Nobody Knows Who Has Control of Libya's Deadliest Weapons

The Libyan rebels are winning. But nobody knows who has control of Libya's massive stockpile of chemical weapons and nuclear material. Wait, what?

The AP has an extremely troubling report this morning. In areas that are still being contested, we have no idea what's going on or who has control over what weapons. 30,000 shoulder-fired rockets. 11 metric tons of mustard gas. Raw uranium yellowcake. And we're not entirely sure who they belong to right now.

It's thought that what remains of Gadhafi's government currently controls the lion's share of those materials. We hope that he will honor his pact not to use or distribute them, but there's a terrifying possibility that as he's being ousted he could decide to go down in a blaze of glory (Bon Jovi style). Or he could sell them to terrorists. Or terrorists could come take them if they aren't being extremely well-guarded. While our satellites, drones, and spy-planes are doing their best to keep an eye on everything, it's a bit like herding cats (if cats could explode and kill you).

It's important to note that the yellowcake is unenriched uranium and not explosive in its present form. The worry is that it could be sold to someone who has the resources to enrich and weaponize it. Mustard gas is extremely deadly and horrible, though, and ground-to-air rockets can do considerable damage. Here's hoping security forces are using some top-secret spy jujitsu they can't tell us about to keep a closer watch over things than it sounds like they are. [AP]

Image credit: Associated Press


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