Anti-Aircraft Missiles Still Pouring Out of Libya

Years After Regime Change, Libya Remains a Weapons Smuggling Haven

Two and a half years after the NATO-imposed regime change in Libya, the nation remains the virtual epicenter for arms smuggling across Africa and the Middle East.

The most recent UN report noted that Libyan arms, and especially shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, have been fueling conflicts in at least 14 countries in the region.

After the ousted of Moammar Gadhafi, his government’s arms depots were left open to looters who made off with enormous quantities of arms, which have played a key role in sparking major conflicts like the Tuareg war of secession in Mali.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the UN report was not how much damage the weapons smuggling of 2011 caused, but that many of those depots are still under the control of random factions with no ties to the Libyan government, and the weapons remain available to smugglers who can meet their price.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of