdul-Jalil also told the television station that negotiations are underway between the TNC and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to turn one of Gaddafi’s captured sons over to the war crimes court.
Gaddafi and his son Saif face charges of crimes against humanity by the ICC.
Rumors are circulating that Gaddafi has perhaps fled the country, maybe to Venezuela, Malta, Algeria, or South Africa.
Malta and South Africa have both responded to the rumors arguing that the dictator is not in their territory and that if he, or anyone from his regime that is facing war crimes charges was found, they would be transferred over to The Hague.
However, according to diplomats, the most likely scenario is that Gaddafi is still in Libya hiding within his Al Azizya compound.
So far it is known that the Libyan Prime Minister Al Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi has escaped the country to the Tunisian island of Djerba.
World leaders have been using the recent rebel advancement to call on Gaddafi to relinquish his power, halt an escalation of violence, and face justice.
One such call came from Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini in which he stated, “The time is up. There is no alternative to surrendering and handing himself to justice.”
NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen also said, “The sooner Gaddafi realizes that he cannot win the battle against his own people, the better – so that the Libyan people can be spared further bloodshed and suffering.”
President Obama also released a statement regarding Gaddafi on Sunday evening in which he stated, “The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator.”
Following Sunday’s advancement, the NATO alliance working on Libya has authorized planning for a post-Gaddafi Libya and has arranged for “day-after” talks to be held in Dubai in the upcoming week that will include the United States, Britain, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates.
Whether Gaddafi is found or not, some of the most significant questions coming out of Libya have to do with reconciliation and peaceful transition to democracy in a country that is politically divided.
NATO worries that the power vacuum left in Libya upon Gaddafi’s ousting could lead to further violence in the country. Even so, not everyone is convinced that Gaddafi has been completely defeated just yet.
One NATO official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the Washington Post, “We cannot drop our guard when we know Gaddafi has done things even in full retreat.”