President Barack Obama, in his most forceful words yet, has demanded that Moammar Gadhafi step down.

That was overdue. Yet Libya's dogged tyrant is unlikely to resign merely because America's leader urges him to do so. International condemnation, frozen assets and an arms embargo haven't worked either.

The question now is, what will? It's unclear how much more the global community can do to get rid of Gadhafi, short of the military intervention that no one but Libya's rebels seems to want. Even establishing a possible no-fly zone over Libya, which would probably have to be policed by American warplanes, is fraught with political risks.

Meanwhile, Libyans must cope with something like a civil war, and a humanitarian crisis is sure to result. The conflict is already producing refugees who will have to be cared for, and Gadhafi obviously has no compunction about raining death on his own courageous people, whose only crime is the desire to be free of his capricious rule.

It's a heartbreaking situation. Obama and other world leaders will have to come up with new ways to turn up the pressure - and perhaps, behind the scenes, find a safe haven for a delusional former strongman.

Revolutions often take time, but the longer this one takes, the more lives will be lost - and the more unstable the region becomes. hN