By- Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
While the Jewish people around the world are getting prepared to celebrate Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) during September 28-30 this year, Israeli Prime Minister Mr. Benyamin Netanyahu told British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that, he is not sure if Israel and the United States will be able to enlist enough votes against the Palestinian application for UN membership in order to prevent it from coming to a vote in the UN Security Council. As the Security Council prepares to deal with the request in few hours from now, it was still unclear if the Palestinians would have the necessary nine votes to pass their measure in the 15-member body, which approves all membership applications to the United Nations. As of Sunday, it appeared as if Britain, France, Germany, Columbia, Portugal, and possibly Bosnia, would reject the measure. The United States has said it would use its veto power if necessary to reject the move, but Israel and the US have lobbied to gain enough support against the statehood bid to make the use of the veto-power unnecessary.
Meanwhile, the Jihadist administration in Libya has already started exporting weapons to a number of terrorists and Islamist outfits in the world. On September 25, 2011, Egyptian security forces seized eight anti-aircraft missiles and four shoulder-launchers at Sinai Peninsula. Though the Gaza Strip-bound weapons were confiscated by the Egyptian authorities, the smugglers managed to flee before security forces arrived at the location near Suez Canal. The NATO-led ouster of Muammar al-Gaddafi’s government and the six-month old civil war in Libya, where pro-Al Qaeda elements are already installed in administration, could prove to be boon to the militant groups in Africa and the Middle East by opening up arsenals of weaponry ranging from small arms to WMD or chemicals.
So far, the anti-Gaddafi rebels have captured much of the country, including most of Tripoli, though there still are battling the loyalists of Gaddafi and struggling to establish law and order in the country, which has already been wracked by the months long civil war. Scattered opposition fighters and civilians in Libya have pried open weapons stores in the search of arms or valuables. Stockholm based arms transfer program research center, commenting on the current situation in Libya said, “It’s very hard to say what is actually out there. The large arsenals in the hands of the Libyan armed forces have been plundered. This plundering has been done in a much disorganized way. People walk in and take whatever they need and load into trucks. No one knows where the trucks are ultimately going.”
They predicted that a large segment of the weapons from the Libyan arsenals might be spreading outside the country. It was already reported in media that, following the ouster of Gaddafi from administration, notorious terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah in particular, were making secret arms-deals with Libya’s pro-Islamist rebels.
Fall of Gaddafi administration is the third instance in the Arab Spring, but the first to go down in a war, which has left a very alarming and anarchic situation in Libya. It is assumable that the weapons stockpile could find its ways across the desolate expanses and through the unguarded Libyan borders. It is even predicted by many that, Libya would turn into a weapons larder for groups such as Hamas in the Gaza Strip to fighters in Darfur and al-Qaeda Islamists across North Africa and Iraq. Some even fear that such weapons may land into the hands of separatists groups in Indian Jammu-Kashmir or north-eastern states under the brokerage of anti-Delhi militias inside Afghanistan or Pakistani frontiers.
What senior research fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, Yoram Schweitzer said about Libyan weaponry is fearsome enough. According to him, there are already signs that some Libyan weaponry has reached the Islamist militant groups like Hamas in the Gaza Strip. No one still knows the exact figure of weaponry stockpile of Muammar al-Gaddafi government, which includes 100,000 Ukrainian riffles supplied in 2008, Russian made Igla-S man-portable infrared homing surface-to-air missile aside from unknown volume of chemical weapons as well as other sophisticated weapons. According to General Carter Ham of US Africa Command, more than 20,000 surface-to-air missiles were in Libya when NATO operations began, many of which are yet to be accounted for. United States have already found shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missile systems as well as Russian made SA-7 launchers in huge quantity in Libya, though none of its could yet be destroyed as NATO has refused to put personnel on the ground in Libya.
Some experts ruled out the hidden stock of chemical weapons in Libya as it dismantled its chemical weapons program in 2003 when it joined the Chemicals Weapons Convention. The organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has verified that two of the country’s three known chemical plants were destroyed and a third was converted by agreement into a pharmaceutical facility. But it is reported that, when unrest broke out last February, Libya was in the process of destroying stockpiles of mustard gas and other chemicals, stored in corroding drums, at a site southeast of Tripoli. Coincidentally, the equipment being used to destroy the stockpile broke down days before the fighting. Mustard gas can also cause severe blistering and death. Today, there are some 800-900 tons of war uranium yellow cake stored in drums at Libya’s lone nuclear reactor, east of Tripoli, which would require considerable refining and enrichment to be used as explosive. In this particular case, it is feared that, this stock of yellowcakes could be transported to Iran or even Pakistan, where required refining might take place thus finally shifting to the hands of Jihadist networks.
All the mentioned predictions or even reasonable doubts become imminently fearsome, when the news of seizure of Gaza Strip-bound missiles appeared in the media. With this latest and very specific case, it could become evidently clear that anti-Gaddafi Islamists in Libya now are engaged in smuggling out various types of weapons, mostly to their Jihadists “fellow-brother”. On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, we must hope from the heart that such nefarious activities will not only be detected well before Islamists gain more strength, there should be an effective measure taken forthwith in stopping the minimum loophole of smuggling of weapons as well as WMD from Libya to the hands of enemies of blood-monger Jihadists as well as anti-peace and anti-Semitic terrorists. Let us take a slice of apple dipped in honey with our earnest hopes of seeing a peaceful and joyous world.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions published in the article are of the author and Times of Assam is not liable for any dispute. Any feedback or advice on the subject is welcome.
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is globally renowned Journalist, Columnist, author & Peace Activist. He is the Editor of Weekly Blitz and Daily Frontline. He is the recipient of PEN USA Freedom to Write Award 2005, AJC Moral Courage Award 2006, Key to the Englewood City, NJ, USA (Highest Honor) 2007; Monaco Media Award, 2007. He can be reached at [email protected]