IPS news service has a piece following up on a theme that NATO Monitor has followed regularly over the last year. Weapons from Libya, which have proliferated across the region as a result of the insecurity in Libya caused by the NATO-assisted overthrow of the previous regime, are fuelling conflicts from Mali to Syria. The article notes that:
“All of the militias are involved in selling weapons. There is no law in Libya, still no functioning government, and the country’s security forces are too weak to control the situation, so selling weapons is regarded as legal by many of the rebels,” said Ridwan, a former rebel who fought with Tripoli’s Suq Al Jumma Katiba (brigades).
“Many of the fighters got greedy following the war and believe they are entitled to compensation for the sacrifices they made for their country as they believe the government has abandoned them,” Ridwan, who did not give his last name, told IPS.
“The guys sell an AK-47 on the black market for 1,000 Libyan dinars (800 dollars). An anti-aircraft gun mounted on the back of a pickup truck goes for between 8000-10,000 LD. Most of the weapons are smuggled to the borders, especially Turkey.”NATO Monitor is not arguing that the overthrow of Gaddhafi was a bad thing, simply that consequences such as the weapons proliferation resulting from the conflict should have been foreseen and measures taken to minimise the problem. NATO could have taken steps to work with regional governments to help them better secure borders. It could and should have done more to ensure that Libyan arms dumps were destroyed. these are lessons that need to be well learned before the next such war.