West to send private mercenaries to “help” Libyan rebels?

The idea of providing arms and support to the “rebels” in Libya shows a West with no historical memory. Remember Afghanistan in the 1980s?

Now we learn that a privatised force is being considered:

Private contractors could be sent by the US to Libya to help rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi under plans being considered in the event of a stalemate in the conflict.

The move comes as Gaddafi forces recaptured a strategic oil town and closed in on another major eastern city.

Rebels have pleaded for ground support after they lost nearly all the territory gained since international air strikes began.

US President Barack Obama has not ruled out shipments of arms to the opponents of the dictator, although critics fear that such a move might lead to the deployment of ground troops to offer training and support to the disparate rebel groups.

A senior former Pentagon official has told The Times that one option to be discussed was the use of contractors instead of troops.

“This has worked well in the past, such as when the US company MPRI provided military training for the Croatian Army in 1994 in the civil war with the Serbs,” the former official said.

Mr Obama has pledged that US ground troops will not be sent to Libya, but the use of contractors to train the rebels would circumvent that public commitment.

“The private sector has plenty of experience in this sort of work and it doesn’t even need to be training on the shooting end of the war, they could be used to provide logistical support to get the rebels more organised,” the source said.

The CIA has inserted operatives into Libya to make contact with rebels, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

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