After toppling its own longtime leader, Egypt has reportedly sent special forces troops to neighboring Libya to aid rebels trying to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi. The elite Egyptian commandoes are providing training and arms but not engaging in battle, according to global security consultants Stratfor. Meanwhile, a high-ranking Libyan envoy visited Cairo this week with a secret message for Egypt's ruling council — reportedly a request for military aid. Just whose side is Egypt on?
Egypt is backing the rebels: "Egypt is finally showing a little love to its fellow rebels-in-arms" in Libya, says Lawrence Dabney in The Faster Times. "It’s about damn time." The U.S. and Europe are "wringing hands" over whether to intervene, but a Western invasion of yet another Muslim country raises all sorts of problems. However, "no-one will bat an eye if Egypt steps in, even if that means tank brigades plowing down the streets of Tripoli."
"Egypt's special forces show Libyan rebels the love"
The Egyptians may have to help Gadhafi: About a million Egyptians live and work in Libya, says Egypt-based Al-Masry Al-Youm, and Gadhafi isn't afraid to use them as pawns. In what some say amounts to "blackmail," Gadhafi envoy Maj. Gen. Abdul Rahman al-Zawi is demanding that Egypt's ruling council send military aid, including weapons and heavy equipment, or it will expel hundreds of thousands of workers... or worse.
"Libya seeks Egyptian military assistance against rebels"
Egyptians' loyalties are divided: "Egyptian attitudes on Gadhafi are complicated," says Eric Trager in The New Republic. The Egyptian protesters who toppled Hosni Mubarak are "disgusted" with Gadhafi's brutal crackdown, but they strongly oppose Western intervention. And because of "strong Arab nationalist feelings" and an aversion to killing fellow Muslims, Egyptians seem torn over whether they have any right to help save "newly empowered democrats" in Libya.