Disturbing news out of Tripoli suggests that Qaddafi’s forces may have access to chemical weapons, including mustard gas and sarin nerve gas. From the Washington Post:
Hundreds of large gas canisters are stacked in one warehouse, along with small glass bottles of yellow liquid and large plastic containers marked “shampoo” — but almost certainly not containing hair-care products. Other boxes are marked “Poison,” “Corrosive” and “Explosive.”But the most worrying evidence has emerged in a nearby office building.Records found inside show that 2,000 Czech gas masks and 2,000 chemical-protection suits were sent from al-Ajelat to al-Jufrah on July 26.There also were records of shipments to Sirte from April to June, including 7,500 gas masks, large consignments of decontamination powder and liquid, a dozen pounds of napalm and 20 flamethrowers. All of this was under the orders of the Libyan Defense Ministry’s Chemical Protection Directorate.
The New York Times is also reporting that shoulder-mounted heat-seeking missiles have gone missing from unguarded weapons stockpiles in Libya. These missiles, which could be used by terrorists to shoot down commercial aircraft, may find their way to the black market.The same thing happened in Iraq, of course; unguarded arms depots were looted by the quick thinking and helped fuel the years of chaos since. That whole concept about those not learning from history being doomed to repeat it makes no sense and should be immediately forgotten. Still, given that NATO had so much unexpected time to prepare for Libyan regime change than initially predicted, it is too bad that a bit more couldn’t have been done to secure some of these arsenals.For now, a word of advice: next time you travel to Libya, bring your own shampoo and do not accept hair products of any kind sold by vendors you do not trust.