Thursday, September 8, 2011

This Is Going To Bite Us In The Ass Someday

Libyan missiles looted
A potent stash of Russian-made surface-to-air missiles is missing from a huge Tripoli weapons warehouse amid reports of weapons looting across war-torn Libya.

They are Grinch SA-24 shoulder-launched missiles, also known as Igla-S missiles, the equivalent of U.S.-made Stinger missiles.

Grinch SA-24s are designed to target front-line aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and drones. They can shoot down a plane flying as high as 11,000 feet and can travel 19,000 feet straight out.

(Libyan) Fighters aligned with the National Transitional Council (NTC) and others swiped armaments from the storage facility ... There are also empty boxes for another surface-to-air missile, the SA-7 ... the same pattern (is found) in armories looted elsewhere in Libya ... "in every city we arrive, the first thing to disappear are the surface-to-air missiles."

"We are talking about some 20,000 surface-to-air missiles in all of Libya, and I've seen cars packed with them" ... "They could turn all of North Africa into a no-fly zone."
Or Europe, or the U.S.
Gen. Carter Ham, chief of U.S. Africa Command, has said he's concerned about the proliferation of weapons, most notably the shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles. He said there were about 20,000 in Libya when the international operation began earlier this year and many of them have not been accounted for.

"That's going to be a concern for some period of time," he said in April.

Gilles de Kerchove, the European Union counterterrorism coordinator, raised concerns Monday about the possibility that al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, based in North Africa, could gain access to small arms, machine guns and surface-to-air missiles.

Western officials worry that weapons from the storage sites will end up in the hands of militants or adversaries like Iran.
IMO it's not if, it's when.
The governments of neighboring Niger and Chad have both said that weapons from Libya are already being smuggled into their countries, and they are destined for al Qaeda. They include detonators and a plastic explosive called Semtex. Chad's president said they include SA-7 missiles.
The only question is whether the weapons will be used against military targets, or civilian.

Or both...

Programming Note: Yesterday I was riveted to the TV watching an excellent National Geographic program: "Inside 9/11 - War on America." It did a superb job of detailing the events leading up to the attacks on that fateful day. It was straightforward reporting, free of political or ideological commentary - a lost art these days. For that alone it should be commended. It's part of NatGeo's series on Remembering 9/11. I highly recommend it.

The entire series will be shown sequentially beginning at noon eastern time Sunday, September 11, on National Geographic TV, culminating with the G. W. Bush 9/11 Interview.

It's a big chunk of the day, and it will be emotionally wrenching, but it's the type of high-quality reporting and programming that is so seldom seen these days. Watch it if you can, record it if you can't, or buy the DVDs.

And never forget...


JT said...

We recorded the Bush interview and have been watching many of the other Nat Geo 9/11 shows. We hadn't really given much thought to the fact that our 8-year old has always grown up hearing about 9/11, but watching those shows was her first real exposure to the horror of the day.

Old NFO said...

SA-7's are bad enough, SA-24's getting out there in large quantities are going to be a REAL issue... These can bring ANY airport/aircraft under fire either on takeoff or landing from well beyond the perimeter!!!

kerrcarto said...

They would never use them to shoot down an Israeli passenger jet, never I tell ya'.

CenTexTim said...

Like Old NFO says, the 24's are a threat to just about any plane. What I worry about is the increased use of SA-7's against helicopters. We might see more of them brought down, like the one recently carrying that SEAL team.

Another problem that the article mentioned, but didn't emphasize, is the large number of mortar and artillery shells that have been taken. That translates into more, and bigger, IEDs. I was in an armored division and have a lot of respect for the damage a 155mm shell can do.