THE

Libya: Hundreds of missiles go missing from regime’s abandoned arms dumps

In World News on September 9, 2011 at 6:52 pm

By Kim Sengupta

The long metal crates strewn on the grounds of the warehouse were empty. Hundreds of surface-to-air missiles, craved by terrorist groups and “rogue states”, had disappeared in the past few days, looted from one of Libya’s overflowing arms dumps.

Among the missiles taken away were 480 Russian-built SA-24s, designed for use against modern warplanes, which the US had been attempting to block from falling into Iranian hands, and the older SA-7s and 9s, capable of bringing down commercial airliners, which al-Qa’ida has been striving to obtain.

As Libya’s bloody civil war reaches its conclusion, myriad bunkers and barracks containing the regime’s weaponry, from Kalashnikovs to missiles, armoured cars and tanks, have been left unguarded, many to be stripped bare by militia fighters and the public.

The numbers involved are far larger than the caches that armed the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. And in Libya there are even fewer guards at these sites. Unlike those two fronts of the “war on terror”, there are no foreign troops present in Libya, and the opposition forming the new government has its resources tied up attempting to subdue the remaining loyalist strongholds and repairing infrastructure to safeguard the arsenals.

The ransacking of the depots containing missiles has set alarms ringing among security agencies in America and Europe. The SA-24 “Grinch” surface-to-air missile targets fighter-bombers, helicopter gunships such as Apaches, and even Cruise missiles, and can strike at as high as 11,000ft. Washington had lobbied the Russians to block sales to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and to Tehran. The SA-7s and 9s are older but can destroy civilian jets or be used against military targets such as the drones increasingly employed by the US. Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director for Human Rights Watch, charting the arms depots, said: “The problem is pretty huge. There are…

Full article…

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: