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Chemical Last updated: February, 2014

Libya's chemical warfare (CW) experience provides insight not only into WMD procurement by a technologically naïve country, but also highlights the ongoing challenges involved in assessing foreign WMD capabilities.

To this day, despite intense international scrutiny and pressure and despite on-site physical inspections, the international community still does not know the full extent of Libya's chemical program. However, in February 2014, Libya announced that it had completed the destruction of its usable chemical weapons and will complete the destruction of precursor chemicals by December 2016.

Libya's CW Capabilities

Chemical Table for Libya
 

Libya first encountered chemical weapons in 1930 when Benito Mussolini authorized sulfur mustard use against Libyan rebels. [1] Upon deciding to build an offensive chemical warfare (CW) program in the mid-1980s, Libya rapidly erected a production facility near the village of Rabta. [2] The assistance of foreign suppliers, mostly from Western Europe, proved invaluable to the development of Libya's chemical weapons facilities. [3] By the 1990s, Libya was widely believed to possess an extensive CW production capability and refused to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), inciting international concern that Libya might use its alleged chemical weapons capability in support of terrorism. [4]

In late 2003 Qadhafi's regime renounced its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including chemical weapons, and allowed extensive international inspections. Libya became a party to the CWC in early 2004 and began destroying its chemical weapons arsenal and facilities under international verification. [5] Inspections by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) revealed an active CW inventory far smaller than prevailing intelligence assessments had assumed, raising important questions about the fidelity of U.S. intelligence work. [6] According to a U.S. government commission scientific and technical deficiencies and an incentive structure that values quantity over quality within the U.S. intelligence community contributed to misrepresentative assessments of Libya's CW. [7] In addition to lesser quantities than expected, inspections also uncovered substandard manufacturing and storage protocols, suggesting that Libya lacked either the know-how or the desire to manufacture and maintain robust CW stores. [8]

Under Qadhafi, Libya pledged to fulfill its destruction obligations by 2011. By February 2011 Libya had completed the destruction of roughly 55% of its declared bulk mustard agent stockpile and roughly 40% of its precursor stockpile. [9] While the 2011 armed uprising diverted attention and resources away from CW destruction, the National Transitional Council of Libya has repeatedly reaffirmed its CWC commitments and has cooperated fully with the OPCW. [10] However, post-Qadhafi authorities reported the discovery of two additional sites containing chemical weapons that Qadhafi kept hidden from the international community, and on 20 January 2011 the OPCW confirmed the discovery of previously undeclared chemical weapons munitions (primarily artillery shells). [11] Post-war inspections of known storage facilities have confirmed that previously declared stores were not compromised during the uprising, and monitors and armed sentries continue working to ensure their security. [12] The discovery of previously unknown weapons introduces uncertainty as to the true scale of Libya's inherited CW stockpile. [13] However, the open discussion of these newly discovered materials strengthens confidence that the National Transitional Council intends to comply with its CWC obligations, to the best of its ability.

Since the Qadhafi government's removal from power, the continued destruction of Libya's chemical weapons has transpired slowly. In April and May 2013, the new government completed a two-week project to eliminate a large amount of bulk mustard agent, marking 85% destruction of the total stockpile. [14] However, September 11, 2013 reports indicated that Libya had not yet begun the destruction of thousands of pounds of mustard agent that had already been filled into munitions. [15] This task was later declared complete on February 4, 2014, resulting in the complete destruction of Libya's Category 1 chemical weapons. [16] Libya still retains a substantial stockpile of precursor chemicals that are scheduled for destruction by December 2016. [17]

Capabilities

Inspections following Libya's 2003 renunciation of WMD confirmed a limited chemical weapons inventory consisting of sulfur mustard blister agent and sarin precursors. As of February 2011, Libya claimed to have destroyed all of its declared CW delivery systems and 13.5 MT of its declared sulfur mustard inventory. [18] However, following the 2011 uprising, additional undeclared agents and more advanced undestroyed delivery systems were discovered at two sites, implying that the full scope of Libya's inherited CW stores remains undetermined. [19]

History

Early 1980s: Regional Competition Lays the Groundwork
Several motivating factors drove Libya's offensive CW program in the 1980's. First, Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi felt compelled to compensate for Libya's military weaknesses relative to its likely regional opponents. Analysts frequently cite Israel's conventional military superiority and alleged nuclear program as a key motivating factor. Egypt - an ally of the United States, a rival for leadership in the Arab world, and a suspected chemical weapons state - may have also motivated Libya's CW program. [20] Contentious Egyptian-Libyan relations during the 1980's saw the armed mobilization of both armies at their mutual border at least once. [21] Libya's CW program represented a cost-effective asymmetrical means of bolstering its overall military strength vis-à-vis Egypt's conventional capabilities and Israel's alleged nuclear capabilities. [22] According to Western and Libyan exile sources, Libya pursued chemical weapons in concert with an aggressive program to develop a ballistic missile delivery capability. [23] Additionally, Libya pursued chemical weapons in the context of a regional buildup of CW capabilities. At the time, Egypt, Iraq, and Syria also faced allegations of concurrent CW proliferation. In particular, Iraq's use of chemical weapons on the battlefield during the Iran-Iraq War likely increased Tripoli's interest in a chemical weapons capability. [24]

1985 to 2003: Growing International Scrutiny and Concern
During the mid to late 1980s, the Qadhafi regime began constructing three chemical weapons facilities. The first, 75 miles south of Tripoli at a site called Rabta, was named Pharma-150 and posed as a pharmaceuticals facility. Completed in 1998, some reports at the time alleged that Pharma-150 could manufacture at least 100 metric tons of blister and nerve agents within three years. [25] Libya built a second facility, Pharma-200, underground at the Sabha army base 650 miles south of Tripoli, and a third facility, Pharma-300 or Rabta II, south of Tripoli at Tarhuna. Engineers built two 200-450ft tunnels covered by 100ft of sandstone shields and lined with reinforced concrete into Rabta II's outer walls, enabling it to withstand air attacks and potentially serve as a secure storage location. [26]

Allegations concerning the construction of the three sites exacerbated international suspicion of Qadhafi, who already faced allegations of supporting terrorism. In May 1981, reports emerged that Qadhafi sponsored attempts to assassinate U.S. diplomats in Rome and Paris, and the regime also came under suspicion for the 21 December 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. [27] Qadhafi also allegedly demonstrated a willingness to utilize chemical weapons, reportedly ordering sulfur mustard attacks against Chadian forces in September 1987. [28] Western analysts became concerned about Libya's presumed willingness and capacity to employ chemical warfare, albeit without decisive military effects.

In 1988, U.S. President Ronald Reagan publicly introduced the possibility of a military strike to destroy the Rabta plant, a plan endorsed by President-elect George H. W. Bush. [29] In 1990, the U.S. intelligence community learned that China planned to supply Libya with roughly 10,000 tons of Sarin and Tabun precursors. [30] In May 1990, before the United States implemented its planned attack on the facility, a fire at the Rabta site reportedly destroyed the facility's production capabilities. [31] Upon discovering that a tire fire far from Rabta, and not a plant fire, had caused the smoke seen in reconnaissance satellite photos, the United States accused the Libyans of a hoax intended to discourage U.S. military action. [32]

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, details of foreign assistance to Libya's chemical weapons program emerged. In January 1989, the world found out that Imhausen-Chemie, a West German chemical company, had served as the "prime contractor" for the facility at Rabta since April 1980, and that several other West German companies contributed to lesser degrees. [33] While international criticism focused on Germany, Japanese firms also contributed to construction, and a total of twelve firms from both Western and Eastern bloc countries provided technology and materials. [34] Responding to U.S.-led pressure, a number of countries curbed industrial exports to Libya. [35] Three Imhausen employees, including the director, received convictions for illegally supplying CW materials to Libya in October 1991, with a fourth German national convicted in 1996 for facilitating Libya's acquisition of computer technology and other equipment to enhance chemical weapons development. [36] Ultimately, the tangible impact of these measures in isolating Libya remains unclear.

The CWC, opened for signature in January 1993, entered into force on 29 April 1997. Despite participating in the treaty's negotiations, Libya did not sign the CWC, joining Egypt and other Arab countries in rejecting the treaty because of Israel's alleged nuclear weapons arsenal, and arguing that chemical weapons disarmament could work only within the context of a regional WMD ban. [37] However, a few months before it officially announced that it would renounce its WMD programs, Libya attended the first CWC Review Conference (RevCon) from 28 April to 9 May 2003 as a non-state party.

2003 to the Present: Renunciation, Revolution, and Revelations
In 2003, Libyan and British officials began secretly negotiating normalized relations between Libya and the international community. By October 2003, Libya consented to U.S. and British inspections of laboratories and military facilities to verify the state and extent of Libya's CW and other WMD programs. Finally, on 19 December 2003 the Libyan government publicly announced it would abandon all of its programs for developing weapons of mass destruction. Qadhafi pledged to abide by all relevant nonproliferation treaties, including the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Until publicly acknowledging its WMD programs in 2003, Libya had denied having a CW program and insisted that its chemical facilities were intended solely for peaceful purposes. [38]

On 20 February 2004, the OPCW received a partial declaration from the Libyan government detailing the country's chemical weapons stockpiles. [39] In the following weeks, OPCW inspectors monitored the destruction of 3,500 aerial bombs designed to deliver chemical agents, and began the process of verifying Libya's initial declaration of 50,700 lbs. (~23MT) of mustard agent and 2.9 million lbs. (~1,315MT) of nerve agent precursor chemicals. [40] On 19 March 2004, OPCW inspectors confirmed the presence of 23MT of sulfur mustard and approximately 1,300MT of sarin precursors. [41] The limited size of the Libyan arsenal the OPCW inspectors found surprised observers; Western sources had previously alleged that Libya had the capability to produce as much as 40 tons (~36.3MT) per month. [42] Additionally, inspections also revealed poor storage and maintenance. Libya kept its mustard gas in plastic containers that reacted chemically with their contents, leading to corrosion and leakage. [43] Additionally, Libya manufactured at least some of its CW agents to such poor quality that they likely began degrading rapidly and immediately upon synthesis. [44]

An independent U.S. government commission characterized the intelligence community's performance on Libyan CW as "modest" and lacking in technical rigor. [45] The commission noted an alarming tendency to erroneously equate materials procurement with CW capabilities, as analysts concluded assessments based only on the former and without awareness or regard for the additional scientific, economic, academic, and industrial realities of CW production. [46] The commission also noted an incentive structure that prioritized quantity, rather than quality, of intelligence assessments and, furthermore, a lack of incentive to develop the necessary expertise to perform thoroughly researched and technically accurate intelligence assessments. [47] The commission concluded that U.S. intelligence analysts overemphasized the importance of their Libya CW data, lacked both the incentive and the technical acumen to subject their conclusions to appropriate scrutiny, and ultimately, in concluding that Libya possessed a substantial CW capability, committed a "fundamental analytical error." [48]

After renouncing chemical weapons and joining the CWC, the Qadhafi regime projected an image of active participation in the operations and activities of the OPCW. The Qadhafi regime on a number of occasions called on other states in its region to follow its example and join the CWC. Despite swift initial progress in destroying munitions, the process of destroying Libya's existing CW stocks proceeded slower than expected under Qadhafi. In November 2005, the OPCW granted Libya an extension until December 2011 for destruction of its entire stockpile. [49] Although Libya and the United States initially agreed to cooperate on, and share the cost of, destroying Libya's CW stockpile, this agreement ended in June 2007 due to disputes over bureaucratic arrangements and the distribution of costs. [50] Before the 2011 uprising, the Qadhafi regime had stated its intent to partner with Italy for the construction of an appropriate chemical weapons destruction facility. [51] Upon the outbreak of the 2011 uprising and the fall of the Qadahfi regime, roughly 6.5 - 9.5 MT of sulfur mustard and 800 MT of precursor chemicals remained declared but undestroyed.

Recent Developments and Current Status

Speculation about the remnants of Qadhafi's CW stockpiles abounded during the 2011 armed uprising. During the uprising, some analysts argued that Qadhafi did not use chemical weapons because he may not have considered Libya's sulfur mustard weapons to be militarily or politically viable. [52] Jean Pascal Zanders further noted that any effort by Qadhafi to carry out a CW attack against Libyan rebels would be "extremely difficult" because Libya has "only a limited amount of aging chemical agent" and has already "destroyed all of its CW bomb casings." [53] Despite the escalation of protests into a fully armed rebellion that eventually overthrew the Qadhafi regime, neither loyalist nor rebel forces deployed chemical weapons at any point during the conflict, potentially indicating that Libya's CW stockpile was not in a position or condition to be readily deployed.

Following the establishment of the Libyan National Transitional Council, Libyan authorities announced the discovery of two sites containing additional undeclared chemical weapons assets. [54] Although press reports initially indicated that Libya had discovered artillery shells filled with mustard agent and potentially acquired from Iran, the OPCW has thus far only confirmed the discovery of artillery shells. [55] The discovery of additional CW assets, primarily artillery shells, kept hidden from the world by Qadhafi, and the tumultuous end of that regime, opens the possibility that the international community may never know the true size and scope of Qadhafi's CW program and what remains of it. However, on-site inspections have revealed that the declared stockpiles were not compromised during the 2011 uprising. [56]

The realities of political instability, civil war, and post-war reconstruction will delay CW destruction progress. Although the OPCW extended Libya's destruction deadline to the maximum time allowed under the CWC, Libya was unable to meet the April 2012 deadline. Libya's National Transitional Council thus far has demonstrated full willingness to cooperate with the OPCW, following reaffirmation of Libya's commitment to CWC compliance during the 2011 uprising. [57] Libya submitted a detailed plan to the OPCW for the destruction of all remaining chemicals by December 2016. From 2 April to 4 May 2013 Libya destroyed 8.82 metric tons of sulfur mustard at Ruwagha. [58] In total Libya has destroyed 22.3 metric tons, or 85 percent of its Category 1 chemical weapons. [59] In February 2014, Libya declared that its stockpile of usable chemical weapons had been destroyed, and indicated that it planned to complete destruction of its precursor chemicals by September 2016. [60]

Sources:
[1] Col (Dr.) Jim A. Davis, USAF, "A Biological Warfare Wakeup Call: Prevalent Myths and Likely Scenarios," The Gathering Biological Warfare Storm (Maxwell Air Force Base, AL: USAF Counterproliferation Center, 2002), p. 300.
[2] Gordon M. Burck and Charles C. Flowerree, International Handbook on Chemical Weapons Proliferation (New York: Greenwood Press, 1991), p. 267; and Joshua Sinai, "Libya's Pursuit of WMD," The Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 4, No. 3, Spring-Summer 1997, p. 93.
[3] Joshua Sinai, "Libya's Pursuit of WMD," The Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 4, No. 3, Spring-Summer 1997, pp. 93-95.
[4] Qadhafi has turned over highly destructive weapons to terrorist groups before. In the 1980s, Libya provided the Irish Republican Army (IRA) with surface-to-air SA-7 missiles and tons of the plastic explosive Semtex. David Ottaway, "Middle East Weapons Proliferate," The Washington Post, 19 December 1988, p. A1.
[5] Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, "Initial Inspection in Libya Completed," OPCW News & Publications, 22 March 2004, www.opcw.org.
[6] Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, "Initial Inspection in Libya Completed," OPCW News & Publications, 22 March 2004, www.opcw.org.
[7] The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, "Report to the President of the United States," 31 March 2005, pp. 254-262.
[8] Jonathan B. Tucker, "The Rollback of Libya's Chemical Weapons Program," The Nonproliferation Review, March 2009, p. 373; and The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, "Report to the President of the United States," 31 March 2005, p. 254. Some Libyan CW agents were manufactured to such a poor standard that they rapidly degraded almost immediately upon synthesis.
[9] Arthur Max, "Watchdog says Libya destroys chemical weapons," The Associated Press, 23 February 2011.
[10] Jean Pascal Zanders, "Destroying Libya's Chemical Weapons: Deadlines and Delays," WMD Junction, 19 May 2011, http://cns.miis.edu/wmdjunction; Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, "OPCW Inspectors Return to Libya," OPCW News & Publications, 04 November 2011, www.opcw.org.
[11] Jomna Karadsheh, "Jibril: Two chemical weapons sites found in Libya," CNN, 30 October 2011, articles.cnn.com, accessed 8 March 2012; R. Jeffrey Smith, and Joby Warrick and Colum Lynch, "Iran may have sent Libya shells for chemical weapons," The Washington Post, 20 November 2011; Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, "OPCW Inspectors Verify Newly Declared Chemical Weapons Materials in Libya," OPCW News & Publications, 20 January 2012, www.opcw.org.
[12] "Libyan chemical weapons stockpiles intact, say inspectors," The Guardian (London), 4 November 2011.
[13] "Libyan chemical weapons stockpiles intact, say inspectors," The Guardian (London), 4 November 2011; Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, "OPCW Inspectors Verify Newly Declared Chemical Weapons Materials in Libya," OPCW News & Publications, 20 January 2012, www.opcw.org.
[14] "Libya Destroys Bulk Mustard Agent Stocks," Global Security Newswire, 7 May 2013, www.nti.org.
[15] Diane Barnes, "Destruction of Libyan Chemical-Loaded Arms Remains on Hold," Global Security Newswire, 11 September 2013, www.nti.org.
[16] "Libya 'Destroys all chemical weapons'," BBC, 4 February 2014, www.bbc.co.uk
[17] "Libya 'Destroys all chemical weapons'," BBC, 4 February 2014, www.bbc.co.uk
[18] Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, "OPCW Director-General Meets Permanent Representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya," OPCW News & Publications, 11 March 2011, www.opcw.org.
[19] R. Jeffrey Smith, and Joby Warrick and Colum Lynch, "Iran may have sent Libya shells for chemical weapons," The Washington Post, 20 November 2011.
[20] Joshua Sinai, "Libya's Pursuit of WMD," The Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 4, No. 3, Spring-Summer 1997, p. 92; Clyde R. Mark, "Libya," CRS Issue Brief for Congress, updated 2 May 2005.
[21] "Libya Says Egyptians Plan to Attack," The New York Times, 30 November 1985, Section 1, Page 4; and "Qaddafi Announces Pullback of Troops on Egypt's Border," The New York Times, 29 March 1988, p. A-12.
[22] Joshua Sinai, "Libya's Pursuit of WMD," The Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 4, No. 3, Spring-Summer 1997, p. 92.
[23] Joshua Sinai, "Libya's Pursuit of WMD," The Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 4, No. 3, Spring-Summer 1997, p. 96.
[24] W. Andrew Terrill, "Libya and the Quest for Chemical Weapons," Conflict Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 1, 1994, p. 49.
[25] Department of Defense, the United States of America, Proliferation: Threat and Response, November 1997, www.defenselink.mil.
[26] Kenneth R. Timmerman, Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Cases of Iran, Syria, and Libya (Los Angeles, CA: Simon Wiesenthal Center, August 1992), p.80.
[27] "Terrorist Attacks on Americans, 1979-1988: The Attacks, the Groups, and the U.S. Response," PBS Frontline, 2001, www.pbs.org.
[28] Proliferation: Threat and Response (Washington, DC: Office of the Secretary of Defense, April 1996), p. 26.
[29] W. Andrew Terrill, "Libya and the Quest for Chemical Weapons," Conflict Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 1, 1994, p. 50.
[30] Bill Gertz, "Chinese Move Seen as Aiding Libya in Making Poison Gas," Washington Times, 12 July 1990.
[31] Kenneth R. Timmerman, "The Poison Gas Connection: Western Suppliers of Unconventional Weapons and Technologies to Iraq and Libya," Middle East Defense News, Simon Wiesenthal Center, 1990, p.31.
[32] Michael R. Gordon, "U.S. Says Evidence Points to Hoax in Fire at Libyan Chemical Plant," The New York Times, 19 June 1980, p. A-8.
[33] Kenneth R. Timmerman, Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Cases of Iran, Syria, and Libya, (Los Angeles, CA: Simon Wiesenthal Center, August 1992), p. 80.
[34] W. Andrew Terrill, "Libya and the Quest for Chemical Weapons," Conflict Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 1, 1994, p. 49; and Joshua Sinai, "Libya's Pursuit of WMD," The Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 4, No. 3, Spring-Summer 1997, p. 92; U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, "Technologies Underlying Weapons of Mass Destruction," OTA-BP-ISC-115 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, December 1993), pp. 42-43; Kenneth R. Timmerman, Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Cases of Iran, Syria, and Libya (Los Angeles: Simon Wiesenthal Center, 1992), p. 80; Kenneth R. Timmerman, The Poison Gas Connection: Western Suppliers of Unconventional Weapons and Technologies to Iraq and Libya (Los Angeles: Simon Wiesenthal Center, 1990), pp. 114-127; and Bill Gertz, "Chinese Move Seen as Aiding Libya in Making Poison Gas," Washington Times, 12 July 1990.
[35] Jonathan B. Tucker, War of Nerves: Chemical Warfare from World War I to Al-Qaeda, (New York, NY: Anchor Books), p. 291.
[36] "3 Germans jailed for selling equipment to Libya," The Gazette (Montreal), 10 October 1991; and Anthony H. Cordesman, Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle East: Regional Trends, National Forces, Warfighting Capabilities, Delivery Options, and Weapons Effects (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1999), p. 17.
[37] Jonathan B. Tucker, War of Nerves: Chemical Warfare from World War I to Al-Qaeda, (New York, NY: Anchor Books), p. 320.
[38] Serge Schmemann, "Belgian Charged in Illicit Shipment for Libyan Plant," The New York Times, 13 January 1989, p. A14.
[39] Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, "Libya Submits Initial Chemical Weapons Declaration," OPCW News & Publications, 22 March 2004, www.opcw.org.
[40] Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, "Libya Completes the First Phase of Chemical Weapons Destruction," OPCW News & Publications, 22 March 2004, www.opcw.org.
[41] Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, "Initial Inspections in Libya Completed," OPCW News & Publications, 22 March 2004, www.opcw.org.
[42] W. Andrew Terrill, "Libya and the Quest for Chemical Weapons," Conflict Quarterly, Vol. 14 No. 1, 1994, p. 51.
[43] Jonathan B. Tucker, "The Rollback of Libya's Chemical Weapons Program," The Nonproliferation Review, March 2009, p. 373.
[44] The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, "Report to the President of the United States," 31 March 2005, p. 254.
[45] The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, "Report to the President of the United States," 31 March 2005, p. 258.
[46] The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, "Report to the President of the United States," 31 March 2005, p. 260-261.
[47] The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, "Report to the President of the United States," 31 March 2005, p. 260-261.
[48] The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, "Report to the President of the United States," 31 March 2005, pp. 261.
[49] U.S. Department of State, "Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments," July 2010.
[50] U.S. Department of State, "Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments," July 2010.
[51] U.S. Department of State, "Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments," July 2010.
[52] Arthur Max, "Watchdog says Libya destroys chemical weapons," The Associated Press, 23 February 2011; William Maclean, "Libya Lacks Means to Use Chemical Arms-Watchdog," Reuters, 27 February 2011; and Mark Hosenball, "Doubts Surround Gaddafi's Chemical Weapons Arsenal," Reuters, 2 March 2011.
[53] Jean Pascal Zanders, "Uprising in Libya: The False Specter of Chemical Warfare," WMD Junction, 19 May 2011, http://cns.miis.edu/wmdjunction.
[54] R. Jeffrey Smith, and Joby Warrick and Colum Lynch, "Iran may have sent Libya shells for chemical weapons," The Washington Post, 20 November 2011.
[55] R. Jeffrey Smith, and Joby Warrick and Colum Lynch, "Iran may have sent Libya shells for chemical weapons," The Washington Post, 20 November 2011; Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, "OPCW Inspectors Verify Newly Declared Chemical Weapons Materials in Libya," OPCW News & Publications, 20 January 2012, www.opcw.org.
[56] Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, "OPCW Inspectors Verify Newly Declared Chemical Weapons Materials in Libya," OPCW News & Publications, 20 January 2012, www.opcw.org.
[57] "Libyan chemical weapons stockpiles intact, say inspectors," The Guardian (London), 4 November 2011.
[58] Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, "OPCW Director-General Meets Permanent Representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya," OPCW News & Publications, 11 March 2011, www.opcw.org.
[59] "Libya Destroys Bulk Mustard Agent Stocks," Global Security Newswire, 7 May 2013, www.nti.org.
[60] "Libya 'Destroys all chemical weapons'," BBC, 4 February 2014, www.bbc.co.uk.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents.

Get the Facts on Libya

  • Purchased uranium enrichment technology and nuclear weapon design plans from the A.Q. Khan network
  • Still possesses 9 metric tonnes of mustard gas, with additional stores potentially discovered in late 2011
  • Received missile technology assistance from China, the DPRK, Germany and Iran