Fresh off of Tuesday’s announcement that the British government was sending military “advisers” to Benghazi to work with the East Libyan rebels, the French and Italian government, apparently not wanting to be left out, announced deployments of their own.
Officials assure that the troops won’t engage in any combat, but they could just be the tip of the iceberg. The European Union is now saying they are considering as many as 1,000 ground troops for “humanitarian assistance” in Libya.
The Gadhafi government agreed to allow a UN humanitarian mission into the country, and that could begin as soon as this weekend, according to some officials. That mission isn’t intended to be backed up by massive numbers of foreign troops, however.
But some of the nations keen on escalation seem to see this as a way in. The UN resolution authorizing the no-fly zone was never explicit about not allowing ground troops into the country, but the UN aid mission is distinct from that resolution.
Right now everyone seems to be eager to shore up close relations with the Benghazi rebels, and that is including “advisers” as well as pledges of millions of dollars in aid. The moves will surely be welcomed by some factions, with hopes to escalate the NATO war and install them as the new government. In a war without any obvious goals or exit strategy, such escalation is bound to raise more questions than it answers.