Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Spread of Illegal Arms From Libya

Libya ‘dangerous arms source’ – Kremlin envoy

 Африка оружие Африка
Photo: EPA

Russia has called attention to the fact that the continuing spread of illegal arms from Libya fuels armed conflicts everywhere in North, Northwest and Northeast Africa.

Kremlin envoy Mikhail Margelov discussed this and other matters with Sudanese President Omar Bashir at a meeting in Khartoum on Saturday.

Mr Bashir said his country and South Sudan are close to an agreement on dividing oil-rich border areas, including the Abyei region.

Arms smuggling from Libya, and the future of the fight against al-Qaeda

Elycheikh By: Elycheikh Ahmed Telba

Smuggling weapons from Libya for the benefit of al-Qaeda is a serious threat for the entire region, especially sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab Maghreb. This is an outcome of the lack of security in Libya, which is a golden opportunity for al-Qaeda members and arms traffickers to smuggle weapons and strengthen their positions in the region…
Al-Qaeda members have seized this opportunity to enhance their local presence, and impose their agendas on the future through force and armed conflict. Several published studies and research papers assert that AQIM has close ties with rebel military gangs in sub-Saharan Africa, and with Polisario members who smuggle arms and sell drugs in the desert zone that includes Libya, Algeria, and Mauritania, and extends to the Republic of Mali…
Algeria is not the only country to sound the alarm about arms smuggling from Libya for AQIM; the United States also expressed its concerns during the negotiations that brought together a high-level U.S. delegation and Algerian officers in recent weeks. Russia is also concerned about reports it obtained on smuggling Strela missiles from Libya through the Algerian and Tunisian borders…
The Libyan-Algerian borders are wide enough to allow al-Qaeda to smuggle weapons, vehicles and missiles. The borderline between the two countries covers 1,000 kilometers of desert, which is difficult to monitor amidst the current war in Libya and the political tension in Algeria. According to some reports, 10,000 individual weapon pieces and 2,000 rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) have been smuggled since the outbreak of the Libyan war…
Almost all military and press reports state that Algeria is developing a military plan to face al-Qaeda’s smuggling gangs, and impose a security cordon around Dabdab in the Illizi province on the Algerian-Libyan border…
The desert is the source of this geostrategic problem threatening the entire Maghreb. The inability of most countries to secure their borders is encouraging secret organizations like AQIM to smuggle weapons and drugs across the desert…
It’s worth mentioning that the smuggled weapons are transported from Libya across the vast desert to the Malian city of Segu, about 240 kilometers from the capital Bamako. These confidential information drove Mauritania and Mali to face these gangs under a joint agreement aiming to enhance security and fight al-Qaeda whose position is strengthened in the region due to the lack of security, the Libyan civil war, and the post-revolution conditions in Tunisia and Egypt…
Maghreb countries and the international community should join efforts to put an end to al-Qaeda, which is taking advantage of the popular revolutions against dictatorships and the lack of security to smuggle weapons and cooperate with other terrorist organizations. This convergence between al-Qaeda and smuggling and drugs gangs will increase the threat of the organization in the Maghreb in the future…

A rebel makes the victory sign in August 24 2011Tunisian jet attacks arms smugglers near Libyan border

Tunisian military jets have attacked three vehicles loaded with weapons driving near the Libyan border.
The incident happened in a remote part of the Sahara desert where the borders of Libya, Tunisia and Algeria meet.
Reports suggest the cars were travelling from Libya to Algeria.
State media initially reported that all three vehicles were destroyed, but the Associated Press quoted an unnamed security official as saying one car had escaped into Algeria.
The two military planes were apparently on a routine flight and fired on the vehicles after being attacked.
Arms trafficking has exploded in the region since the fall of autocratic leaders in Libya and Tunisia last year.
Military hardware and small arms looted from the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's stockpiles have found their way on to the black market and are often trafficked through hard-to-police desert areas.
There have been several other clashes between Tunisian security forces and armed smugglers crossing the border from Libya and Algeria over the last year.
Venezuela Holds U.S. Vessel And Crew On Suspicion Of Arms Trafficking

Forbes ^ | 6 Sep 2012 | Christopher Helman, 

Posted on Thu Sep 06 2012 19:17:13 GMT-0600 (Mountain Daylight Time) by mandaladon

The Venezuelan government has seized a U.S. flagged ship and detained its captain for more than a week. The ship Ocean Atlas has been at port in Maracaibo, Venezuela since August 29. After four hours in port, the ship was boarded by armed security personel, and the captain was detained on suspicion of trafficking in arms or drugs. The rest of the crew of 16 Americans has remained on board under guard. According to a well-placed source arrest warrants have been issued for all of the crewmembers, who are to be taken off the ship for questioning.

Incredibly, my Forbes colleague Jeff Bercovici has been in touch over email with one of the crewmen, Russell Macomber, who has managed to post updates to his Facebook account while under detention. In a sardonic tone, he even relayed that when Venezuelan authorities raided the Ocean Atlas they stole cartons of cigarettes, ate the crew’s ice cream and let their dogs defecate on the deck. Macomber writes that he would like nothing more than an airdrop of Budweiser. Officials at the ship’s operator, Intermarine, did not immediately respond to Forbes’ requests for information. Nor did officials at American Maritime Officers, which is believed to have provided the crew for the ship. A spokeswoman at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington said she would look into the incident.

A spokesman for the Seafarers Union confirmed the seizure to Forbes and said, “The SIU is working feverishly to help resolve this situation and to ensure the safety of all mariners aboard the Ocean Atlas. We are staying in touch with the crew and will continue doing so.”

A U.S. Embassy official in Caracas also confirmed the incident to Reuters earlier today.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

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