Friday, June 22, 2012

U.S. fears flow of sophisticated arms into Syria

(Reuters) - As evidence mounts of Islamic militant forces among the Syrian opposition, senior U.S. and European officials are increasingly alarmed by the prospect of sophisticated weapons falling into the hands of rebel groups that may be dangerous to Western interests, including al Qaeda. (is this not what Assad has been saying all this time?)

In an interview with Reuters, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta articulated U.S. worries that shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, also known as MANPADS, could find their way onto the Syrian battlefield.

Intelligence experts believe that hundreds, if not thousands, of such weapons were looted from arsenals accumulated by late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and are floating on the Middle East black market.

"I think it's fair to say that we have a concern about the MANPADS coming out of Libya," Panetta said in the Thursday interview. "We've had an ongoing view that it was important to try to determine where these MANPADS were going, not only the concern that some of them might wind up in Syria but elsewhere as well," he said. Read More