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NATO Troops Already in Libya?

by John Reed on March 3, 2011

Here’s something interesting. Early in the week we heard Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying a no-fly zone over Libya was being actively considered. Her comments were followed by CNO Adm. Gary Roughead said the Navy is ready to help enforce a no-fly zone should the order be given. Then yesterday, numerous reports came out saying the White House is trying to downplay the potential of a military intervention in Libya. Defense Secretary Robert Gates even warned against “loose talk” on the matter.

While he urged caution, Gates said all options are still on the table. Now, Janes is reporting that a NATO team might be in Libya investigating the feasibility of setting up a no-fly zone:

A NATO team mostly comprising US personnel has been deployed to eastern Libya to determine whether a no-fly zone could be imposed in response to the crackdown by Colonel Moammar Ghadaffi against reform-minded protestors, Jane’s understands from international sources.

Experts in airlift and command-and-control operations based at NATO headquarters in Brussels were dispatched on 27 February, to search for possible radar sites to aid the enforcement of any possible no-fly zone over Libyan airspace and to liaise with officers from Libyan military units that have abandoned the 41-year-old regime, the source told Jane’s on 28 February.

The Pentagon, however, denies that any U.S. forces are on the ground and a Libyan opposition source says he’s seen no western troops, according to the article.

One Libyan opposition supporter told Jane’s on 28 February that he had yet to see any Western military officials in Benghazi: the eastern city that has become the epicentre of the rebellion.

Pentagon spokesman David Lapan told Jane’s on 1 March that “no US forces had deployed to Libya”.

There could very well be a team or teams of special ops folks on the ground doing everything from quietly training the opposition to collecting all sorts of intel. If so, I promise you they’re keeping extremely low profiles, for now.

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Citizenme March 3, 2011 at 9:56 am


Another Kosovo…..


Dave Barnes March 3, 2011 at 10:12 am

The Colonel's boys are holding 3 Dutch marines. Isn't Holland part of NATO?


STemplar March 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Spies on the ground in a country we might become involved in militarily. Pretty much how every conflict has ever worked isn't it?


John Deere March 3, 2011 at 1:46 pm

The Western Desert is perfect for special operations. It's where the Long Range Desert Group cut its teeth and the SAS had its inglorious inauguration; there's sufficient resources, thus money, at stake to ensure Western interests are "protected".

Why bother a no fly zone when Gaddafi has no planes… or, will soon have no planes. I expect the Lybian opposition will miraculously become master of deep strike operations and will destroy the Gaddafi airforce on the ground. Thanks to David Stirling.


Ranger Rick March 3, 2011 at 5:11 pm

American sources have disclosed that the British SAS is likely to be called upon to secure up to 10 tons of mustard gas and sarin that is believed to be stockpiled at three separate locations.

British Special Forces are thought to have been in Libya for about 10 days and have ALREADY played a leading role in rescuing hundreds of oil workers. Not only is the US concerned about the potential use of chemical weapons by Gaddafi against his own people, but also the prospect that they could fall into the hands of Islamic extremists who would use them against the US and UK.


blight March 3, 2011 at 9:08 pm

If there was a NBC weapon issue I imagine a few TLAMs would solve the problem. It worked for that Sudanese pharmaceutical company…


rluscomb March 3, 2011 at 5:15 pm

We dont even want our own oil, why would we want theirs?


Byron Skinner March 3, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Good Afternoon Folks,

This is a topic that shouldn’t be posted at this time. If it is correct, and I have doubts it is, it involves current operations. If it is incorrect which is most likely, then it could comprise options that may be being considered by the Armed Forces of the United States.

This is the kind of irresponsible journalism that cost lives of American military. This story should be pulled.

Byron Skinner


mike j March 3, 2011 at 5:37 pm


Don't you s'pose Qaddafi already knows we don't like him and are actively pushing for his removal? How is one little non-specific, speculative article on a blog which quotes most of its material from another blog going to cause a busted mission for our troops?


blight March 3, 2011 at 7:00 pm

He's already captured Dutch marines, so he's free to assume the worst case scenario.


Oblat March 4, 2011 at 9:09 am

I believe Byron is negotiating directly with Qaddafi as we speak.


@Cr4shDummy March 4, 2011 at 11:49 am


I think there is credence to this story. If we're going to enforce a no-fly zone, it would make sense to have guys on the ground with SOFLAMs. And if it is true, we won't hear about aside from rumors.


txkboy March 3, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Look at the 1970 NATO Resolution. It says it all. NATO went South when they didn’t impose a “no fly” zone after the 1981 Gulf of Sidra incident.


jamesb101 March 3, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Obama and Gates aren't too happy with getting into this…


jamesb101 March 3, 2011 at 8:56 pm

but with Special Ops people doing advance work….and combat air controller's probbaly checking the angles….

The CIC has options….


roland March 4, 2011 at 12:00 am

By the looks of it, Libyan opposition may probably figure it out somehow before or after Libyan pro government pilots flight.


SOF Bubba March 4, 2011 at 12:27 am

They should bring a team to exfil Raymond Davis in Pakistan.


galloglas March 4, 2011 at 9:14 am

Counting the Dutch Marines and their helicopter?


Oblat March 4, 2011 at 9:16 am

The message to all the other US backed dictatorships is loud and clear, we will turn on you as soon as you look weak. Saddam, Mubarak and Qaddafi all bought into the nuclear non-proliferation rehtoric and are paying the price.


Gregory Savage March 4, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Man shut up and stay out. Go to your own country and rant.


I Cohen March 4, 2011 at 9:53 am

All this to get at some oil wells? Memories of the Kurds psyched up to rise up against Saddam Hussein and then left "twisting in the wind" by the West.


Lance March 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm

The spec ops are there to probably to get relations going with rebel leaders and to supply arms to anti Libyan forces.


Planodude March 4, 2011 at 4:47 pm

My feelings are mixed here. First off, I'm very releived that BO is showing some Reagan-like guts, and he is assuring that that SOB murderer, Gadhafi, gets what he should have gotten years ago,after he blew up the Lockerbie, Scotland Pan Am 747. Indisputably, now is the time for actively, militarily, weighing in to assure Gadhafi's defeat. Hesitation and vascillation for any reason will only lead to American regrets, later on. Secondly, we should not be reading about any American milirary involvement… at this moment. One would hope no American journalists are stupid enough to publically divulge this present classified activity.


bkny22 March 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm

WE NEED TO STAY HOME Most of their oil goes to England and other parts of Europe . The burden should theirs for their oil SEMPER FI


Belesari March 5, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Yes but the militaries of Europe have been hobbled by decades of having the US to depend upon for offensive firepower and logistics. The euro's would have problems mounting a expedition into libya even if they didnt have a single troop in astan or iraq.

The no fly Zone in lybia would basicly take the mogority of there militaries not involved in other duties. Hundreds of aircraft flying many sorties everyday. tens of thousands people.

So they wont do it they dont have the money to spend. So we get to deal with the economic and political instabilities even if they dont really impact us directly.


anthony March 8, 2011 at 9:44 am

Them oil fields are most important to guard so of course their are humans guarding them,Kadaffi wants to blow them up until the rebels get relieved they will keep protecting them,and believ me they are guarded.Lets all hope this ends soon!!


anthony March 8, 2011 at 9:47 am

Yes Holland is part of Nato and they also have their marines ready for green light,meanwhile The crew of the chopper are being treated well,as said by authorities..


Agni Subba September 19, 2012 at 5:05 am

this is great


mike j March 3, 2011 at 10:42 am

…bunch of flapdoodle.

If our governments were that smart, would we be in the position we're in? …Or maybe, that's just what they WANT us to think, right?

Turn off the teevee and take the dog for a walk, you'll be happier.


blight March 3, 2011 at 10:47 am

Most Libyan oil is already programmed for our European allies. Stabilizing Libya is more about eliminating hysteria-based fluctuations in price, leading to lower prices at home. Our supplies are local, they just cost more due to S&D fluctuations affecting their price.


tomatojuice March 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm
J Weich March 4, 2011 at 2:17 am

Too right. The Russians say they are monitoring it closely from space and that there have been no air strikes against civilians. That’s the reason Russia and China vetoed any attempt to launch a UN no fly zone.

Note that much more media and political attention is being paid to Libya than was Tunisia.

Oil production:
Tunisia 86,000 barrels a day
Libya 2,000,000 barrels a day
There is your answer. The US government doesn’t give a flying fig about the Libyan people. It’s oil they care about.


tpkt March 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm

IF THAT WAS TRUE *cough*moron*… So what, that actually sounds like a good idea! Go America/the west.
"I'm an American, not a humanitarian"


Paragon March 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Actually we were quite happily exploiting Libyan natural resources through legitimate involvement of our resource companies and this crisis has disrupted things – who knows if a new government will honour existing contracts / licenses? So your conspiracy theories are absolute nonsense. Unless your post was meant to be sarcastic, in which case I apologise…


Will March 3, 2011 at 11:17 am

Off on a tangent here, but you're right, people don't seem to appreciate that the price of oil is set on the global commodities market.
The NATO team might be intel people rather than service members, which would make Janes & the Pentagon both right.


zap March 3, 2011 at 11:43 am

Its called the Petrodollar – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petrodollar_warfare – Libya sells its oil and natural resources in Swiss francs .
don’t under estimate how important it is to the US that global oil is sold in US dollars , it doesn’t matter so much where the oil ends up but for every barrel of oil they print $100 or more , how many hundreds of billions of $ a year is that ?
people here think the US has economic problem at the moment and a imbalance with China , well take away the petrodollar and they are screwed .
google it


blight March 3, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Forgot about the importance of denomination conversion.

Oil traded in dollars -> demand for dollars created -> creates a scarcity of dollars, offsets American loans for dollars. The alternative interpretation is that petrodollars keeps the world supply of dollars high, so that they exist for us to borrow back for ourselves. Doesn't do much about the absolute value of the deficit, but probably prevents thousand percent inflation.


blight March 3, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Oh, what would Gaddafi do to his people with a nuke…?

Guess we should wargame this one out before it happens in Pakistan too.


STemplar March 3, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I think it's solely what drives nations to try and obtain nukes. Which only reinforces why there needs to be tighter controls on the tech, as well as, less dithering with ending issues. Case in point Iran and the Norks. We've been 'talking' since 2003 and nothing has been accomplished. It's going on 8 years this fall and his highness hope n change was the one that said we wouldn't talk endlessly, but apparently 8 years is ok.


blight March 4, 2011 at 6:04 pm

To be fair, dictatorships don't need nukes to stay in power. They just need to seem unimportant to the United States (eg Myanmar) and ensure no internal revolts occur. However, if you are North Korea or Iran, you need measures to assure that you won't be invaded…such as the ability to deploy surface to surface missiles of a variety of ranges, and then work on a nuclear weapons program (or pretend you are). The fact that Iran and DPRK have IRBM capability should be what gives people pause, not just nukes. If Iran or the DPRK have a biological weapons program, it would certainly compete with a nuclear weapon when it comes to sheer death count when dropped in the right place.


J Weich March 4, 2011 at 2:21 am

The US hasn’t got many oil contracts (although it has got some) in Iraq, because Iraqis understand that the US destroyed their country. China reaps the benefits from American blunders yet again.


blight March 4, 2011 at 5:59 pm

With Saddam out of the way, the production quotas are allowed to exceed those of the Oil For Food program. It also brings more production out of the black market.

Ideally in the long run, bringing Iraq back into OPEC means apparent oil supplies have increased.

It may not have been about oil coming to American shores, but it was certainly intended to help the oil markets. And alternatively, American multinational corporations working overseas might see some increased economic activity after the Iraq War.


STemplar March 4, 2011 at 4:50 am

Tunisia was over pretty quick and there was no where near the level of violence by the govt against the protesters. Egypt had a ton of coverage and there was a great deal of rival camp violence on each other. Libya is using tacair to bomb civilians. It's completely logical that there would be more coverage and political attention paid to Libya. Oil is important, period. People get all riled up but we don't correspond on the internet without petroleum. We don't do much of anything in modern society without it. So it is important that governments try to maintain stability in the places where it is produced.


blight March 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Tracking airstrikes from space is a pretty specious claim for the Russians to make if true…


blight March 4, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Cyrenaica. Close enough, this isn't a spelling bee.


Belesari March 5, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Accually we dont have many contracts because the American companies have many concerns about terrorism and the social and political stability of the country.

American companies tend to go for stable places.

They are getting shit loads of training and weapos from the US so yea its not "Iraqis understand that the US destroyed their country" but because of other reason you probably never thought about.

Sadam and the jihadies destroyed their country we have tried to rebuild it. Guess who is trying to stop that………


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