Sunday, March 06, 2011
Sometimes no really means no.
That’s what the British military learned today when, after a solid week of Libyan rebel leaders insisting that they didn’t want any foreign intervention in the ongoing efforts to oust long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi, they decided a great idea would be to dispatch a unit of their special forces, the SAS, to Benghazi to “offer help.”
The troops arrived in plain clothes and accompanied a “junior diplomat” who had ostensibly been dispatched to “establish relations” with the opposition’s leadership council. The rebels have been in control of virtually the entire eastern half of the nation plus a number of cities in the west for over a week.
But the rebels’ troops spotted the plain clothes troops and hauled them away, worrying that public support would be damaged if they were seen as a Western-backed coup against Gadhafi, one of the chief reasons they have repeatedly spurned US and British offers of military help.