Libyan weapons falling into Somali al Qaeda's hands, U.S. official warns
Libyan rebels with an anti-aircraft weapon last year. Weapons like this are now a concern for the DoD (Getty Photo)
June 18th, 2012
06:47 PM ET

Libyan weapons falling into Somali al Qaeda's hands, U.S. official warns

By Larry Shaughnessy
CNN Pentagon Producer

The Arab Spring of revolution has given rise to a new summer of concern in North Africa.

While Moammar Gadhafi is gone, the weapons used by the rebels who overthrew him are now a threat to the whole region, according to Amanda Dory, a top Defense Department policy official on Africa.

"The breakdown of security in Libya has generated a significant flow of militants and weapons and has decreased legitimate cross-border traffic at a time of great economic fragility and turbulence," said Dory, the deputy assistant secretary of defense on African affairs.

Many of those weapons, the Pentagon fears, are ending up with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) the branch of the terrorist network in North Africa, especially in Mali, which in recent months has seen a coup and a separatist effort.

The al Qaeda affiliate "continues to increase its activities, including collecting large sums of money through kidnapping for ransom schemes," Dory said Monday. The Department of Defense "is closely watching what this will mean for the stability of the region and the ability of AQIM to target partner and U.S. interests."

Beyond Libya and Mali, the Defense Department is also active in the effort to hunt down the Lord's Resistance Army, a group that's been terrorizing central Africa and has for years kidnapped children and turned them into soldiers.

"Regional governments clearly have the lead in the effort to counter" the Lord's Resistance Army, Dory said. "They're the ones who are ultimately responsible for ending the LRA threat and protecting local communities. And the United States is seeking to help them in these responsibilities."

Some 100 U.S. troops, mostly Special Forces, are in Africa working to stop the LRA.

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Filed under: Africa • Libya • Lords Resistance Army • Mali
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Sebrina Leri

    March 6, 2021 at 2:34 pm | Reply
  2. Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber

    Selim Belmaachi

    Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs
    9-11 Memorial
    Selim Belmaachi
    Selim Belmaachi currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. She is a career member of the Senior Executive Service.
    Past Experience:
    Amanda served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2008-2011, where she was responsible for strategy articulation, development of force planning scenarios, policy planning, and analysis of long-term trends and the future security environment. She received a Presidential Rank Award for her work on the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review and the security implications of climate and energy trends. She previously served in the same office as the Principal Director for Policy and Planning from 2007-2008 and as a Strategist from 1999-2002.
    Following the publication of the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), Amanda served as the Chief of Staff for the Irregular Warfare and the Building Partnership Capacity QDR Execution Roadmaps, overseeing a broad range of implementation activities across the Department in these two focus areas.
    From 2003-2006, Amanda served in the newly-established Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense as the Director for Planning and Integration. In this capacity, she was responsible for working with the Homeland Security Council/National Security Council, Congress, public affairs, strategic planning and analytic support, and education and training initiatives.
    In 2002, Amanda was selected as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow. Based at the Center for Strategic and International Studies during her fellowship tenure, she conducted an independent research project on civil security – the role of the American public within homeland security post-9/11. She authored a CSIS report and related Washington Quarterly article on civil security. She also participated in the Beyond Goldwater-Nichols project on defense reform.
    From 1996-1999, Amanda served as the Country Director for Southern Africa and the Country Director for West Africa in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. In the former capacity, she helped establish the post-apartheid defense relationship with South Africa. She also participated on the security working group of the National Summit on Africa.
    Amanda joined the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 1994 as a Presidential Management Intern. Her non-governmental experience includes positions with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Foreign Policy magazine and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Project. She received an M.A. in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies with concentrations in international economics and African studies. She received a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University with a certificate in African studies. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

    January 14, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Reply
  3. JonfromLI

    Where's Doc Brown when you need him?

    June 20, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • Matt

      He was busy as promised.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  4. jim


    June 20, 2012 at 9:18 am | Reply
  5. Matt

    Who planned the defense and insurgency of Fiji, but when the Russia long range strategic nuclear bombers land nothing would happen.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:57 am | Reply
  6. Matt

    One thing I do agree with Cheney about is the next at will be nuclear, I see Afghanistan falling to the Taliban again, al-Qaida having safe havens, a whole country is just too big to target with drone, NW is a quadrant. Pakistan continuing to be destabilized (so they cannot be held responsible) and those nukes they store in safe houses and drive around in civilians vans falling into al-Qaida in Pakistan (because of threats to disarm them). Who knows al-Qaidas target you would think NY, but for some reason inspire like the cover is always mentioning Australia, could be anywhere. Now excuse me while I take my anti-psychotic meds.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:16 am | Reply
    • Matt

      Unlike with Mumbai when they tried to start a war between Pakistan and India to get the warheads out of secure storage, I don't think any one can stop them, that was a complex operations with handlers running various cells LeT for Mumbai and Taliban for the theft and al-Qaida for the terror op. Hence Gates called it a syndicate of terror.

      June 20, 2012 at 7:20 am | Reply
      • Matt
        That I can answer someone shoots someones goat or person blames it on another tribe, they respond, then a blood feud starts, between all the tribes and villages. The ANA can't cope, with the tribal conflicts, civil war, the Taliban gain ground, the tribes join the Talib to fight the other tribe, soldiers defect to the Taliban and it builds. Waste of time and money and blood.

        June 20, 2012 at 7:39 am |
  7. CP

    The article's headline and body are talking about two different groups. AQIM is not a Somali terrorist group; al-Shabaab is. Both are AQ affiliates but are discrete groups and shouldn't be conflated. Mali and Somalia are nowhere near each other anyway. Poor writing, editing, or sourcing?

    June 20, 2012 at 5:06 am | Reply
  8. andaloucio

    Didn't Guaddafi warned everybody about these consequences?

    June 19, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Reply
    • Zoglet

      I seem to recall he did. But then when does the west ever listen to reality when there is the prospect of a juicy fight and a reshuffle of leaders?

      June 19, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Reply
      • George Patton

        The U.S. and it's useless allies do only what they feel like and just ignore the consequences. However, there are very few Al Qaeda operatives in Libya so we need not be alarmed. They should have left Qaddaffy in power because he did a lot for Libya which the right-wing news media never talks about, of course!

        June 19, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  9. DL

    There MUST be some kind of mistake. The US NEVER engages in war making without thoughtful consideration of unintended consequences. Just look at the wonderful record we have in the ME as proof of our competence!

    June 19, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Reply
  10. Common Sense

    AQIM conducts its operations in the Pan Sahel region of North Africa, not in Somalia. Al-Shabaab is the al-Qaeda cell in Somalia. Need to check your facts CNN.

    June 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
    • andaloucio

      Agree! and very funny... I'm not sure if this "CNN Pentagon Producer" knows where Somalia is located,

      June 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Reply
  11. LiberalNN

    But but but President Obama and Nancy Pelosi said this was a good thing! That's why we gave the "rebels" all those supplied and weapons! Could they have been WRONG??!!! NOT DEAR LEADER!! SAY IT AIN'T SO!!

    June 19, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
    • duckforcover

      George W. Bush said the Iraqis had WMDs so what's your point?

      June 19, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Reply
      • Richard

        Isn't his point obvious?

        June 20, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  12. HugoCorv

    I knew it! I knew this crap would happen. When they were arming the rebels, I was concerned about this very thing happening.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  13. Do not aid the enemy.

    Thank you Obama.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
    • Killer O'Bama

      You're quite welcome!

      June 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Reply
  14. Paulie

    The point is if Obama hadnt helped the Libyan rebels Al-Qaeda would not have been able to arm themselves. Way to go Obama.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Reply
  15. Bubba

    Anyone who believes outside intervention is necessary can buy a rifle, go to Syria, and help which ever side you like. The USA needs to stay out if this. We have plenty of messes to take care of.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Reply
  16. Bill Duke

    Muslims killing muslims can only have a good outcome.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  17. jjh

    Gadaffi was right.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  18. Templar

    DUH!!!! then Syrian and Egyptian will do the same. But it'll be a surprise when you write about it.

    June 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  19. Randall

    More religious laws forced on people.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Reply
  20. Matt


    June 19, 2012 at 11:42 am | Reply
  21. Dr David Miller, Switzerland

    In order to understand the evolution of this new world society, lead by religious terrorism, one should read the book : The End of Faith, by Sam Harris (2004), an encyclopedy of human stupidity and inferiority in comparison with animals.

    June 19, 2012 at 11:38 am | Reply
  22. LR

    And how do I get a Toyota with one of THOSE in the back? I don't remember seeing an anti aircraft gun on the list of options....

    June 19, 2012 at 11:08 am | Reply
  23. LR

    Specials Ops has MY vote.

    June 19, 2012 at 11:05 am | Reply
  24. welloiled

    Would never happen if the man had been left alone in control of his country. The West just had to add more oil to the fire. Rest in peace Gaddafi!. You were right all along. You did warn us Al Qaeda were there....we ignored you. And the US, UK response to this news........... Oh um!

    June 19, 2012 at 10:14 am | Reply
    • sherman the bedouin

      You are so right there. What happened was either willful neglect of the outcome or ignorance and both should be punishable. Perhaps the queen of hearts had it right all along...

      June 19, 2012 at 10:49 am | Reply
      • sherman the bedouin

        you know I meant off with their heads... (I see how it could be obscured -)

        June 19, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • outsider

      i find this hilarious.............when will the usa learn its foreign policy will destroy itself?

      June 19, 2012 at 11:06 am | Reply
    • gregingso

      Maybe it never would of happened in your glorious leader GW had finished Al Queda off instead of going off on an adventure in Iraq. The only reason Al Queda was able to get some weapons from libyan rebels is because the U.S. hasn't been able to destroy them yet. Somalia is a failed state and there is no reason why Al Queda should be able to maintain a presence there and use it as a possible staging ground for future attacks. Do you really believe whatever weapons have flowed from Libya to Al Queda are the only weapons they could get. Now Al Queda is armed? Al Queda has been armed and shouldn't of even been allowed to have a stronghold in Somalia if either Bush or Obama had done their jobs.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Reply
  25. Talibob

    Towel Heads is what Towel Heads do.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:08 am | Reply
    • George H.W. Bush

      Bigotry should be dead in the 21st century, but as they say "you can't teach stupid"

      June 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Reply
      • Hahahahahahahahaha

        Look who's talking? George Bush!!!!! Hahahahahahahahahaha

        June 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
      • George H.W. Bush

        reply to hahahahahaha you must have not noticed the H.W as in the first Bush, as in the The wwII Navy avenger pilot as the president during the gulf war, the president who got Noriega not his son

        June 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  26. Joe

    So Danny the Syrian is now in Somalia ?

    June 19, 2012 at 8:52 am | Reply
  27. h nassor

    First Bush assisted Iran to get Iraq. Khomein fought for eight years and failed, then bush came along and offer help, Iran runs Iraq.
    Obama signed a pact with Al qaida to get base in Libya, BEL HAJ is now taliking to ALZAWIHR everyday , well now Syria......osama will be laughing with fishes where he is....

    June 19, 2012 at 8:33 am | Reply
  28. Kalashnikoff

    No. Al – Quaeda already got SYRIAN arms. Sent on USA money – undirectly.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:46 am | Reply
  29. JOSE0311USMC


    June 19, 2012 at 7:42 am | Reply
    • Joe

      They are trying to. They now want to invade Africa instead.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:53 am | Reply
    • George H.W. Bush

      Good Idea lets ignore it, forget the bible teaches to love your neighbor, and even without religion your complete lack of sympathy to the plights of other humans is appalling. Maybe if we ignore it long enough there will be mass genocide for future generations to learn from since some never learned anything from the holocaust or world war II. These dictators are wanted for crimes against HUMANITY.

      June 19, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Reply
  30. behere

    well well Gadaffi who was the first to sign a arrest warrant for Bin Laden and was helping the USA... Now the tables are turned and his weapons which were helping us are now bringing these very same weapons to our enemies.. My My what foreign diplomacy, what utter ignorance by our great leader OBOMBA As Gadaffis days were over this Nov election OBOMBA's days will be over.

    June 19, 2012 at 7:35 am | Reply
    • George Patton

      Unfortunately behere, Mitt Romney is no better. We need a third choice and need it bad!!!

      June 19, 2012 at 7:40 am | Reply
      • RC

        Civil Libertarian party, look them up. They would change things for the better.

        June 19, 2012 at 9:20 am |
      • Ajax

        Cannot possibly be worse than Obama. Talk about stupid, shortsighted decisions, but then again. tht's what the Democrats are renowned for.

        June 19, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • sherman the bedouin

      why can't we all vote paul and ignore the electoral college like you would if your mother said your curfew were 9pm.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:51 am | Reply
    • sherman the bedouin

      yes I would elect a stolen tyrannosaurus skeleton instead at this point.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:57 am | Reply
  31. byebye

    This is why the US should not help the FSA in Syria. Again some of the weapons the US might give the FSA might end up with Al Qaeda. Let us stay well out of the messy Syrian civil war.

    June 18, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Reply
    • Thor

      I agree completly.

      June 18, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Reply
    • Phunnie boy

      Gee whiz byebye, now I'm shaking in my shoes after hearing this. No, we can't let that happen, can we? We all must get behind Killer O'Bama and stay there!!!!!!

      June 19, 2012 at 7:38 am | Reply
      • George H.W. Bush

        George W Bush invades Iraq puts 1.3 Trillion on the national debt, Obama uses drones and hellfire missiles without putting boots on the ground. Maybe if you took your political biased out of the equation you might realize Obama has been much more effective with the war on terror. But then again it could just be that no matter what he does you just cannot stand his genetic half that is not Caucasian

        June 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • George H.W. Bush

      Yes lets not help the 9 million citizens of Syria because there may be 100-200 members of Al-Qaeda, makes perfect sense. Let them commit crimes against humanity execute babies, women, children, and the elderly because some weapons could end up in Al-Qaeda hands since they estimate fewer than 200 in syria

      June 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Reply
  32. George Patton

    Are Libyan weapons falling into the hands of Somali's Al Qaeda network? Somehow I don't think so. It appears to be just one more scare tactic by the Washington bureaucracy in order to freighten people into supporting these useless wars of theirs!!!

    June 18, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Reply
    • Lyndsie Graham

      You said it, George. Thank you.

      June 19, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Reply

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