White House: More Deployment to Libya to Search for Missiles

Some 20,000 Missing SAMs Have Administration Worried

According to White House spokesman Jay Carney, the United States is preparing to deploy additional forces on the ground in Libya to “secure conventional arms storage sites” as well as to try to track down missing surface-to-air missiles (SAMs).

In the wake of the rebel invasion of Tripoli, large arms depots across the western half of the nation were looted, and it is estimated that some 20,000 shoulder-launched SAMs were among what had gone missing, many of them wound up on the arms markets in neighboring nations.

Though weapons of all shapes and sizes were looted, the shoulder-launched SAMs are of particular concern to the US, as they could pose a threat to US warplanes the world over now that they are out of the warehouses and in general circulation.

20,000 is a lot of missiles too. One rights group cautioned that the SAMs coming out of Libya were enough to turn all of northern Africa into a no-fly zone. Though some regional groups like al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) are likely to be keen on acquiring many of these weapons, it is unlikely they will be restricted to northern Africa either, with groups in Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan likely keen on their own acquisitions.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • Bianca

    Al-Qaeda is not known for having a naming convention department. All the forma sounding AQIM and AQAP and also one in Mezopotamia, AQIM — all figments of imagination of local/regional dictators some still there (Yemen, Saudi Arabia), others conveniently created for Iraqi purposes, and the Tunisian dictator gone, so others need to carry on the illusion. Really, enough already.
    I am not sure if what is being suggested is TROUPS ON THE GROUND? Whatever the excuse of the day may be. We all know they will stay FOREVER, adding to the national debt.

  • persnipoles

    …then one of the teen hair bands that calls itself 'Al Qaeda' resells to some nobody in Afghanistan and the GWoT rationale is 'proven!' …weren't we really fighting 'Al Qaeda' the whole time? S–t, there they are!

  • MoT

    Good grief. As Persnipoles said above you can pretty much count on something like this coming back to haunt us thanks to NATO and our idiot-in-chief. And, naturally, you'll hear the whining and drum beating about Al Qaeda while being told to ignore all the connected dots that our government created in the first place.

    Nothing to see here!… Move along now.

  • VietnamWarVet1966

    The Russians were brutally crushing the Afghans until the US starting supplying SAMs to the Afghans.
    Expect those SAMs to turn up in Afghanistan to be used against the US and to drive the US out of Afghanistan.
    And what was the reason that NATO and the US bombed Libya to overthrow Khadafi?
    Beware what you want less you get it!
    In President Obama we have the chief idiot among idiots!

  • John Ellis

    SAM missiles are a weapon of defense, and just think of what an improvement it would be if all groups big and small were able to defeat any weapon of aggression.


  • So HERE'S the excuse for sending in troops. How clever of the MIC! The "20,000 SAMS" are probably closer to 200. Jason, don't promote their scams, like you did with the "Qadaffi had a scrapbook of Condoleeza Rice", or "Osama had a porn library" BS

  • Geo1671

    If Libyia had 20,000 such missiles–they would of used them on NATO planes. Stop repeating the bullsH**.. Ditz should know better -it's a Uncle Sam Scam.

  • gaiamon

    And who gives the U.S the right to search and secure anything in the sovereign nation of Libya, and any other nation !
    This is just more propaganda, and a stealthy move for more CIA involvement and the continual undermining of the Libyan people rights to exist as they wish under the green banner…

  • j r

    They purposely let the arms get "looted." The US always arms their future enemies first. Can't have a phony war if the enemies you make aren't armed. War profiteers always work both sides to maximize profit.

    • persnipoles

      Regardless of a planned SAMs-escape, there's definitely been a strong meme on AW that SAM's would be a 'game changer,' cripple US ability to 'smart bomb' the children of 'suspects' or something. I'd say there's reason to slow-down with that idea -e.g., if he really didn't, why didn't Ghaddafi use them when even his family was being targeted? If 'The Taliban' used them recently to whack some SEALS, where are the rest of those? Also, Hunting down the SAMs could not only be an excuse for US to run wildly across North Africa, in the current MSM environment it could even be spun as maintaining 'supremacy' rather than merely 'defensive' -a flight-forward.

    • WashingtonDC goddamn

      Obama The Conqueror can't use the WMD excuse, that's already been used by Ex-War Chief Bush. The "Missing SAMs" is a nice new excuse….for boots on the deck. First hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands. The Big Obama apparently has big plans for Africa — and needs something like this to distract from his ruined domestic economy.

  • thedissenter

    More deployments to search for missiles…~wink, wink~

    100 years from now, they'll still be there looking for the ~wink, wink~ missiles.

    • ML3

      but Gadhafi is gone, like you wanted so desperately just a few months ago…what did you expect to happen afterwards?

      • thedissenter

        Well, looks like I got my wish then. How about you, ML3, pseudo-humanoid, hypocritical leftist? Are you crying a river over the fact that your hero was made to run like the rat he is? Still, I am yet to hear you or your ilk issue one word of compassion for the Libyan people. Oh, sure, you think that's exactly what you're doing but why don't you think again, you hypocrite?

  • ML3

    and where did Gadhafi get these SAMs from anyway

    • thedissenter

      I thought you knew that. Being such a stern supporter of the "man" and his cause. Maybe he got them from Castro or Chavez.

  • So I was not far off the mark with my comments on 'Lybia's Future Uncertain'……It is not so difficult to see that this is just another deceitful ploy to pull Libya into the western camp for its oil and it becomes another anti-Zionist/Israel adversary.

  • skulz fontaine

    The US is "preparing to deploy additional forces on the ground in Libya…"
    Hmmm, additional would mean there are already boots on the ground in Liyba. Wow, go figure. Obama is a liar. Wow, go figure.

  • Joe

    The real question is 'What idiot military guy left 20k missiles in Libya to be stolen without MP's? Then we need to hang all involved to make a statement for military letting property from the U.S. Government being stolen. That will end the stupidness going on, but 'No'. Why ask the important question.

  • Guest

    Isn't it amazing how real events on the ground anywhere that the USA becomes militarily 'involved' that military hardware turns up 'missing'?

    When the USA invaded Iraq the second time, I remember how military units found many Iraqi munitions caches, but no one stuck around to actually (you know) secure or destroy them in the mad rush to (1) secure the oil fields and (2) secure the Iraqi Oil Ministry. Every soldier killed in Iraq and many of the civilians killed in Iraq, can be directly traced to IEDs made from those munitions.

    One could blame this on hubris, if one wasn't already cynical about USA intentions. But what better way to assure the long continuation of the USA Global War on Terror and the domestic national security surveillance police state than to 'accidently' promulgate the dispersion of munitions, and especially shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles?

    And isn't this how the USA began arming al-Queda and the Islamic militants fighting against the Soviet Union's 'invasion' of Afghanistan? The Reagan administration supplied 1,000s of Stinger Missiles to these militants, and when the Russians left Afghanistan, we got very few of them back.

    Likewise with supplying Saddam Hussein with the chemical munitions (or precursors) that he used to help kill almost an entire generation of Iranians — over 1 Million killed. Yeah, the USA knew that Saddam had WMD, because we helped supply them to him during the Bush_41 administration.

    The USAs biggest exports are War, the Weapons of War, propaganda disguised as movies, and fraudulent financial securities, and not a lot of anything else. When the USA is forced to end it's Neo-Colonial Mercantile Empire, propped up by massive military force, the world might just be a more peaceful place. But We aren't There yet, so look out World for Uncle Sam's steel-toed jack-boots …