A major story about the escalating war in Syria was overshadowed by news of the al Qaeda attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi. Three days after that attack, The Times (UK) carried a story that a Libyan freighter loaded with stolen SA-7 antiaircraft missiles had offloaded at a Turkish port.
That September 14 article was captioned,“Syrian rebels squabble over weapons as biggest shipload arrives from Libya.”
Meanwhile, ABC has reported that one of three Americans killed with Ambassador Stevens was part of group assigned to locate these looted Libyan MANPADS, shoulder-fired missiles that can be used to shoot down airliners.
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The Times report states that a Libyan ship, 'The Intisaar', docked at the Turkish port of Iskenderun after "papers stamped by the port authority” were issued to “the ship's captain, Omar Mousaeeb." Mousaeeb is identified as "a Libyan from Benghazi and the head of an organization called the Libyan National Council for Relief and Support," reportedly delivering supplies to armed opposition groups in Syria.
If accurate, that account provides some of the most solid, detailed evidence yet of how the Eastern Libyan city of Benghazi has become the North African supply hub for weapons and foreign fighters arriving for regime change operations in Syria. This has been happening right under the nose of U.S. diplomatic and intelligence officers posted in Benghazi. The late Ambassador, Chris Stevens, arrived in Benghazi aboard a freighter in April 2011, and promptly set up shop coordinating Islamic militia groups in the overthrow of Muammar Gadhaffi’s regime.
According to the article, there were 400 tons of weapons, including an unspecified number of hand-held anti-aircraft missiles, aboard the ship. This is merely the largest in a number of weapons shipments that have arrived in Turkey with the seemingly coordination and complicity by Turkish authorities.
After the overthrow of the Libyan government, huge weapons stockpiles were looted and went unaccounted for. The Times quotes Libyan officials that "more than 5,000 of the missiles had vanished." The article references an incident earlier this year in which a Libyan ship carrying "a large consignment of Libyan weapons, including PRGs and heavy ammunition," was seized by the Lebanese authorities in Lebanon’s northern territorial waters.
U.S. officials have repeatedly stated concern that advanced weaponry from Libyan stockpiles, such as MANPADS, have not been accounted for. It was reported that one of the reasons for the continued presence of the Ambassador and the large CIA station in Benghazi are concerns about militant groups outside of Libya obtaining these weapons. In fact, a retired Navy Seal who died with the Ambassador stated to ABC that he was in Libya on a mission to locate these missiles. See, ABC, The Blotter, American Killed in Libya was ON Intel Mission to Track Weapons, http://abcnews.go.com/...
One of the Americans killed alongside Ambassador Christopher Stevens in an attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya Tuesday told ABC News before his death that he was working with the State Department on an intelligence mission to round up dangerous weapons in the war-torn nation.
In an interview with ABC News last month, Glen Doherty, a 42-year-old former Navy SEAL who worked as a contractor with the State Department, said he personally went into the field to track down so-called MANPADS, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, and destroy them.
It would seem that such efforts to prevent the export of MANPADS from Libya, if The Times and ABC are correct, has not been successful.
See, related, http://www.dailykos.com/...