I'm not speaking on any particular concrete basis today - I don't have any specific articles to back me up. But I did read on the cover of the Wall Street Journal today that "US sees stalemate in Libya." Yet I cannot accept that there will be anything so cut and dry as an East Libya/West Libya separation.
There are no superpowers to draw and uphold such lines now. This isn't the Cold War. Qaddafi has no imperial backer.
And he won't accept anything less than a reassertion of his power, and the annihilation of the rebel movement. If anything like a stalemate develops, even over the course of years, it will simply mean protracted bloodshed and victory to the side that develops new tactics. Even with superior firepower on the side of the tyrant, my money is on the rebels. Qaddafi has 1970s' tactics and some planes and helicopters and a heart of ice. But the rebels are honing their wits day after day.
The US is still trying to decide its angle. It still frets over the "character" of the rebellion. We know it will support a re-establishment of the monarchy (if its assessment of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are indicators). But blocked on the UN and so far unable to parse through international law, it looks like the world's police force may be sitting this one out, for the time being.
No easy parallels, not even a 38th.