Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Who Armed Libya?

The question is prompted by a two month-old post called "Who Armed Egypt?" My answer then was: America. But, regarding Libya, there's no clear answer.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute's Arms Transfers Database, Libya imported next to no foreign arms recently (Ukraine sold $145 million worth in both 2001 and 2003, but the numbers since then -- from France and Italy -- are trivial). Yet, Russian-made SA-24 Grinch anti-aircraft missiles were spotted on the battlefield last month -- despite "no mention of it in official sources, such as the United Nations Arms Registry." Wired magazine's Adam Rawnsley speculates that the weapons flowed through Venezuela, which re-sold them to Gadhafi.

For his part, Venezuelan despot-for-life Hugo Chavez certainly has supported Gadhafi. He also condemned the coalition actions in Libya. But so did professional crank Andrew Sullivan. Wait a minute--perhaps a conspiracy?. . .

So, in sum, I don't know who armed Libya. Other than it wasn't the United States--a decade ago, President Bush persuaded them to abandon nukes and President Obama's now trying to disarm Gadhafi.

(via reader Warren)

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