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Special Operations: Egypt Quietly Invades Libya
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March 6, 2011: The rebellion against the Kadaffi dictatorship in Libya has not produced any official outside help, but Egypt has apparently sent some of its commandos in to help out the largely amateur rebel force. Wearing civilian clothes, the hundred or so Egyptian commandos are officially not there, but are providing crucial skills and experience to help the rebels cope with the largely irregular, and mercenary, force still controlled by the Kadaffi clan. There are also some commandos from Britain (SAS) and American (Special Forces) operators are also believed wandering around, mainly to escort diplomats or perform reconnaissance (and find out who is in charge among the rebels).

The Egyptian commandos come from Unit 777, a force that was established in the late 1970s, but underwent some ups and downs in the next two decades before achieving its current form. Today, the 250-300 -man Unit 777 is a significantly improved force. They fall under the command of the Army Commando Command, both of whom are based in Cairo. Unit 777 trains with the help of the German GSG-9, French GIGN, and American Delta Force commandos. All Unit 777 members are qualified in static-line (low altitude) airborne operations, and possibly with HALO (high altitude jumps) as well. The primary operations of Unit 777 involve the suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic radical groups. There have been rumors that Unit 777 has conducted cross-border operations, although this cannot be confirmed. If not, this foray into Libya would be the first one. The foreign commandos who have worked with Unit 777 all agree that the Egyptians have become quite competent, especially when it comes to counter-terror operations.

Any Egyptian involvement in Libya has to be handled very carefully. While the two countries fought a three day war in 1977, the real cause of tension is the fact that for thousands of years, most of Libya was considered part of Egypt. Given the fact that Libya has all that oil, and less than a tenth of the population of Egypt, well, then, you can figure out the rest. But for the moment, everyone is a revolutionary brother. At least for as long as the moment lasts, then history takes over.

 

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