NATO Warns Libyan Rebels to Stop Weapons Looting

Insists Smugglers Making Off With Surface-to-Air Missiles

New reports coming out of Libya say that the US and NATO are pressing the National Transitional Council (NTC), the would-be rebel government, to start doing something to safeguard the country’s massive stockpile of weapons.

Officials have cautioned that the chaos in the past weeks has allowed people to loot weapons stockpiles and that many people are making off with significant weapons, including shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles.

Human Rights Watch added warnings that anti-tank missiles had also been looted in the west even before he rebels conquered the area, and that Libya was virtually awash in weapons after decades of build-up by the regime.

The influx of foreign weapons in the civil war didn’t help matters either. French warplanes dropped weapons into Western Libya during the civil war, and already those weapons were turning up in the hands of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) fighters within a matter of days. With Libya’s only real export industry virtually destroyed for the next few years, many will likely turn to selling looted weapons to make ends meet.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.