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|How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by vedaxcool(m): 6:54pm On Apr 13, 2018|
Helios Global 5 years ago
Libya: Weapons Proliferation and Regional Stability in the Sahel
Libyan weapons have further militarized movements in Africa.
The 2011 fall of Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi and the subsequent breakdown in order in Libya, has been a major contributor to the instability plaguing large swaths of the Sahel region and Northwest Africa. In particular, the flow of weapons, such as a multitude of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and explosives, from liberated Libyan military stockpiles into the surrounding countries has galvanized existing political opposition currents, separatist movements, and transnational militant groups.
Much of the concern regarding the impact of weapons proliferation out of Libya emphasizes the potential threat of man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) falling into the hands of radical Islamist militant groups, such as al-Qaeda or one of its regional or international affiliates. In light of the persistent threat of international terrorism as it relates to commercial air travel, such concerns remain valid. Yet it has been the residual impact of the proliferation of SALW and explosives on regional stability and security, that has posed the most immediate threats to what is an already precarious political and security environment.
Mali, which has experienced severe unrest since January 2012 – including ethnic Tuareg-led insurrections, radical Islamist insurgency, and a military-led coup d’état – has been the most dramatic example of the region’s post-Qaddafi volatility; Chad and Niger have also been forced to deal with fallout from the Libyan revolt. Algeria has experienced a noticeable uptick of violence, including the January 2013 attack against the Tigantourine natural gas facility in Amenas in eastern Algeria along the Algerian-Libyan border. The attack at Amenas was orchestrated by militants associated with an offshoot of al-Qaeda’s North African affiliate, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), known as al-Mulathameen (The Masked Ones). Nigeria believes that radical Islamist militants affiliated with Boko Haram have also been emboldened by their access to Libyan arms. While lying outside of the geographic space that is the subject of this analysis, the increase in violence in Egypt’s Sinai region is also being partially attributed to the influx of smuggled Libyan arms into Egyptian territory.
To date, the proliferation of Libyan weapons has further militarized numerous existing political opposition and radical movements and afforded opportunities for other violent and irregular actors to pursue their own objectives. Qaddafi’s fall was followed by a troubled political transition that remains marred by violence between rival factions and militias, resulting in a power vacuum in one of the region’s most militarized states. As Libya struggles to consolidate its domestic political institutions and establish some semblance of law and order, SALW and explosives proliferation stemming from within its borders will continue unabated. Consequently, the countries lying within the Sahel and Northwest Africa will continue to have their security undermined by developments in Libya.
Libyan Weapons: Galvanizing Violence
Despite the concerns surrounding the disposition of Libya’s arsenal of MANPADS, there is no concrete evidence that any militants present in the region – radical Islamist or otherwise – have procured the weapons systems. Nevertheless, the potential threats associated with MANPADS continue to attract much of the attention in regards to proliferation. These worries were exacerbated by documents discovered in Libya in September 2011, indicating that Russia had provided Qaddafi with several hundred advanced – and unaccounted for – SA-24 “Grinch” surface-to-air missiles. In March 2011, Chad’s President Idriss Deby claimed that Libyan MANPADS had entered Chad and Niger. Malian officials echoed Deby’s claims. A number of unconfirmed reports circulated in regional media outlets claimed that various North African regional militant groups had acquired MANPADS in 2012 and 2013. Algerian officials reported in February 2013 that they confiscated numerous Russian surface-to-air missile systems in Algeria’s southern regions.
But it is the proliferation of more prosaic weapons systems – essentially a diverse array of SALW and explosives – that have most actively contributed to the recent wave of unrest and instability in the Sahel and Northwest Africa. An assortment of Libyan weapons started entering neighboring countries soon after the outbreak of civil war in Libya. In early 2011, assault rifles, ammunition, mortars, mines, and plastic explosives began crossing Libya’s borders into Algeria, Egypt, Niger, and Mali. In April 2011, regional media reports claimed that pickup trucks carrying arms, ammunition, and explosives from eastern Libya had crossed into Mali via Chad and Niger.
Since 2011, concerned officials have repeatedly claimed that Libyan weapons and stockpiles of plastic explosives are being distributed to militants in Niger, Algeria, Nigeria, and elsewhere. Established organized criminal and illicit trafficking networks traversing the Sahel’s ancient East-West trade routes, and associated networks that link the north to the south, are facilitating this trend. The porous borders throughout the territories in question also help ensure that the relative free flow of illicit trade continues unimpeded. The increasing availability of arms has also provided aspiring militants with the opportunity to establish their own fringe factions. Weapons traffickers are also benefiting from the additional sources of supply and increasingly diverse selections of arms.
Mali, Chad, and Niger
This is most evident in Mali. The political leadership in Bamako has long disenfranchised Mali’s Tuaregs, a nomadic population that is related to the indigenous Berber peoples of North Africa and the Sahel region. Qaddafi employed thousands of Tuareg mercenaries from Mail, Niger, and Chad to bolster the Libyan military while fortifying his own power base within the Libyan security apparatus. Following the collapse of his regime, the repatriation of these generally well trained, heavily armed, often battle hardened, and politicized Tuaregs remains a major challenge. In January 2012, a separatist Tuareg rebellion broke out in northern Mali. In March 2012, Malian military officers launched a coup against the government of President Amadou Toumani, in response to what they claimed was the mismanagement of the military with the rebellion. By April 2012, Tuareg rebels, allied with a variety of Islamist militants, had gained control of most of northern Mali, prompting a joint French-Malian military campaign to recapture the north in January 2013.
Despite French and Malian efforts, northern Mali remains a militant stronghold. Tuareg separatist groups such as the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), the Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA), and the Islamic Movement of Azawad (MIA) exist alongside – and increasingly clash with – regional Islamist extremist groups such as AQIM, the AQIM-affiliated Movement of Jihad and Oneness in West Africa (MUJAO), Ansar al-Dine (AAD), among others. For instance, MIA is a splinter group of AAD. The MIA broke from AAD in January 2013 and subsequently renounced its tactics and ties to AQIM. Similarly, MAA was formed as a secular alternative to the more Islamist-oriented MNLA. These groups – all of whom have benefitted from the influx of weapons from liberated Libyan caches – have created an atmosphere of ongoing violence in Mali, complicating the region’s prospects for stability.
The specter of anti-government violence also haunts Chad. The Union of Resistance Forces (UFR) threatened in March to renew its militant campaign against the Deby regime despite having agreed to lay down its arms in 2010. There has been speculation that arms from Libya have encouraged the UFR’s saber rattling, and Deby – who has survived multiple coups, including an alleged attempt by two generals and two legislators to take over the country this past May – has accused Libya of harboring UFR rebels.
Niger also faces an uncertain future in the wake of the Libyan collapse. In May, MUJAO militants launched a suicide bombing – the first attack of its kind in Niger – against a Nigerien army base and French uranium mine operated by Areva in northern Niger. The group claimed that the operation was designed to punish Niamey for deploying a contingent of peacekeepers to Mali. The attacks, which Niger claimed were launched from Libya, raised concerns in both Niger and Europe about the safety of Niger’s uranium deposits; France, which derives the majority of its electricity from nuclear power, receives about 40 percent of its uranium from Niger. Niger is also reported to possess significant oil deposits, and has a history of rebel-led violence directed at its uranium and oil sector. Since 2007, the Tuareg-based Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ) has threatened to attack oil and uranium operations in the country, unless Niamey provides the MNJ with a greater share of national energy revenues. MNJ has kidnapped Chinese and French workers at oil and uranium facilities, and many fear that the instability in Libya will provide the MNJ with additional resources and an increased operational capacity.
Organized Crime and Regional Smuggling Networks
As the number of militant groups in the region grows, the demand for weapons increases, bolstering the illicit trade networks that have existed alongside legitimate trade relationships in the region for years. The Sahel and Northwest Africa are focal points of arms trafficking since the 1990s, and since the early 2000s, narcotics trafficking – especially of cocaine and cannabis resin – has been on the rise. The region in question is widely touted as a global hub of narcotics trafficking that encompasses links to Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Europe. Organized criminal networks, which often incorporate networks of underpaid and corrupt government officials and regional security personnel, have exploited the growing instability to expand their operations, assisted by the flood of Libyan weapons into the region.
The current Tuareg separatist and radical Islamist-led violence in the Sahel and Northwest Africa is unlikely to recede in the near-term. The desperate poverty of the region, where drought and expanding desertification have ravaged the agrarian economy and frequent kidnappings have decimated the foreign tourist trade, provides few legitimate and viable employment opportunities to Tuareg mercenaries returning from years of service – and employment – in Libya. These populations have been ignored and marginalized by their governments for decades, resulting in extreme resentment and a steady process of politicization.
Qaddafi was in power for over 40 years, and his absence is being felt on many levels. Despite his government’s isolation from the larger Arab and Western worlds, the former Libyan army colonel actively cultivated close ties with his African neighbors to the south, using Libya’s considerable oil wealth to promote infrastructure development projects, broker peace deals, and provide employment to impoverished and disenfranchised minority groups. Libya’s new provisional government is unlikely – and largely unable – to continue Qaddafi’s policies towards Libya’s African neighbors, policies on which many of those neighbors had come to depend economically, politically, and socially. This, combined with the influx of Libyan SALW and explosives into the region and the subsequent strengthening of numerous anti-government and separatist militant groups, clouds the security, political, and economic outlook for the Sahel and Northwest Africa.
*[This article, originally published with the title, "Small Arms and Light Weapons Proliferation from Libya Threatens Stability in the Sahel and Northwest Africa," has been reproduced with the permission of Helios Global, Inc. Copyright 2013 Helios Global, Inc.]
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
Image: Copyright © Shutterstock. All Rights Reserved
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by SalamRushdie: 7:01pm On Apr 13, 2018|
So was it Libyan war that has stopped Buhari from carrying out arrest of herdsmen ?
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by Buharimustgo: 7:12pm On Apr 13, 2018|
Don't mind the no name yet for him, he just resumed after a long break at BMC,don't you know this op again,one of Buhari's zombies resident in Nairaland
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by Buharimustgo: 7:20pm On Apr 13, 2018|
Now question for this zombie Op,why is it that its only in Nigeria tgat has a religious bigot among west Aftican leaders that the so called Gaddafi men operate and kill defenseless masses with the help of the military?
I am sorry,other Nigerians are not Zombie like you,at the right time ,your lord and savior even the bigot will be voted out
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by SillyMods: 7:23pm On Apr 13, 2018|
OP, the children of hate, anger and frustration won't bother to even read the post let alone make any sense of it. They are permanently blind, deaf and dumb.
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|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by SternProphet: 7:25pm On Apr 13, 2018|
If your education was sound, you will understand that Ghana, Mali, Niger, Cameroon are also suffering this. However your education may be sound and you just allow your sentiments to get hold of you.
The NA is not helping to kill defenceless citizens.
What is there to gain by killing farmers?
Finally, get it straight. The world is going through tough times caused by doctrine, ideology, religion, oil and the overthrow of some world leaders. There is going to be consequences.
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|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by meccuno: 7:25pm On Apr 13, 2018|
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by Buharimustgo: 7:28pm On Apr 13, 2018|
BMC sighted,none of the countries u mentioned is suffering from anything, yours is a disjointed argument.
Why did the massacres start in large scale as soon as the bigot in chief came in?
Who proposed cattle colonies as compensation to the murderers?
We have urgent case of National security been thoroughly breached, yet the security forces and even DSS aren't jumping up and down to solve it the way they would have done normally to a trival issue.
Don't allow Religion becloud your sense of reasoning
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by saaron(m): 7:32pm On Apr 13, 2018|
When a topic suits their narrative (Buhari's APC govt), they repeatedly use it for their own convinience to confuse the public and hide their real agenda and deflect from the real problem.
According to buhari's evil logic, the massacres all over the place are activities of Gaddafi's hitmen from Libya, yet Cattle Colony (Fulani Territories) some how managed to creep out from nowhere as final solution to stop Libyans herdsmen right? Yesterday it was Anti Open Grazing Law, today is it Hitmen from Libya.
Lets see how far this destructive govt will go with their cover LIES!
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by SalamRushdie: 7:36pm On Apr 13, 2018|
So was it Ghaddafi that ordered our Air force to provide air support for the Libyan trained killers when they attacked the mambilla earlier this year? And was it Ghaddafi that ordered Buhari to create colonies for the Libyan trainees? Please help me with answers I need to learn from u
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by Turantula(m): 8:02pm On Apr 13, 2018|
SternProphet:Educated Illeterate and what did Ghana do to your fellow terrorists? Shoot @ sight. Have u heard from them since?
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by vedaxcool(m): 8:08pm On Apr 13, 2018|
Gbam, this article is actually 5 years old, wailing zombies when countered come up with a new excuse.
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by vedaxcool(m): 8:09pm On Apr 13, 2018|
Comprehension is still being thought in in Primary school I suggest you take a class.
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by lastmessenger: 8:10pm On Apr 13, 2018|
And when then the Gaddafi trained Libyans entered in Nigeria,they chose to cause mayhem only in Benue Taraba,Adamawa and plateau living behind kano kastina,sokoto and the other north west states. You guys are bunch of jokers. Let the killing continue. One day it will be all man to himself. Even the military will not be able to defend the country when it starts.
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by vedaxcool(m): 8:11pm On Apr 13, 2018|
Why did you leave out Zamfara? Liars everywhere
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by SalamRushdie: 8:13pm On Apr 13, 2018|
You should be ashamed of your self for trying to defend the indefensible which is that Buhari is 200 percent complicit in the current current Fulani herdsmen issue ..I don't know what your are trying to defend
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by lastmessenger: 8:17pm On Apr 13, 2018|
vedaxcool:can you address my question? Why is the headquarter of killers in Benue and north central states and why is the Fg trying to give them peoples land if really they are foreigners?
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by A7(m): 8:30pm On Apr 13, 2018|
Buhari made a factual statement, the weapons turned Libya and neighboring countries into hell holes, the violence witnessed is unprecedented, till this day raids were carried out, communities being displaced and militias operate with impunity.
Weapon procurement has become as easy as buying cigarettes, smuggling them into Nigeria is even easier with our porous borders.
The wailing, twisting of facts and accusing Buhari of passing the buck is totally unnecessary, insincere and reeks of desperation. The same charlatans making the accusations now are the same people/party whose President decry about Libya's crisis and its direct contribution in destabilizing other countries.
Amanpour: President Goodluck Jonathan thank you very much for joining me from Davos.
Let me go straight to the heart of the matter, today on capital hills Hillary Clinton is testifying about Libya and about militantism in the region and she identified Boko haram as the biggest threat to one of the most important countries namely your own. Do you see Boko haram as a major existential threat to Nigeria right now?
Gej: Definitely Boko haram if it is not contained it will be a threat not only to Nigeria but to west Africa, central Africa and of course to north Africa, because of course you know some elements of Boko haram link up with some of the Alqaedas operating in northern Mali and other north African countries. That is why the Nigerian govt is totally committed to work with other nationals, other friendly governments to make sure that we contain the problems in Mali. As you rightly said the issue of Libya try to create more problem in the sub region because when Gadhafi was dethroned and number of fighters looted weapons, these weapons enter into the hands of non-state actors and they are being used for criminal activities
It is pertinent to note that till Jonathan's defeat at the polls Boko haram still remains major existential threat to Nigeria, but because of its extensive attacks and incessant hostilities, banditry, rustling, militantism etc were eclipsed.
Today the narrative have changed, Boko haram were degraded and incapacitated, they no longer have the ability to raid major towns or hoist flags and declare control over a territory, they no longer launch daring attacks on military formations and overran communities. Their last resort which is kidnapping and targeting soft targets keeps dwindling everyday. The monster which metamorphosized from ragtag insurgents to fully fledged army defeating the Nigerian army under Pdp is finally tamed.
The worse form of violence this country suffered is during Pdp's rule because of incompetence and lack of leadership. As unfortunate as it is, the last Pdp president has denied that these vices confronting us today are as a result of bad leadership.
Amanpour: Do you believe that Boko haram is just a security threat to you or as some others believe that it is also about resisting misrule and corruption and that there needs to be a different or additional way of dealing with it other than just military.?
Gej: No no no, Boko haram is not as a result of misrule, definitely not, and sometimes people felt that it is as a result of poverty, definitely not, Boko haram is a local terror group.
The Buhari they so love to hate has this to say in the same Gadhafi comment.
"The problem is not religious, but sociological and economic. But we are working on solutions."
That's right, he is addressing issues of banditry, rustling, militantism, terrorism e.t.c, giving maximum priority, tact and employing viable and effective ways for lasting solutions. His offense is defeating hordes of thieves at the polls, and revamping an economy and people they impoverish, to stage a comeback these thieves are now using every means no matter how ridiculous to blackmail and smear in a futile attempt of discrediting him.
Buhari will succeed Insha Allah, no evil fashioned/wished against Nigeria by any pilfering vagabond will prosper.
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|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by vedaxcool(m): 8:33pm On Apr 13, 2018|
Why did you leave out Zamfara aren't people being killed there as well?
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by CowHard: 8:35pm On Apr 13, 2018|
Na Gadaffi kill people for Jos during the Jo's killings and other herdsmen killings.....
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by vedaxcool(m): 8:37pm On Apr 13, 2018|
Just as GEJ was also complicit each time so called herdsmen attacked right? And besides was he also in support of the herdsmen agenda when he became their grand patron? Like I said take a comprehension class and stop humiliating yourself!
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|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by vedaxcool(m): 8:38pm On Apr 13, 2018|
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by lastmessenger: 9:00pm On Apr 13, 2018|
vedaxcool:so your concern is that I did not include zamfara? I'm done with you.
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by vedaxcool(m): 9:18pm On Apr 13, 2018|
Good, hope you are done being dishonest and divisive.
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by obonujoker(m): 10:02pm On Apr 13, 2018|
Lol... Vedaxcool has resumed his BMC duties... ..
So keep them coming..........
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by adadike(f): 11:01pm On Apr 13, 2018|
Why are you defending evil and wickedness like this? Was it not the same Bubu that ask Benue folks to accommodate killer herdsmen?
|Re: How Libyan War Led To Proliferation Of Weapons In Sahel Africa by SalamRushdie: 11:07pm On Apr 13, 2018|
end of discussion jare
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