New reports claim a “sense of urgency” from both the National Transitional Council (NTC) and the international community about Libya’s loose weapons. But while the nation’s chemical weapons and the like seem to have been secured, warehouses full of weapons continue to exist unguarded across the nation.
The biggest threat, at least from the perspective of the international community, is the shoulder-launched surface to air missiles the Gadhafi regime had. The US has expressed confidence that the missiles are still inside Libya.
But the NTC doesn’t seem to be having any luck tracking down those weapons, and while the NTC says they’ve destroyed “over 1,500” of them, and the new Deputy Defense Minister says only a “few thousand” ever existed, independent reports had tens of thousands of the weapons in the stockpile originally. NTC officials concede they have “no idea” how many of the missiles are still in circulation.
And despite US assurances, those missiles have been reportedly been smuggled out of the nation for months, and al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb has claimed to have acquired a number of them. Other reports have the weapons showing up in arms bazaars in the Sinai Peninsula, likely bound for Gaza.