“Gaddafi’s people are feeling quite confident,” said a European security official who closely follows Libyan events.

A “de facto partition for a long time to come” is the likely outcome, the official said, because of Gaddafi’s improving position and the weakness of the ill-equipped and largely untrained opposition forces…

Some U.S. and European national security officials say Gaddafi’s forces soon will have regrouped enough to consider a new move against Benghazi, the opposition stronghold in eastern Libya where NATO countries and Qatar have begun to provide aid to the rebels.

“No one can predict what one of the world’s most unpredictable dictators might do,” one U.S. official said.