Who arms jihadi terrorists? Sometimes, it’s us

Way back on December 5, the NY Times covered a somewhat embarrassing situation that they didn’t want to talk about, for some strange reason, the month before: our brilliant leadership-from-behind on Libya resulted in tons of modern weapons going to Al-Qaeda affiliates, and other sharia-compliant jihadis who might as well be.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration secretly gave its blessing to arms shipments to Libyan rebels from Qatar last year, but American officials later grew alarmed as evidence grew that Qatar was turning some of the weapons over to Islamic militants, according to United States officials and foreign diplomats.

via U.S.-Approved Weapons Transfer Ended Up With Libyan Jihadis – NYTimes.com.

The weapons included small arms, crew-served weapons, and light rockets and missiles such as RPGs, anti-tank guided missiles, and anti-aircraft missiles of European and Asian manufacture.

The great panjandrums of American foreign policy, slick and shallow academics (say, Tom Donilon) and sleek and bitchy practitioners of fashionable ivory-tower antisemitism (Susan Rice, come on down), were surprised that if you channel aid through a corrupt monarchy in bed with Islamist extremists, the aid will go to the extremists. Think about that one for a minute, and how you might have evaluated those potential outcomes, given that fact pattern.

So you see why you are not a great panjandrum of American foreign policy.

Now, the press is discovering that, mirabile dictu, the Syrian secular-humanist-committed-parliamentarian-democracy-oriented-freedom-fighters are turning out to be — who could have seen this coming? — Al-Qaeda affiliates, and other sharia-compliant jihadis.

So, we know that tons of the hardware conveniently surplus to the Libya rising are being repurposed to export terror and death south in Africa, where the French are fighting a Libyan-terrorist-sponsored Islamist mob in Mali. And we can expect that once the long and messy process of extremists ousting Bashar Assad is over, the leftover hardware from that terroristan will also export itself throughout the region.

And when the regional arms stocks are at saturation, if they’re not already? Those weapons you bought and paid for will be coming soon to a terrorist attack near you.

Fortunately, there is one bright light in all of this: Boy Assad is hanging on to his head firmly enough, that the jihadis may have to expend a lot of their ordnance before they pluck it off of him.

Meanwhile the clueless, monoglot credentialed-but-uneducated mandarins of the foreign policy establishment will be sitting in NCS meetings assuring one another, “Unpossible! They’re just like us. Why, they tweet.

Lord love a duck.

5 thoughts on “Who arms jihadi terrorists? Sometimes, it’s us

  1. neutrino_cannon

    You’d think they would have learned by now.

    The history of US-supplied weapons for insurgency groups is a fascinating topic, albeit somewhat difficult to research. From the liberator to the deer hunter to the Hillberg Insurgency Weapon, a weapon which was just made for action movies, the State Department and CIA have tried a lot of wacky stuff.

    The most interesting research I’ve ever come across was a proposal to make small arms ammo that had some sort of bacteria or fungus spores mixed in with the primer and/or propellant. After a fixed amount of time, the spores would become active and ruin the round of ammunition, thus lessening the chance of it eventually ending up in the wrong hands. I don’t know if this ever progressed to a practical state. The idea sounds iffy to me, although it does at least show that someone was aware of the fact that small arms are durable and fungible and could conceivably end up places you don’t want them to. You know, unlike the current pack of idiots.

    Another thing I’ve read is that FIM-92s have a compressed argon canister that’s used to pre-cool the IR sensor before firing. After a few years, this canister goes flat, thus rendering whole thing useless. That sounds more like a design oversight than a deliberate attempt to give the system a shelf life so insurgents couldn’t bite the hand that fed them later down the road. Indeed, there are people banging together AKs in the Khyber Pass. Refilling a canister with compressed gas might not be beyond them.

    1. Hognose Post author

      That’s a great meme, but actually we never funded Bin Laden (he was worth $51MM, he didn’t need it). We did fund 7 jihadi groups including both effective ones (NIFA, Haqqani) and ineffective ones keeping their powder dry for the war after the war (Hekmatayar). Worse, we let the ISI serve as our intermediary, so they channeled all the resources to the most orthodox Islamist parties (again, one of the most effective was the NIFA royalists, and ISI cut them off). Supposedly the reason was to put a “brown Moslem face” on the aid.

      The OSS had a shotgun that was made of six or so parts including screws. You put the 12-ga shell in the seamless steel tube. It slid freely inside the receiver which had a fixed firing pin, like a mortar. You slam the tube home, and BANG. IF your Jap was not dead and willing to give up his gun yet, you knocked the fired shell out with a stick and went round again.

      I did spend some time and effort trying to find and repatriate Stingers. Yes, one of the reasons it was more effective than Gen 1 weapons like SA-7 Strela, Blowpipe and Redeye is that effective pre-cooling of the seeker head (first used in some mark of AIM-9). The batteries also have a finite shelf life in controlled storage. ISI had really dribbled the Stingers out and was still believed to hold some of them, although they of course denied it. When entrepreneurial Afghans discovered that we were paying cash for MANPADS, that quickly dried up the supply of shit-state SA-7s and leftover Stingers and Blowpipes. So they started importing new SA-7 knockoffs (HN-5) from China to sell to us at a profit.

      1. neutrino_cannon

        Heh, just the same as every gun buy back ever then, I suppose. You find the cheapest junk you can, and flip it around for a profit.

        And yes, it’s my understanding that the Reagan-era supplied weapons and training wasn’t particularly important to the current enemy. For starters, a lot of it ended up with the Northern Alliance, and for another thing it’s not like the Russians, Chinese, and assorted small-time blacksmiths in Pakistan are slouches at gun running either. Still, for all the noise that was made about it during the Bush Administration, you’d think people would remember that shipping weapons to unstable parts of the world is a strategy with extremely unpredictable outcomes.

        But that is, of course, the problem; they could literally only remember the lesson as long as it was politically expedient to do so. The part of the human brain responsible for sober thinking is entirely subordinate to the part of the human brain responsible for tribal groupthink. Truly, man’s powers of self-deception are extraordinary.

Comments are closed.