~ British, French, Jordanian and Qatari Special Operations forces Tuesday, Aug. 23, spearheaded the rebel "killer strike" on Muammar Qaddafi's regime and Tripoli fortress at Bab al-Azaziya, Tripoli. This was the first time Western and Arab ground troops had fought together on the same battlefield in any of the Arab revolts of the last nine months and the first time Arab soldiers took part in a NATO operation ~.
DEBKA also added:
~ Our military sources report that the British deployed SAS commandoes and France, 2nd REP (Groupe des commando parachutistes), which is similar to the US Navy DELTA unit, as well as DINOP commandos. Fighting too were Jordan's Royal Special Forces, specialists in urban combat and capturing fortified installations like the Qaddafi compound in Tripoli, and the Qatari Special Forces, which were transferred from Benghazi where they guarded rebel Transitional National Council leaders.
According to our military experts, even after getting through into the compound, this combined force faced four obstacles to before reaching its military heart which is largely underground:
1. Because it is too small to carry the two tasks of breaking into the heart of the Bab al-Azaziya complex which covers some 6 square kilometers and at the same time overwhelm Qaddafi's 12th Tank Division also underground, this force needed to be backed by larger trained contingents armed with anti-tank weapons, which would advance into the labyrinth under close air cover from assault helicopters.
Britain and France transferred Apaches to Libya two months ago but never used them in Tripoli where they would be vulnerable to Qaddafi's anti-air missiles.
2. The main body of the rebels to the rear of the combined foreign force was nowhere near being a unified military force.
The rebels who took part in the first major push into Tripoli Sunday, Aug. 21, turned out to be mostly Berber tribal fighters from the Nafusa Mountains in the West, divided into small groups of no more than 100, each representing a different village. They have never trained together or acquired experience in urban warfare. NATO imported better-trained fighters by sea from Benghazi and Misrata.
3. The great black clouds seen over the compound and caused by NATO jet bombardments and anti-tank fire may look menacing but they are not evidence of heavy fighting in or around the compound. And indeed it was soon over. As the rebel forces burst in, there was no sign of Qaddafi himself or his family and commanders. They were presumed to have fled.
4. NATO was short of specific intelligence about the military nucleus of Bab al-Aziziya. Most of its key facilities are underground and proof against bombardment.
Western alliance warplanes pummelled the compound month after month from March 19. They flattened the surface residential buildings and command centers, but their ordnance never reached the buried facilities. Our military sources say these chambers are interconnected by a network of corridors, some broad enough to accommodate tanks. The network branches out to the sea and locations outside Tripoli.
It also appears that Egypt was involved in helping Libyan rebels with training offered by US and Egyptian special forces in eastern Libya and arms delivery.
Those informations raise several questions, about Egypt’s private involvement and what the arms embargo was meaning...
Indeed, Al Jazeera correspondent Laurence Lee, reporting from the rebel-stronghold of Benghazi, referred to "a shipment of Katyusha rockets... sent into eastern Libya from Egypt. [His source] didn’t say they were sourced from Egypt, but that was their route through”.
“He said these were state-of-the-art, heat-seeking rockets and that they needed to be trained on how to use them, which was one of the things the American and Egyptian special forces were there to do.”