…is about what we got into in Libya. By waiting until the tiny sliver of the opposition that had something in common with American values had been exterminated by the ruthless regime, and until the only functional opposition remaining was hard-core Islamist, we’re going to be sending arms that will be used against Americans and our allies, not only by these groups and all their islamist-warrior pals, but also by moslem terrorists.
The unintended consequences of the foreign policy of dithering-away-any-advantage in Libya are what our allies, the French, are dealing with in Mali, and it’s pretty ugly. Qaddhafi’s tens of thousands of MANPADS are turning up in terrorist hands in the poor, bedraggled, and now war-torn African nation. So far, nos amis have captured a launch tube, a battery, and several copies of an Arabic-language manual covering all the major Russian MANPADS. A story based on AP reporting:
The manual… adds to evidence for the weapon found by French forces during their land assault in Mali earlier this year, including the discovery of the SA-7′s battery pack and launch tube, according to military statements and an aviation official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to comment.
The knowledge that the terrorists have the weapon has already changed the way the French are carrying out their five-month-old offensive in Mali. They are using more fighter jets rather than helicopters to fly above its range of 1.4 miles (2.3 kilometers) from the ground, even though that makes it harder to attack the jihadists. They are also making cargo planes land and take off more steeply to limit how long they are exposed, in line with similar practices in Iraq after an SA-14 hit the wing of a DHL cargo plane in 2003.
The Malian terrorists, “Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb” as they style themselves, were training international terrorists to attack aircraft with the SA-7 missile. The elderly SA-7 was ineffective against military aircraft even in the 1980s, and so it’s probable that this training was intended to facilitate terror attacks on civil jetliners.
In Timbuktu, SA-7 training was likely part of the curriculum at the ‘Jihad Academy’ housed in a former police station, said Jean-Paul Rouiller, director of the Geneva Center for Training and Analysis of Terrorism, one of three experts who reviewed the manual for AP. It’s located less than 3 miles (5 kilometers) from the Ministry of Finance’s Budget Division building where the manual was found.
Neighbors say they saw foreign fighters running laps each day, carrying out target practice and inhaling and holding their breath with a pipe-like object on their shoulder. The drill is standard practice for shoulder-held missiles, including the SA-7.
Here’s the manual in question: http://hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/_international/_pdfs/al-qaida-papers-dangerous-weapon.pdf
The manual does note that the weapon has a secondary military use, even if it does not destroy many aircraft. It does change their flight profiles, causing them to fly higher and degrading air support to ground troops.