There has been a civil war going on in Libya since 2014. When Muammar Gaddafi was killed in 2011, there was a revolution for less than a year, and a government was established. A new government was elected in 2014, but there were controversies surrounding that election. There has been a civil war in Libya ever since.
On June 28th, The New York Times reported the following:
Libyan government fighters discovered a cache of powerful American missiles, usually sold only to close American allies, at a captured rebel base in the mountains south of Tripoli this week.
The article notes that America supports the current government of Libya. Gen. Khalifa Hifter and his forces are waging a military campaign to overthrow the current government and take over Libya. So where did the American weapons, to be used against a government America supports, come from?
The article notes:
Markings on the missiles’ shipping containers indicate that they were originally sold to the United Arab Emirates, an important American partner, in 2008.
If the Emirates transferred the weapons to General Hifter, it would likely violate the sales agreement with the United States as well as a United Nations arms embargo.
Both the State Department and Defense Department are investigating how the weapons wound up in Libya.
The article continues:
“We take all allegations of misuse of U.S. origin defense articles very seriously,” a State Department official said in a statement. “We are aware of these reports and are seeking additional information. We expect all recipients of U.S. origin defense equipment to abide by their end-use obligations.”
The United States supports United Nations-led efforts to broker a peaceful solution to the Libyan crisis, the official added.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Defense declined to comment further on the matter.
The United Arab Emirates ambassador to Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, declined to answer questions about the provenance of the missiles.
Finally, the article notes some interesting contradictions in those who support of the current regime and the rebels:
When General Hifter started his assault on Tripoli on April 4, in the face of much international opposition, the Emiratis continued to support him. They supplied a Russian-made surface-to-air missile system, Chinese-made Wing Loong combat drones and Emirati drones, said a senior Western official with knowledge of the arms trade.
Jordan, another American ally to side with General Hifter, sent a Jordanian-made anti-tank system known as Nashshab, the official said.
Turkey, a regional rival of the United Arab Emirates, intervened on the other side of the fight, sending combat drones and armored vehicles to help the United Nations-backed government in Tripoli.
The United States supports the Tripoli government, which it helped install. However, President Trump appeared to endorse General Hifter and his military drive after the two men spoke by telephone in April, hailing his “significant role in fighting terrorism.”
Other American officials later rowed back that position by stressing American support for the United Nations-led political process.
The foreign interventions, which flout a United Nations embargo on all arms sales to Libya, highlight how the conflict set off by the ouster of Libya’s longtime dictator, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, in 2011 has partly devolved into a proxy conflict between rival regional powers.
I would just like to note that civil wars are nasty, and it is foolish for outsiders to get involved in them. It really doesn’t sound as if the current government in Libya is the one we should be supporting.