The United Nations released a statement expressing great concern over the immense volume of weapons being illegally transferred from Libya into both Syria and Gaza. It is about time that some oversight agency, department, public official, world leader, or international organization finally took notice of a problem which has been thus far addressed by Israel and Egypt virtually alone. The United States, while not making any pronouncements warning of this danger, they did at least request the new Egyptian leadership take steps to intercede and take steps to confiscate these shipments should they cross Egyptian areas of jurisdiction or influence. But on the other side of this problem we actually find the United States and their NATO allies were complicit in this illegal transfers of weapons by providing these weapons to the Libyan rebels in the first place as well as not taking any steps to prevent the distribution of the massive stores of Libyan weapons which had been procured mostly from the Soviet Union by Gaddafi over the years he was in power. The real problems are the agents who are on the receiving end of these weapons transfers. In Gaza the recipients are al Qaeda in Gaza, Islamic Jihad, the Salafists and other terror families and entities. It is not clear whether or not Hamas has been the recipient of these weapons as they seem to be destined to reach terror entities even more extreme than Hamas. In Syria the weapons have been transferred to the terror wings of the rebels forces mostly those fighting under the Syrian Al Nusra Front which was recently confirmed by al Qaeda to be their armed resistance within Syria.
The reasons for concern are the types of weapons being transferred which include such items as portable air defense systems, mines, explosive materials, tons of ammunition and small arms. The United Nations report confirmed that “Libya has over the past two years become a significant and attractive source of weaponry in the region. The lack of an effective security system remains one of the primary obstacles to securing military materiel and controlling the borders.” Some of the arms are finding their way through Turkey while other are being directly sent into Syria. The weapons destined for Gaza are being smuggled through the tunnel systems linking Gaza with the Sinai Peninsula. It has been these particular weapons transfers which Egypt has been most crucial in preventing. Still, some intelligence reports have expressed concerns that some of the more sophisticated weapons systems as well as some larger weapons systems have made it into Gaza despite the Egyptian efforts to prevent such deliveries.
The reality is that these weapons will be distributed by numerous terror entities to their fellow terrorist entities throughout the world which will greatly increase the potential for diverse types of attacks. The antiaircraft systems could pose a critical problem for civilian air traffic once such systems are smuggled and distributed to terror cells throughout the world. This problem will only increase should Syrian President Bashir Assad fall with the Al Nusra Front of the Syrian rebel forces prove the dominant influence in whatever governance forms. Such an outcome would also provide al Qaeda with a safe country in which to set up training camps and store weapons and other materials for future use in executing ever more serious mass terror attacks. The real question has to be asked of why was this allowed to come to pass and who dropped the ball on securing the Libyan weapons stores. Since NATO, for the most part, was the main party supporting the various rebel groups, they must be held responsible for not taking the necessary steps to secure these weapons stores. This would have probably required a far more active participation of the United States as the only country with sufficient capabilities to guarantee a comprehensive interdiction. Unfortunately this would require the United States to lead from the front and not from behind.
It was not mentioned in the report but it also likely that many of these weapons are drifting south into Mali and Nigeria to the Islamic revolutionaries who are attempting to transform these two nations into Islamic states. The real and full extent of the damages caused by the international distribution of these extremely dangerous weapons will never be fully disclosed. The reason that such information will remain undisclosed is that those who should have taken responsibility for securing these weapons will work to assure that such information is squelched. There may have been an attempt to control these weapons and possibly even turn off the spigot but that effort turned out very poorly. That is another reason that very little if any information will ever see the light of day about the scope and range of weapons which are now being distributed to terror outfits possibly throughout the world. This may have been exactly the mission which sent the United States Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens to Benghazi where he was murdered along with four other Americans on September 11, 2012. That alone would make it even less likely that the full story will ever be divulged, at least not in our lifetimes.
Beyond the Cusp