Nobody's Quite Sure Who's Controlling Libya's Weapons

The regime has stockpiles of deadly chemicals and raw nuclear material

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Amid all the celebration surrounding the storming of Qaddafi's Tripoli compound by the rebels, the AP has issued a worrying report: Nobody is quite sure who is in control of Libya's stockpiles of mustard gas, hundreds of tons of raw uranium yellowcake, and 30,000 shoulder-fired rockets. "U.S. and allied officials say chemical and nuclear stockpiles appear to be still under the control of what's left of the Libyan government," the AP explains, but it's unclear whether Qaddafi loyalists will abide by international agreements not to use or move the material.

U.S. intelligence and military officials, the report adds, are mainly concerned that Qaddafi could use the weapons in a last stand or that militant groups like al-Qaeda could get their hands on the materials even if the rebels prove victorious. To prevent those scenarios, the State Department has sent weapons demolition teams to destroy some anti-aircraft rocket systems and experts to work with rebel leaders and Libya's neighbors on preventing weapons smuggling. "Still, many U.S. officials question whether NATO has enough people on the ground to make sure the material remains secure if Libyan security forces flee their posts," the AP observes. You can read the in-depth look at the precarious situation here.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.