Sunday, October 02, 2011

Libya's Missing Missiles

The good news is that the new guys in Libya have accounted for about 15,000 SA-7 missiles from Gaddafi's arsenal.   The bad news is that Gaddafi was known to have 20,000 of the damned things and no one seems to have any idea where the missing 5,000 have gone.

Meet "Strella", the SA-7, shoulder-fired surface to air missile:

It's not nearly as sophisticated as the American "Stinger" missile but it does pretty much the same thing.  It shoots down low-flying airplanes, especially the slow-flying ones taking off or landing.  It's considered ineffective against combat jets but it does better when targeting helicopters or civilian aircraft.

A Libyan general in charge of securing his country's arsenal said, "Unfortunately, some of these missiles could have fallen into the wrong hands ...abroad."

It is precisely this sort of fallout from the protracted NATO bombing campaign that reveals why it was essential that Gaddafi was toppled quickly months ago.   That could have been easily done had America pressured the Egyptian military to send its vastly superior forces across the Libyan border to drive on to Tripoli.   That war should have been over in less than two weeks.

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