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THE LIBYAN REGIONAL NIGHTMARE

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Just few days after Chad’s president Idriss Deby Itno said, on Friday 03/25/2011 that MAGHREB al-Qaeda ( AQIM ) has snatched surface-to-air missiles from an arsenal in Libya during the civil strife there (see – AQ Interest), the American NATO Commander USA Admiral James Stavridis said, on Tuesday 03/29/2011, before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington: “We have seen flickers in the intelligence of potential Al Qaeda, Hizbullah. We’ve seen different things… at this point, I don’t have detail sufficient to say that there’s a significant Al Qaeda presence or any other terrorist presence in and among the Libyan rebels” the Admiral said. Libya may need a foreign stabilization force if rebels supported by international airstrikes succeed in ousting the country’s leader he added. Admiral Stavridis said there has been no discussion at NATO of sending ground forces to stabilize Libya, but he believes it may be necessary.

It seems NATO allies began to understand the Libyan crisis is sliding to a long term military commitment and intervention in an Arab Muslim country without knowing who your allies are, as Admiral Stavridis himself admitted in his testimony on Tuesday, without any strategy to proceed with the operation, without clear goals and without exit strategy.

According to some unconfirmed reports The Libyan war has become the global arms market’s richest event in five years and a number of Libyan rebel commanders sold, in late 02/2011, some of the weapon they captured in the Libyan Army storages in Benghazi, including unconventional systems, especially chemical weapons, to Iranian and Hizbullah brokers (see also -IRan’s Momentum).  According to those unidentified sources some of the weapon was already shifted to Sudan, a base to smuggle the ammunition further on to Hamas in Gaza Strip and Lebanon. The rebel’s territory has a common border of over 150 km with North-West Sudan.

Since there is no political control of any kind on the so called rebels and there is no way to really follow up or to inspect the huge quantities of weapons and ammunition left behind by the Libyan Army in the Eastern Cyrenaica province, it is most likely that some was just stolen and plundered by local sheikhs, ex-army officers, gang leaders and opportunity seekers for their own benefit. Eastern Libya is in total chaos and a gold mine for arms smugglers and dealers as it is always in such chaotic situations.

 

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