(WSJ) Egypt Said to Arm Libya Rebels

Egypt’s military has begun shipping arms over the border to Libyan rebels with Washington’s knowledge, U.S. and Libyan rebel officials said.

The shipments””mostly small arms such as assault rifles and ammunition””appear to be the first confirmed case of an outside government arming the rebel fighters. Those fighters have been losing ground for days in the face of a steady westward advance by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

The Egyptian shipments are the strongest indication to date that some Arab countries are heeding Western calls to take a lead in efforts to intervene on behalf of pro-democracy rebels in their fight against Mr. Gadhafi in Libya. Washington and other Western countries have long voiced frustration with Arab states’ unwillingness to help resolve crises in their own region, even as they criticized Western powers for attempting to do so.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Egypt, Foreign Relations, Libya, Middle East

3 comments on “(WSJ) Egypt Said to Arm Libya Rebels

  1. carl says:

    A couple of Egyptian Armored divisions crossing the Eastern Libyan border would be alot more useful and would radically change the situation on the ground. Radically. That occurrence actually might precipitate the implosion of the Libyan military. But the invading power becomes responsible for putting things back together and I doubt the Egyptians want anything to do with that.


  2. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    No doubt a worthy action. However, it may just be me, but I am not quite sure how these reports fit in with the terms of the arms embargoes and the latest UNSC resolution, but perhaps I don’t understand it all.

  3. MichaelA says:

    [blockquote] “On the other hand, the Egyptian military’s covert support for the rebels suggests that it has calculated that Mr. Gadhafi is unlikely to remain in power, at least in the eastern half of the country, and therefore Egypt is eager to begin to build good relations with the rebels.” [/blockquote]
    You think? Qaddafi’s support has always been lowest in the eastern part of the country, where support for the monarchy was always strongest. Even if Qaddafi maintains power over part of Libya, he is most unlikely to get the east, so Egypt and others will have to deal with them.
    [blockquote] “Rebel forces in the past 24 hours appeared to make some progress fending off pro-Gadhafi forces’ assaults and have rolled out new weapons for the first time since the uprising began last month. Among them are rebel tanks that have taken up positions on the front lines in recent days. Rebels also launched fighter-jet attacks on government positions on Wednesday for the first time so far.” [/blockquote]
    [blockquote] “The tanks and fighter jets are believed to have been among the weapons seized by rebels from defected units of the Libyan army in the eastern half of the country, but they have received spare parts or trained mechanics from outside the country to help them deploy them, some rebel officials have speculated.” [/blockquote]
    Western nations would be more amenable to this. Supplying spare parts for a tank or jet fighter has negligible potential to find later use by terrorists. Whereas providing the rebels with sophisticated hand-held surface-to-air missiles is unthinkable – if just one was passed on to terrorist groups it could have terrible consequences.