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To that latter point, the report cites hundreds of thousands of migrant workers from sub-Saharan Africa having been labeled as “mercenaries” by rebel forces “by virtue of their skin color, and subjected to imprisonment, torture and summary execution.”
None of these activities have yet sparked a direct conflict among all of Libya’s various factions. However, the fuel to sustain such a conflict can be found in the stash of armaments from abandoned ammunition dumps scattered across Libya; depots that have been looted of tons of weapons capable of stocking a sectarian insurgency for years.
For the State Department’s part, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently said the United States would provide $40 million to support efforts by the NTC to secure and destroy stockpiles of these weapons as well as efforts to destroy Libya’s chemical weapon stocks.
Those chemical weapon stocks include approximately 11 tons of deadly mustard gas, 1,000 tons of uranium powder, as well as large quantities of radioisotopes and radioactive waste, elements which according a former UN weapons inspector “could be used as ingredients for dirty bombs.”
Some of that chemical material included 2,000 artillery shells carrying mustard gas and 1,200 nerve gas shells reportedly sold for several million dollars to both Hamas and Hezbollah by Libyan rebels after they seized control of the eastern city of Benghazi and its weapons arsenal in March 2011.
If truth be told, the US effort to secure Libyan weapons is a case of locking the barn door after the fire. Since as early as April 2011, the United States has acknowledged that nearly 20,000 shoulder-fired missile launchers (MANPADS) were missing from Gadhafi’s armories. The MANPADS, which are portable and easy to use, make an ideal terrorist weapon, especially when targeted against a civilian airliner.
In fact, from early on in the Libyan uprising, the emptying of the Gadhafi regime’s arsenals has caused the proliferation of conventional and chemical weapons to Islamist and al-Qaeda-linked terrorists groups throughout the region, a process that threatens to unleash a new wave of terror.
For example, weapons from Libya continue to make their way into the Sinai Peninsula, probably destine for smuggling tunnels to the Gaza Strip. These weapons include explosives, automatic weapons, shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft guns.
The flow of arms has also made its way across the African Sahel, further destabilizing a region where al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists are already active. The prime recipient of these weapons is Al-Qaeda in the African Maghreb (AQIM), a terrorist group that has already formed operational partnerships with Nigeria’s Boko Haram and Somalia’s al Shabab.
As such, thousands of MANPADS, as well as assault rifles, machine guns, and rocket-propelled grenades have made their way into Sudan’s war-stricken Darfur region, Chad, Mali, Niger, Algeria Mauritania, Somalia and Yemen. According to one African diplomat, “The fallout from these stockpiles could last for years in Africa.”
Sadly, the result of Obama’s Libyan regime change has served to unleash a Pandora’s Box of trouble that will have terrible and far-reaching consequences. Those consequences were best expressed by Mahmud Jibril who only a few days ago announced his imminent resignation as Libya’s interim Prime Minister.
Jabril confessed to a group of reporters, “The political struggle requires finances, organization, arms and ideologies, and I am afraid I don’t have any of this.” Instead, without any successor named to fill his role, Jabril simply warned, “We have moved into a political struggle with no boundaries.”
Unfortunately, the boundaries of that struggle extend far beyond Libya’s borders.
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