Israeli spook firm recruiting mercenaries for Qaddafi?

Persistent rumors that private Israeli security companies are recruiting mercenaries for embattled Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi were given new credence by a May 2 report on the Zurich-based International Relations and Security Network (ISN) website. Although the report itself cites unnamed "reports," it for the first time names a particular Israeli firm which is said to have been contracted by the afflicted Tripoli regime:

A number of captured mercenaries have admitted that they were given orders from Gaddafi's regime to attack demonstrators. Additional reports have suggested that the Israeli arms distribution company Global CST acted as a mercenary recruitment intermediary, offering to provide Gaddafi with 50,000 recruits from Africa. While Gaddafi paid them an average of $2,000 per mercenary per day, Global CST allegedly pays its recruits $100 per day, creating a substantial profit for the company. Despite mounting evidence , the exact numbers and nationalities of the foreign fighters arriving in Libya remain unclear.

The ISN report links for the claim "offering to provide Gaddafi" to a page on the Eurasia Review website, which we ourselves also linked to when it first appeared back in March. But now (presumably since the ISN story went online) the link appears to have gone dead. Fortunately, Eurasia Review had merely lifted a March 1 story from the Palestinian independent Maan News Agency, where it remains online under the title "Report: Israel company recruiting Gadhafi mercenaries." However, the Maan account—which in turn cites the Hebrew-language news site Inyan Merkazi—does not actually mention the firm by name, saying only that it is "run by retired Israeli army commanders." It is ISN—without giving a source for the information—that names the Israeli firm as Global CST. Led by Maj. Gen. Israel Ziv, the former head of operations for the Israeli military, Global CST recently made headlines when WikiLeaks revealed its numerous intrigues in Latin America.

Global CST, significantly, has also been up to its keister in West Africa. The May 9 McClatchy Newspapers story that broke the firm's Latin America shenanigans also noted:

It wasn't just in Latin America where Ziv and his company pledged quick fix-its for acute security problems. The company, based in a city east of Tel Aviv, would also work in Togo, Guinea, Gabon and Nigeria, as well as in Eastern Europe. Last year, the Israeli government fined Global CST for negotiating to sell weapons and military training to Guinea's military junta.

Meanwhile, the ISN account states:

At the same time as Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's bloody crackdown against his own people was grabbing international headlines in February, newspapers in Guinea, Nigeria and Ghana were publishing advertisements placed by the Libyan regime that offered would-be mercenaries up to $2,500 per day to help suppress the uprising. Reports suggest that up to 6,000 foreign fighters traveled to Libya from Sudan, Mali, Chad, Niger, Liberia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, including the 2,500-strong Islamic Pan African Brigade that Gaddafi had trained and supplied with arms over the years.

Interesting, eh?

We have long noted sinister Israeli intelligence intrigues in West Africa. We also recently noted a political logic to Israel paradoxically seeking to keep Arab dictators in power, preferring the devil it knows to revolutionary regimes that might more aggressively (or honestly) make common cause with the Palestinians...

See our last posts on Libya and the regional revolutions.

Please leave a tip or answer the Exit Poll.

Qaddafi and Cast Lead: telling irony

Note that Qaddafi, in justifying his brutal assault on his own people, actually invoked Israel's Operation Cast Lead, stating: "[E]ven the Israelis in Gaza, when they moved into the Gaza Strip, they moved in with tanks to fight such extremists. It's the same thing here!" Meanwhile Bibi Netanyahu, in defending Operation Cast Lead from the charges of war crimes in the Goldstone Report, gloated: "The biggest absurdity is that the United Nations Human Rights Council initiated the report, and one of its members was Qaddafi's Libya. Therefore we must toss this report into the trash can of history."

Another one to file under "Life's little ironies."