Libya's Deadliest Weapons Not Yet Controlled
Published August 23, 2011
Libyan rebels fear Gadhafi is preparing mustard gas
In this Thursday, April 21, 2011, photo, a Libyan rebel on horseback holds his weapon up during a march on behalf of prisoners of war and the missing in Benghazi, Libya. U.S. Sen. John McCain, one of the strongest proponents in Congress of the American military intervention in Libya, said Friday, April 22, 2011, that Libyan rebels fighting Moammar Gadhafis troops are his heroes.
Col. Moammar Gadhafis troops in and around the rebel-held western Libyan city of Misrata have been issued gas masks, a sign that the regime may be preparing to use chemical weapons, rebels told The Washington Times on Wednesday.
The regime is thought to have 9 tons of poisonous mustard gas at a secret desert location near Col. Gadhafis hometown, Sirte, multiple sources in Libya said.
In New York, a special prosecutor for the International Criminal Court appeared before the U.N. Security Council to describe what he called evidence of widespread and systematic attacks on civilians by Col. Gadhafis forces.
Rebels received what they called reliable eyewitness accounts from Misrata residents who reported seeing gas masks distributed to Col. Gadhafis forces, said Mohamed, a spokesman in Misrata who asked that his last name be withheld.
We have alerted the town to that fact and what Gadhafi could be up to, Mohamed said. We dont have gas masks. We dont know how to deal with this, but we will defend our city with our lives.
Over the past week, pro-Gadhafi forces have retreated to the town of Zliten, situated to Misratas west. The troops, which suffered heavy losses under a barrage of NATO airstrikes and rebel fire, are now being commanded by one of Col. Gadhafis sons, Al-Mutasim Gadhafi.
Al-Mutasim is just as brutal as his father and quite capable of using chemical weapons, said Moham
US concerned about security for mustard gas, chemicals in Libya
Proliferation analysts generally assess that Libya has close to 14 tons of mustard gas that it has not destroyed
U.S. military and intelligence officials are closely watching Libya's stockpiles of mustard gas and their precursor chemicals as the North African country descends further into civil war.
Proliferation analysts generally assess that Libya has close to 14 tons of mustard gas that it has not destroyed despite the announcement in 2003 that it would dismantle its weapons of mass destruction program.
Obviously, the security of the Libyan stockpile of chemical weapons is a concern, a U.S. intelligence official told The Washington Times.
You could see a scenario where [Libyan dictator Moammar] Gadhafi takes troops away from these [stockpiles], a Senate aide monitoring the situation in Libya said. He could be pulling his security forces off of his missions, and bring them to Tripoli and Benghazi and other towns he needs to secure to hold on to his regime and, as a result, these facilities will be unguarded.
On Wednesday, Libyans in the eastern part of the country celebrated their liberation from Col. Gadhafi and vowed to free the capital, Tripoli, where Gadhafi forces attacked protesters with heavy arms. In a rambling, nationally televised speech Tuesday, Col. Gadhafi vowed to die a martyr.
(Excerpt) Read more at homeland1.com ...
Gaddafis Chemical Weapons Factory Found
The al-Sadd battalion was guarding the chemical weapons factory and warehouse. However, the battalion has since withdrawn to Misratah, leaving a stockpile of deadly weapons vulnerable to theft.
The current number of guards at the chemical weapons site, which contains 9 tons of mustard gas and dozens of barrels contaminated with chemicals, is just two men armed with Kalashnikov rifles.
Hamzah al-Shaibani, spokesman for the 17 February revolution committee said in a telephone interview with Asharq al-Awsat yesterday that: We appeal to the United Nations and the Transitional National Council to protect and secure the area, because it represents a grave danger.
Al-Shaibani said that a pungent stench has engulfed the area surrounding the chemical weapons store, as a result of a slight leak inside the warehouse which we are afraid might become worse.
The sources added that the warehouse containing chemical weapons and mustard gas is located in an open area of al-Ruwadah Valley, and is currently unsecured.
anyone can access these weapons, and take whatever they want. Anyone who says that he is a revolutionary is granted a permit to enter unaccompanied, and he can take whatever weapons he wants without supervision, and without recording what kind of weapons he takes, including chemical substances.
Experts from the United Nations arrived shortly after the revolutionaries took control of the region. The experts discovered leak in the chemical weapons warehouse, and decided to send a full team in the near future. However, to date, this team has not arrived.
Leading up to the site, a sign simply reads: No Entry Mustard Gas and Chemicals. There is no barbed wire or fences.
Panetta: We Lost Track of Syrian WMDs (September 28, 2012)