Rumors of Syrian rebels being armed through weapons coming from and transiting through Libya abound. Rumors I cited earlier suggest that the Benghazi consulate (which some suggest is a CIA base, not a consulate) attack had to do with several hundred surface to air missiles that were being secured. Today the BBC lends support to these rumors:
Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has called on Western powers to help stop the spread of militancy in his country.
In an interview with BBC Newsnight he said Libya was being used as a base to export weapons throughout the region…
Speaking to BBC Newsnight before the capture of Mr Liby, Mr Zeidan said that the huge proliferation of weapons in Libya poses a serious security threat.Continue reading the main story“Weapons are being smuggled out of and into Libya by groups which are trying to murder and assassinate people, and spread terror in the country,” he said.
“You see every day the militants fight each other, the issue is that the arms are available for the Libyan citizens, they are available for the young people, it is available at homes and in stores everywhere.”
Proliferation is not just a concern for Libya but for its neighbours too.
Western intelligence agencies believe Libya now has the largest unsecured stockpile of weapons in the world, with millions of tons of arms unaccounted for since the 2011 revolution that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.
They include 3,000-8,000 so-called Manpads – Man Portable Air Defence Systems – portable missile systems which are a threat to all types of aircraft, including civilian passenger planes.
These surface-to-air missiles, which are easy to use and easy to hide, are the weapon of choice for groups like al-Qaeda, say security experts.