As the BBC reported today…
Libya unrest: UK diplomatic team released by rebels
A British diplomatic team, including six soldiers believed to be SAS, have been freed two days after being detained in eastern Libya.
…it is thought the special forces soldiers were with a diplomat who was making contact with opposition leaders.
Witnesses said the men were detained by rebels after arriving near Benghazi in a helicopter early on Friday morning.
They were held after going to an agricultural compound when Libyan security guards found they were carrying arms, ammunition, explosives, maps and passports from at least four different nationalities, witnesses told the BBC.
The witnesses said the men had denied they were carrying weapons.
Most ‘Embarrassing’ indeed, Mr Foreign Secretary Hague…!
In other Libyan developments today… Egypt Quietly Invades Libya
The rebellion against the Kadaffi dictatorship in Libya has not produced any official outside help, but Egypt has apparently sent some of its commandos in to help out the largely amateur rebel force. Wearing civilian clothes, the hundred or so Egyptian commandos are officially not there, but are providing crucial skills and experience to help the rebels cope with the largely irregular, and mercenary, force still controlled by the Kadaffi clan. There are also some commandos from Britain (SAS) and American (Special Forces) operators are also believed wandering around, mainly to escort diplomats or perform reconnaissance (and find out who is in charge among the rebels).
The Egyptian commandos come from Unit 777, a force that was established in the late 1970s, but underwent some ups and downs in the next two decades before achieving its current form. Today, the 250-300 -man Unit 777 is a significantly improved force. They fall under the command of the Army Commando Command, both of whom are based in Cairo. Unit 777 trains with the help of the German GSG-9, French GIGN, and American Delta Force commandos. All Unit 777 members are qualified in static-line (low altitude) airborne operations, and possibly with HALO (high altitude jumps) as well. The primary operations of Unit 777 involve the suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic radical groups. There have been rumors that Unit 777 has conducted cross-border operations, although this cannot be confirmed. If not, this foray into Libya would be the first one. The foreign commandos who have worked with Unit 777 all agree that the Egyptians have become quite competent, especially when it comes to counter-terror operations.
Of course, you know Mossad must be busy these days in Libya…!
Today’s Jpost had this lovely report of past collusion…!
The Islamic Jihad on Sunday accused Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi of collaborating with the Mossad in 1995 to help eliminate the group’s founder and leader, Dr. Fathi Shikaki, in Malta.
Arab news source Quds Press quoted an Islamic Jihad official as saying that Shikaki’s visit to Malta was top-secret and one of the only people who knew about it was Gaddafi.
A Fistful of Euros is a great source on more NATO/EU actions…
Now, I guess one should categorize this as a bit of ‘Sunday Humor’…
Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has said that the United Nations (UN) or the African Union should probe into the unrest rocking Libya, and promised investigators free access.
Gaddafi, who made his first such demand since the outbreak of violent protests in Libya, has also warned that the unrest would spell disaster for Europe, news.com.au reports.
“First of all I would like that an investigatory commission of the United Nations or the African Union comes here to Libya. We will let this panel work unhampered,” the Libyan leader said.
Warning that the protests would have serious repercussions for Europe, Gaddafi said: “Thousands of people from Libya will invade Europe, and there will be no-one to stop them.”
Gaddafi has a point on that last little bit…!
Moving along to Bibi’s latest BS…
Israeli warplanes targeted three areas in the central and northern Gaza Strip on Sunday morning, causing damage but no injuries.
Witnesses said their homes shook when F16 fighter jets dropped missiles on an open area near a mosque in the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City. They said some homes and shops near the mosque sustained material damage, but there were no injuries.
South of Gaza City, Israeli warplanes fired two missiles at an under construction belonging to the Islamic University.
In the central Gaza Strip, planes fired an open space near the Zawayda Sports Club.
The Israeli military said the strikes targeted “a terror tunnel in the northern Gaza Strip and two terror activity sites in the central Gaza Strip,” in a statement.
The army said “direct hits” were confirmed and that the “terror tunnel” was used by fighters to infiltrate Israel.
The raids were in response to Palestinian projectile fire aimed toward Israel on Saturday, the statement added.
A military spokeswoman said a projectile was fired into the Negev desert in southern Israel on Saturday, causing no damage or injuries.
The raids did not inflict any human casualties this time, but in February alone they’d killed seven and wounded 46 others, including children…
In other news, I think the title says it all…
As a wildfire of revolt whips through the Middle East and North Africa, the White House is embracing pragmatism and shying away from embroidering a grand “Obama doctrine” for a region in turmoil.
For a politician as fond of the grand gesture as President Barack Obama, the idea of an eponymous school of foreign policy thought might seem tempting. [...]
But analysts and officials say that while Obama has laid out general principles to deal with the “Arab spring,” he is eschewing a rigid US philosophy for a region in tumult.
His actions towards each turmoil-wracked nation are different and do not adhere to a laid-down system of rules.
“The closest we have to a policy is to allow the different revolutions to take place at their own pace, based on the timing of the people involved and intervening only through general statements of support,” said Julian Zelizer of Princeton University.
“Other than that I don’t think there is any consistent principle.”
Asked for his Middle East “doctrine,” Obama replied on Thursday: “number one, no violence against citizens; number two, that we stand for freedom and democracy.” [...]
“One of the extraordinary successes of Egypt was the full ownership that the Egyptian people felt for that transformation,” Obama said.
“We did not see anti-American sentiment arising out of that movement in Egypt precisely because they felt that we hadn’t tried to engineer or impose a particular outcome.”
The administration has often seemed to be making policy on the hoof during the Arab revolts, a factor reflected in its difficulty in framing a consistent message.
“Number one, no violence against citizens…” I’m sure the Afghani/Pakistani/Yemeni citizens appreciate that sentiment, Mr. POTUS…!
I’ve got a way for O’bummer to resolve his inconsistent Foreign Policy dilemma, he could return his Nobel Peace Prize to Oslo…!
I know it’d clear my conscience a tad…!