Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kinetic Military Action Figure Update- Al Qaeda Looting Ghdaffy's Arsenals? Libyan Official Defects; Rebels, Qatar Bartering for Oil

LIBYA: NATO continued airstrikes against forced loyal to Libyan leader Mummar Ghdaffi outside the eastern oil city of Brega, striking a convoy that was heading towards rebel positions as well as armour and surface to air missiles in Ghdaffi's hometown of Sitre. The city of Brega has changed hands between rebels and Ghdaffi loyalists no less than three times in the last month.

The faction of the Libyan military loyal to Ghdaffi have also adapted the rebel's tactics of mounting machine guns, mortars and anti-aircraft guns on pickup or flatbed trucks. Not only does this give them a greater degree of mobility, but it also raises a problem for NATO pilots, as they would be much more difficult to distinguish from simlar rebel vehicles.

Amid reports that US and Egyptian special forces are covertly training rebel fighters in Eastern Libya [How covert is it if I'm reading about it on front the front pages of the International Business Times- I mean, really?- NANESB!] a senior Algerian security official has raised concerns that al-Qaeda has been exploiting the unrest in Libya to obtain weapons from Ghdaffy's arsenal for use elsewhere.
The senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a convoy of eight Toyota pick-up trucks left eastern Libya, crossed into Chad and then Niger, and from there into northern Mali where in the past few days it delivered a cargo of weapons.

The weapons included Russian-made RPG-7 anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades, Kalashnikov heavy machine guns, Kalashnikov rifles, explosives and ammunition, he said.

He also said he had information that Al-Qaeda's north African wing, known as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) had acquired from Libya Russian-made shoulder-fired Strela surface-to-air missiles known by the NATO designation SAM-7.

"Several military barracks have been pillaged in this region (eastern Libya) with their arsenals and weapons stores and the elements of AQIM who were present could not have failed to profit from this opportunity" the official told Reuters "AQIM, which has maintained excellent relations with smugglers who used to cross Libya from all directions without the slightest difficulty, will probably give them the task of bringing it the weapons," said the official.
On top of that, a 2007 US raid against al Qaeda in Iraq yielded records on at least 600 foreign al Qaeda operatives in Iraq. Of those, an estimated 20% came from Libya- almost all of them from cities in the east that are now in rebel hands.

BBC Map showing first few days of NATO airstrikes
QATAR: The Liberian-flagged Suezmax tanker Equator arrived in the rebel-held eastern Libyan port of Marsa al Hariga on Tuesday, the first traffic since anti-Ghdaffy demonstrations began a few weeks ago.

The tanker's arrival comes shortly after the rebels announced a deal with the Persian Gulf emirate of Qatar where the oil would be marketed by Qatar in exchange for food, medicine (and the rebels hope weapons and ammunition as well). The 'barter' arrangement means that Qatar is able to circumvent international sanctions against Libya.

UNITED KINGDOM: Former Libyan Foreign minister Moussa Koussa flew to England from Tunisia last Thursday and announced his defection from the Ghdaffi regime.
As head of Libya external intelligence, Mr Koussa was an MI6 [British intelligence]asset for almost two decades. He was charged with conducting negotiations over Libya's giving up its weapons of mass destruction in 2003.

He was notably uncomfortable in making public statements on behalf of the regime in recent weeks. One Libyan official said that Mr Koussa had deliberated timed his statements to present a "rational" argument in the immediate aftermath of Col Muammar Gaddafi's rambling statements on national television.
With his arrival in the UK, Scottish prosecutors have sought to interview Koussa regarding the Libyan regime's role in the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland that killed 270 people. At the time, Khoussa was head of Libya's Bureau for External Security (the Mathaba) which was implicated in the Lockerbie bombing as well as a 1986 bombing attack on a Berlin disco that killed 3 (including two American soldiers) and injured more than 200. Aside from the terrorist attacks against foreign interests, operatives from the Mathaba (often with Libyan diplomatic credentials) would also harass and threaten exiled Libyan opposition figures.

Since the uprising began, Ghdaffi has lost his interior minster and justice minister to the side of the rebels.

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