France, Others Vow More Help to Libyan Rebels

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France said Wednesday it will bomb more targets in Libya to help rebels fight the forces of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

The two sides are stalemated in the Libyan desert, and rebels can't win without more help.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy promised more air support after he met with Libyan opposition leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil. France will also commit a handful of military advisors, but no soldiers to dislodge Gadhafi's army on the ground.

Amateur video recently showed rebels under mortar and gunfire from Gadhafi loyalists in the city of Misrata. Neither side has gained much ground in recent weeks.

A look at a weapons plant in the rebel stronghold of Bengazi revealed why they're asking for help -- low-grade weapons with improvised parts.

Italian and British leaders met Wednesday to see what they could do. Italy will send 10 military advisors to help train the rebels. But Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa made it clear there would be no ground forces.

"They (the rebels) do not hope for a land intervention. they do not want the other islamic countries to accuse them of having allowed crusaders or whomever on their territory," he said.

Britain will commit 20 military advisors, but not without a jab at other European nations who aren't helping the rebels cause.

"It is greatly to be regretted that some of those who should be shoulder to shoulder with us have been absent at this time," British Defense Secretary of State Liam Fox said.

The United States will also give $25 million in "non-lethal" aid such as vehicles and medical and communications equipment to protect civilians in rebel-held areas.

But as refugees flee the fighting for possible havens in Europe, the outcome in Libya seems less certain and the mission more cloudy than ever.

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John Waage

John Waage

CBN News Sr. Editor

John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.