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Despite mounting protests against his 42-year rule, Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, remains defiant.

In a brief appearance on Libyan state TV in the early hours of Tuesday he quelled any suspicion that he had left Libya.

Monday night saw his forces crack down fiercely against protesters using live ammunition, machine guns and there are even reports of war planes firing on demonstrators. As the death toll continues to rise, world powers have spoken out in condemnation.

Just how long can Muammar Gaddafi cling to power? And what are the risks if his regime is toppled? If he decided to step down, who would take over?

Inside Story, with presenter Hazem Sika, discusses with Ibrahim Sahad, the secretary-general of the National Front for the salvation of Libya; Jude Mahmoud, a solicitor and coordinator for World Medical Camp Libya, an aid organisation helping to transfer medical equipment and supplies into Libya through the surrounding borders; and Keith Ellison, a congressman of Minnesota's fifth district.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Tuesday, February 22, 2011. 

Source: Al Jazeera