Retired special ops helping NATO identify targets in Libya

MISURATA, LIBYA - APRIL 20:  Rebel fighters fi...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Former SAS soldiers and other western employees of private security companies are helping Nato identify targets in the Libyan port city of Misrata, the scene of heavy fighting between Gaddafi's forces and rebels, well-placed sources have told the Guardian.

Special forces veterans are passing details of the locations and movements of Muammar Gaddafi's forces to the Naples headquarters of Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, Canadian commander of Nato forces, the sources said.

The targets are then verified by spy planes and US Predator drones. "One piece of human intelligence is not enough," a source said.

The former soldiers are there with the blessing of Britain, France and other Nato countries, which have supplied them with communications equipment. They are likely to be providing information for the pilots of British and French attack helicopters, who are expected to start firing at targets in and around Misrata this week.

Four Apache helicopters are on board HMS Ocean, which is approaching Libyan waters. Twelve French Tiger helicopters are on board the amphibious assault ship Tonnerre, which is understood to be already within striking distance of the Libyan coast. The French defence minister, Gerard Longuet, has refused to say exactly when they would be deployed, but added: "In any case, very rapidly."

That explains the photos of western fighters in recent days. I do not have a problem with contracting with these guys to get the targeting information needed to speed a conclusion of the war in Libya. It is too bad we do not have anyone in Tripoli to catch Qaddafi's movements.
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