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  • U.S. Agenda for Libya Must Include Securing of WMD, Arms Stockpiles

    A Libyan rebel holds a Kingdom of Libya flag at Bab Al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli August 23, 2011.

    A Libyan rebel holds a Kingdom of Libya flag at Bab Al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli August 23, 2011. Joyful Libyan rebels overran Muammar Gaddafi's Tripoli bastion on Tuesday, seizing weapons and loot and destroying symbols of a 42-year dictatorship they declared was now over as they set about hunting down the fallen ruler and his sons. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

    Rebel forces reportedly took control of Muammar Qadhafi’s fortified Bab al-Aziziya command base in Tripoli today as they further consolidated control of the capital. Confusion reigned amid reports that Qadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam, whom the opposition Transitional National Council had claimed to detain, apparently roamed free inside Tripoli rallying support for the regime.

    As the murky situation in Tripoli gradually is sorted out, the United States must remain focused on the long-term goal of helping Libyans build a free, stable, and democratic Libya that will be an ally against terrorists. In the immediate aftermath of Qadhafi’s fall, Washington also must vigilantly ensure that his regime’s chemical weapons stockpiles and other dangerous weapons are secured with as much cooperation as possible from Libya’s new government, to prevent them from falling into the hands of terrorists. Senator John McCain (R–AZ) today called for urgent action to find and secure Libyan chemical weapons stockpiles.

    The Qadhafi regime reportedly had 10 tons of mustard gas, much of it stored at an arms depot south of Sirte, near Qadhafi’s hometown. NATO forces have been closely monitoring the depot, which appears to be well-guarded by regime forces, but action must be taken soon to prevent the contents from being moved by Qadhafi diehards or looted by local civilians, Islamist militias, or the disorganized rebel army.

    In addition to the mustard gas, the regime also had large quantities of precursor chemicals necessary for the production of nerve gas, which had not yet been destroyed after Libya’s 2004 agreement to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction. The regime also retained hundreds of tons of uranium yellowcake, the raw material from which the enriched uranium used in a nuclear weapon eventually could be produced.

    Another high priority is finding and securing such dangerous weapons as anti-aircraft missiles known as MANPADS (Man-Portable Air Defense Systems). The Libyan army had large quantities of Soviet-era SA-7 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, which could pose a significant threat to commercial airliners if they are transferred to terrorist groups.

    As the United States and its allies work to contain the potentially dangerous spillover effects of Qadhafi’s downfall, they must cooperate as closely as possible with Libya’s Transitional National Council. This must include discreet and urgent cooperation in finding, securing, and eventually removing lethal legacies of Qadhafi’s rule to prevent them from being recycled for use in the arsenals of terrorist groups.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to U.S. Agenda for Libya Must Include Securing of WMD, Arms Stockpiles

    1. Hmmmm says:

      So if there is a massive stockpile of mustard gas and possible sarin why was it not used against the rebels?

      And, if they have "thousands" of solder fired anti-aircraft missiles as stated by the Chairman of the house intelligence committee (R) Mike Rogers then why were they not used against the NATO aircraft? Is this Iraq all over again. Brings to mind the W Bush flub with "fool me once…etc"

    2. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Our agenda for Libya should be "stay the hell out"! Haven't we learned what history has taught. All of the American blood and money wasted for what? Iran is still Iran, Iraq will revert back to Iraq as soon as our protective cover is pulled out. Despite the crap of "freedom and democracy" in Egypt, that country is now under the control of The Muslim Brotherhood. Afghanistan can never be changed. This distorted lie of "nation building" or "bringing about democracy" is a crock. We can't use the excuse of "we need the oil". Less that 5% of our crude come form Libya. The balance goes to Europe. Their is not one positive reason for our involvement. It's Europe problem. Let Europe sacrifice their young troup's blood and their nation's economy. It's all negative . We gain nothing.

    3. Corky W. says:

      There should be NO agenda for the US in Libya. Let the UN have an handle that and we keep our nose out of it.

    4. Greg says:

      I'm really glad you attended all the top secret briefs held at the Pentagon and White House and know for a fact that there are no weapons of mass destruction left in Iraq. Or more precisely, that none of relatively current manufacture have been found in Iraq so far.

      But more to the point, do you know anything about risk assessment? I'll grant you that it isn't proven as 100% fact that these weapons currently exist. By your logic, they don't or else they would have been used. This logic would also say that the U.S. doesn't have nuclear bombs or ballistic missile submarines because we didn't use them in Iraq or Afghanistan.

      How about we do the prudent (yikes!) thing and assume that these weapons exist in Libya and take steps to secure them? If you are right and they don't exist, then it's some wasted effort and money. If you are wrong and they do exist, then it's potentially a bunch of 747's that are shot out of the sky and large metropolitan areas that are nerve gassed.

      Ask yourself, is it worth the risk and assume they don't exist or should we assume they do?

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