Surface-To-Air Missiles Looted From Libyan Arms Depot

Well, this is something that could be a problem:

A potent stash of Russian-made surface-to-air missiles is missing from a huge Tripoli weapons warehouse amid reports of weapons looting across war-torn Libya.

They are Grinch SA-24 shoulder-launched missiles, also known as Igla-S missiles, the equivalent of U.S.-made Stinger missiles.

A CNN team and Human Rights Watch found dozens of empty crates marked with packing lists and inventory numbers that identified the items as Igla-S surface-to-air missiles.

The list for one box, for example, written in English and Russian, said it had contained two missiles, with inventory number “Missile 9M342,” and a power source, inventory number “Article 9B238.”

Grinch SA-24s are designed to target front-line aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and drones. They can shoot down a plane flying as high as 11,000 feet and can travel 19,000 feet straight out.

Fighters aligned with the National Transitional Council and others swiped armaments from the storage facility, witnesses told Human Rights Watch. The warehouse is located near a base of the Khamis Brigade, a special forces unit in Gadhafi’s military, in the southeastern part of the capital.

The warehouse contains mortars and artillery rounds, but there are empty crates for those items as well. There are also empty boxes for another surface-to-air missile, the SA-7.

Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch emergencies director, told CNN he has seen the same pattern in armories looted elsewhere in Libya, noting that “in every city we arrive, the first thing to disappear are the surface-to-air missiles.”

The most obvious destination for items like this would obviously be the world’s weapons black market, where they could fall into the hands of terrorists and other assorted rogues. Perhaps we ought to ask our “friends” in the NTC about this.

 

FILED UNDER: Africa, Quick Takes, World Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    The most obvious destination for items like this would obviously be the world’s weapons black market, where they could fall into the hands of terrorists and other assorted rogues. Perhaps we ought to ask our “friends” in the NTC about this.

    Actually the most obvious destination is NTC forces. They are the army of Libya now. The NTC has relied in large part on taking weapons from Libyan armories. You know: for use by what is now the armed forces of the Libyan government.

    But keep up that one-sided vendetta of yours against the NTC.

  2. john personna says:

    Shorter Doug: “Bloody revolutions are not all roses.”

    Who would have guessed?

  3. Liberal Capitalist says:

    No big deal.

    Will likely turn up in Texas or Montana, at some ranch, with the goober talking about his second amendment rights.

  4. @michael reynolds:

    And the air power that poses a threat to Libya at this point would be?????

    I know you want us to think that these guys are the new Minutemen or something, but you’re being really naive

  5. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    For once I have to agree with Doug, the most likely scenario is that these weapons turn up in the hands of someone who does not have the United States best interest at heart.
    .

    @john personna:

    I did, thats why I was against this war. Just like I was against the Iraq war. No I’m not all knowing, I just possess some common sense and empathy – no existential threat and how would I feel if someone invaded my country.
    .

    This war was a mistake, maybe not to the level of Iraq, but then again we don’t have the cushion (money, men and goodwill) that we had when we went into Iraq.

  6. john personna says:

    @Loviatar:

    FWIW, I was for supporting NATO. I figured that it being their back-yard, and them being allies, we had to hope they knew what they were doing.

    Of course, “knowing what they were doing” only needs to add up to “net better, ” rather than perfect. Doug seems to enjoy posting items showing that it isn’t perfect. Well, as I say, I never expected that it would be.

  7. mantis says:

    I did, thats why I was against this war. Just like I was against the Iraq war. No I’m not all knowing, I just possess some common sense and empathy – no existential threat and how would I feel if someone invaded my country.

    We didn’t invade Libya.

  8. Jay Tea says:

    @john personna: Of course, “knowing what they were doing” only needs to add up to “net better, ” rather than perfect.

    I’d be fascinated to hear what sorts of things are being counted in the “net better” column.

    J.

  9. john personna says:

    @Jay Tea:

    I’d be fascinated to hear what sorts of things are being counted in the “net better” column.

    From the French and Italian perspective, it was probably removing a known enemy from the neighborhood. I’m sure having him just across the sea from them shaped their thinking, in a way that our having him on the other side of the globe did not.

  10. DC Loser says:

    SA-24s are particularly nasty. They are the most advanced MANPADS in the world. I pray they don’t fall into the hands of the bad guys.

  11. Tlaloc says:

    Looks like they’d be of questionable use against modern military aircraft but quite up to the task of taking out a civilian transport. Lovely.

  12. DC Loser says:

    Tlaloc – any modern military aircraft within range is in for a nasty surprise with SA-24s. They have the most advanced flare/countermeasure rejection capabilities, probably better than the Stingers.

  13. Jay Tea says:

    @john personna: K-Daffy wasn’t a “known enemy” any more — at least an active one. He had his “Come To Allah” moment back in 2003, and was not only not bothering anyone outside his borders, but being downright cooperative with the West. In fact, he was a very useful symbol — “come clean, make nice, and we won’t blow you away.”

    K-Daffy came clean, made nice, and we patted him on the head — until the French and Italians figured they might make a bit more money if they did get rid of him.

    And I’m still pissed at Italy over the Achille Lauro hijackers incident and France over their attitude when Reagan bombed Libya (man, this is getting complicated), so I don’t think “supporting them to take out K-Daffy” was a good idea.

    J.

  14. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    I would love for you to show me anywhere that I’ve ever said any such thing about the NTC.

    On the contrary I’ve said we don’t know. Which happens to be the truth: we don’t know.

    What we do know is you’ve been consistently wrong about this mini-war.