A former Libyan intelligence official, who happens to be a cousin of the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi, warns that the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS) has captured Libya’s chemical weapons stockpile.
“It is no secret that these gasses exist in Libya. They have taken it. To be fair, IS is not the only one,” Ahmad Qadhaf al-Dam said in an Egyptian TV interview, translated by The Middle East Media Research Institute.
The Times of Israel notes that al-Dam’s warning is consistent with claims from other Libyan sources, who warned in early 2015 that various extremist militias had discovered secret stashes of chemical weapons at forgotten military bases.
On paper, Libya committed to destroying its chemical inventory in 2014. Al-Dam describes that agreement as a “smart maneuver” to trick the West into lifting sanctions.
Al-Dam believes other militia groups might be sitting on weapons of mass destruction inventories looted from Gaddafi’s secret bases, but ISIS is actually using them. In fact, he claimed it was common knowledge in his circle that Libyan chemical weapons had been smuggled to Syria and deployed by the Islamic State, with the Assad regime falsely blamed for some of the attacks.
Other chemical strikes in Syria have been more convincingly pinned on the Islamic State, including a possible mustard gas attack on Kurdish Peshmerga fighters over the summer. These attacks were reportedly carried out using chemical munitions that ISIS looted from the Syrian military.