Awash in Weapons, Libya a Hotbed for Smuggling

Algeria Closes Borders in an Effort to Keep Out Arms

The Gadhafi regime had been buying weapons for decades, but it is only now that it has been ousted from power that the exact extent of the weapons caches in Libya is becoming apparent. Smuggling has become the nation’s only real export industry as weapons pour out of the nation.

Some of the biggest weapons dumps in the city now lie totally unguarded, with boxes full of weapons, ammunition and explosives free for the taking. Libya’s neighbors watch nervously as the weapons smugglers get to work.

Algeria’s government has announced that it is closing its border with Libya in an effort to keep the weapons out, but they warn that al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the region’s main terror group, is already arming up.

AQIM had already cashed in on one of the early NATO efforts to arm the rebels, as French weapons dropped into southwest Libya in May showed up in AQIM hands very soon after.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.