U.N. resolution 1973 authorizes action to create a no-fly zone in Libya. It does not authorize the use of foreign troops on the ground.
President Obama seemed to accept that limitation when he made his famous "no U.S. boots on the ground" declaration -- a statement that has been repeated by every U.S. spokesman since.
Since Obama's declaration however, we have learned that, in fact, for several weeks CIA operatives have been active in Libya, supposedly to find targets for the missile and rocket attacks of the U.S. and its allies, as well as to get some idea of who the opposition is that Obama and Sarkozy et al have chosen to support.
The joke was those CIA types are not wearing boots, but sneakers.
O.K. but now we learn, via Al Jazeera English, that there is a secret training site in Eastern Libya where U.S. and Egyptian Special Forces are giving basic weapons training to selected rebels. Those rebels are also now receiving more sophisticated weapons.
You can be sure those U.S. advisers are wearing boots.
That report was long expected. For when the secret history of this current struggle is written (there are already several books in the works), we will almost certainly learn that, despite Obama's public protestations, he was advised prior to launching his Libyan adventure that U.S. "advisors" would more than likely also be needed.
Revelations will probably also make it clear that President Obama was also advised that those U.S. advisors could not just be limited to instructing the rebels how to fire their weapons, but would also have to train them, give them basic military skills. And it probably wouldn't stop there.
Those advisors are likely also -- behind the scenes -- already filling key command roles: advising the rebels when and how to advance -- either directly or in liaison with special forces from other countries with boots on the ground in Libya -- everyone doing their best to maintain the fiction that those "advisors" aren't there. And that the rebels are calling their own shots.
For those American spooks and troops are not alone
According to other reports, special "Smash Squads" from Britain's famed SAS have also been on the ground in Libya for several weeks now pursuing similar missions.
Perhaps they're the same SAS teams who Britain supposedly dispatched to train Gadaffi's Special Forces a year or so back -- part of the warming of relations between the two countries.
And considering the determination of France's President Sarkozy to push for the original attacks, reports that elite French troops are also on the ground in Libya are almost certainly true as well.
The above would mesh with an unconfirmed report from a Pakistani newspaper claiming that:
"According to an exclusive report confirmed by a Libyan diplomat in the region "the three Western states have landed their special forces troops in Cyrinacia and are now setting up their bases and training centres" to reinforce the rebel forces who are resisting pro-Qaddafi forces in several adjoining areas.
A Libyan official who requested not to be identified said that the U.S. and British military gurus were sent on February 23 and 24 night through American and French warships and small naval boats off Libyan ports of Benghazi and Tobruk."
Which brings us to the declaration of an American military official briefing the press. When he was asked, whether the coalition forces communicate with the rebels in Libya, he said, no. "Regarding coordination with rebel forces, nothing. Our mission is to protect civilians," said the official.
"It's not about the rebels, this is about protection of civilians," he added.
This post originally appeared at TruthDig.