Mission Creep in Libya - by Stephen Lendman
Escalated intervention keeps incrementally building toward sending combat troops against Gaddafi, French and UK leaders signaling what may, in fact, have been planned all along, perhaps including US marines. More on that below.
On April 16, New York Times writer Rod Nordland admitted what's already known headlining, "Libyan Rebels Say They're Being Sent Weapons," saying:
Interviewed by Al Arabiya on Saturday, rebel military leader General Abdel Gattah Younas said "his forces had received weapons supplies from unidentified nations that supported their uprising." National Transitional Council spokesman Mustafa Gheriani confirmed it without naming sources thought to be Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, and NATO members directly.
Gheriani also said that rebels had "professional training centers," adding:
"We have a lot of people being trained, real professional training, that we don't talk to the world about."
On April 19, RTT News Global Financial Newswires headlined, "French Lawmaker Calls for Deployment of Ground Troops in Libya," saying:
Axel Poniatowski, French Parliament foreign affairs committee chairman, recommended "deploy(ing) ground troops in Libya to guide the ongoing airstrikes being carried out." Warning that operations could get bogged down, he said:
"The exclusive use of air power, as imposed on us by UN Security Council Resolution 1973, has proved its limitations in the face of targets that are mobile and hard to track. Without information from the ground, coalition planes are flying blind and increasing the risk of friendly fire incidents."
On April 19, the London Independent headlined, "Army experts to mention Libya rebels," saying:
"British Army officers are being sent to Libya to advise rebels fighting (Gaddafi's) forces. The UK group will be deployed to the opposition stronghold of Benghazi (in) a mentoring role to help leaders co-ordinating attacks on (his) army."
Foreign Secretary William Hague called those sent "legitimate political interlocutors," saying, "Our officers will not be involved in training or arming the opposition's fighting forces. Nor will they be involved in the planning or execution of the NTC's military operations or in the provision of any other form of operational military advice."
Ruling out a ground invasion, he admitted that additional SAS raids were possible, complementing others along with CIA and MI 6 intelligence operatives in Libya perhaps for months ahead of planned intervention, arming, funding and training rebel insurgents.
Usually described as experts, consultants and advisors, mission creep has been evident for weeks, a process begun in fall 2010 or earlier. Moreover, on March 25, London Daily Mail writers David Williams and Tim Shipman said before bombing began "it was revealed that hundreds of British special forces troops have been deployed deep inside Libya targeting (Gaddafi's) forces - and more are on standby."
On April 20, New York Times writers Alan Cowell and Ravi Somaiya headlined, "France and Italy Will Also Send Advisors to Libya Rebels," saying:
Both governments confirmed "they would join Britain in sending a small number of military liaison officers to support" Libyan insurgents, without Security Council authorization.