Doubts surround Gaddafi's chemical weapons arsenal

By REUTERS
March 2, 2011 23:44

 
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WASHINGTON - US intelligence agencies reported that forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have stepped up security around Libya's principal remaining stockpile of agents used in chemical weapons.

But US agencies are unsure they know where all of the Libyan chemical stockpiles are located, officials said.

By the same token, international experts say that years ago, Libya destroyed most if not all of the weapons systems which would enable troops to fire chemical agents in combat. This means that even if some of the agents were pilfered, it would be hard for those who stole them to use them.

An official familiar with US government analyses said on Wednesday Washington had indications that in recent days security around the main chemicals cache had been "upgraded." Officials declined to say how the US knows security had been improved.

International watchdogs said last month that Libya retained 9.5 tons of deadly mustard gas but lacked delivery systems.

US officials declined to identify where the remaining chemicals are stored or specify the nature of the security improvements that the United States had learned about.

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