In addition to dispatching military experts with Italy and Britain, France has pledged to increase airstrikes as Europe steps up military operations in Libya.
A day after Britain announced it would send military experts to Libya to train rebels, France and Italy have made similar statements that together show a growing frustration in Europe with a stalemate in the Libyan conflict.
By sending advisers who will establish a direct link with the rebels, London, Paris, and Rome appear to be testing the limits of UN Resolution 1973, which authorizes member states to take all necessary measures short of a foreign occupation to protect civilians under attack in Libya.
“There is a real risk of mission creep," says Alessandro Marrone, researcher at the Institute of International Affairs (IAI) in Rome. “I don’t think anyone in France or Italy is concerned about a ground invasion of Libya – that has been explicitly ruled out. But if military advisers on the ground help the Libyan rebels or even help coordinate NATO airstrikes, that’s changing the role of the mission.”