British SAS elite special forces have been passing on its combat expertise to Colonel Ghaddafi’s soldiers for the last six months.
The SAS has been ordered by the Government to train Libyan special forces despite the country having armed the IRA. The move, another sign of the growing relationship between the UK and the oil-rich country, has appalled military veterans who recall how Libya supplied the Provisional IRA with guns and explosives to kill British soldiers. Though the Ministry of Defence refused to comment, the Foreign Office confirmed last night: ‘We have got an ongoing co-operation with Libya in the field of defence.’
The spokesman denied there was any connection with the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi from a Scottish
prison on compassionate grounds last month. However, the deal was only finalised and officially approved by Gordon Brown earlier this year. It is believed that a team of between four and 14 men is training the Libyans in counter-terrorism techniques, including covert surveillance.
The agreement is bound to devastate families of the Lockerbie victims and further damage relations with America. U.S. President Barack Obama told Mr Brown earlier this week of his ‘ disappointment over Megrahi’s release. Senior Army officers have called it ‘morally wrong’ that they have to train troops in a country which once armed the terrorists they were fighting.
A Special Air Service source told The Daily Telegraph: ‘A small SAS training team have been doing it for the last six months as part of this cosy deal with the Libyans. ‘From our perspective we cannot see it as part of anything else other than the Megrahi deal.’ Another soldier added: ‘The IRA was our greatest adversary, now we are training their backers. There was a weary rolling of the eyes when we were told about this.’
Robin Horsfall, a former SAS soldier who took part in the Iranian Embassy siege in 1980 and served in counter-terrorism operations in Northern Ireland, said: ‘There is a long list of British soldiers who have died because of Gaddafi funding terrorists. The SAS is being ordered to do something it knows is morally wrong.’
The new warmth between the two countries is expected to earn many millions for UK commercial
interests. But earlier this week, Libya again refused to pay compensation to the families of people killed by the IRA. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the Libyan leader, said: ‘Anyone can knock at our door and ask for money, but we go to the courts.’
The Prime Minister has promised to support the compensation claims of victims’ families, who say Libya supplied explosives used in IRA atrocities and is liable for the people they killed. UK DAILY MAIL
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