Posted by MataHarley on 8 September, 2011 at 11:33 am. 23 comments already!


It can’t come as a big surprise to find that multiple Libyan munitions stockpiles have been looted, and shoulder fired heat seeking missiles, such as the SA-7b Grail, are unaccounted for. While one concern would be that bad-guy-in-hiding, Gaddafi, may have absconded a few for personal revenge, analysts tend to think the weaponry is not in the hands of Gaddafi or his loyalists.

Western governments and nongovernment organizations have repeatedly asked and prodded the rebel government, the Transitional National Council, to take steps to secure the vast stockpiles of arms that it has inherited, apparently to little avail.

“Claims that depots holding Manpads and other dangerous weapons are still not being properly secured are very worrisome and should be thoroughly investigated,” Mr. Schroeder said. “In cases where stockpile security is found to be lacking, immediate steps should be taken to correct any deficiencies.”

In Washington, President Obama’s top counterterrorism official, John O. Brennan, said that the spread of shoulder-fired missiles and other weapons from Libya’s arsenal posed “a lot of concerns,” and that the United States had pressed the rebel government to secure weapons stockpiles. “Obviously, there are a lot of parts of that country right now that are ungoverned,” he said at a security conference.

A senior American military officer who follows Libya closely said it was puzzling that there had been so few documented instances in which Libyan loyalist troops launched shoulder-fired missiles at NATO aircraft. “I’m not sure what that means,” the officer said. “Fewer systems than we thought? Systems are inoperable? Few in Libya know how to operate them?”

Instead, military analysts are assuming they are in the hands of AQ or other extremist groups… either directly looted, or perhaps sold by rogue rebels.

Twenty crates from Russia were also found, with one of the crates labeled as containing “9M342,” the Russian designation for the SA-24 heat-seeking missile…. a powerful weapon that Venezuela has also been busy acquiring.

The Igla-S (SA-24) is Russia’s most advanced MANPADS and considered one of the most lethal portable air defense systems ever made. Starting in 2005 the US Government raised its concerns with the Government of Russia (GOR) about the Government of Venezuela’s (GOV) possible acquisition of MANPADS and other conventional weapons. In particular, the US highlighted the risk these could be diverted to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) or other regional terrorists and non-state actors.


UPDATE from CS Monitor, who notes that 482 SA-24s were shipped to Libya in 2004, and none can be found. Let me repeat that number to let it sink in… 482 unaccounted for SA-24s.< END UPDATE


SA-24s were spotted by NATO as far back as March. While Libya is in possession of two-missile Strelets system (designed for mounting on platforms like armored vehicles, helicopters and ships, the missiles themselves cannot be used as MANPADS, according to an Aviation Week defense blog. The company who admitted selling the truck mounted SA-24 Grinch to both Libya and Syria stated the weapons required separate trigger mechanisms for use as MANPADS, and these were not supplied to Libya.

But if these missiles, which only went missing in the recent days, are out there, exactly who has them, and how difficult would it be to obtain the necessary trigger mechanisms on the black market. One thing we do know… Gaddafi loyalists were not using these weapons to any degree against NATO aircraft, whether by restraint or destruction of any armored tanks with the mounting. Nor is it likely that the rebels, attempting to seize absolute rule, are removing only these from the munitions stockpiles for good intents.

One thing is certain… NATO and the rebels’ NTA have been derelict in securing these weapons, and apparently there are all too many in their midst with an entirely different agenda. And it’s most likely the targets will be western military powers or, worse yet… another passenger jetliner.

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