French and Italian Boots on Ground

by Matthew Shaffer

France and Italy are following in Britain’s footsteps by sending officers into Libya in — they claim — and advisory capacity. Others see this as clear evidence of mission creep

The French and Italian governments said Wednesday that they would join Britain in sending a small number of military liaison officers to support the ragtag rebel army in Libya, offering a diplomatic boost for the insurgent leader, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, as he met with President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris.


After the meeting, The Associated Press reported, Mr. Sarkozy pledged to intensify French airstrikes that started in March.

The announcements came as the international community searched for a means to break a bloody battlefield deadlock that has killed hundreds in the contested cities of Misurata and Ajdabiya and left the rebels in tenuous control of a few major coastal cities in their campaign against Col.Muammar el-Qaddafi.

Mideast Watch

Tracking events in the Arab World.