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Russia To West: We Told You Not To Overthrow Qaddafi!

By Michael Kelley

January 24, 2013 "
Business Insider" - -  On Wednesday Russia blamed Western countries for creating the current turmoil in Africa by arming Libyan rebels, Timothy Heritage and Gabriela Baczynska of Reuters report

"Those whom the French and Africans are fighting now in Mali are the [same] people who ... our Western partners armed so that they would overthrow the Gaddafi regime," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference.

The toppling of Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi led to "perhaps the greatest proliferation of weapons of war from any modern conflict," Emergency Director of Human Rights Watch Peter Bouckaert told The Telegraph.

Those weapons stockpiles were raided by both sides, and both sides had connections with radical militants.

In 2011 Pepe Escobar of the Asia Times noted that the main rebel group, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), had formed a "merger" with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM) in 2007. 

And the well-armed Tuareg rebels who fought on Qaddafi's side subsequently returned to northern Mali where they, along with jihadist groups including AQIM, declared the Texas-sized area an independent country in April 2012.

Now France has 2,300 troops on the ground in Mali to retake northern Mali, and several Western countries (including the U.S.) are providing logistical and intelligence support for an offensive that looks like it will take a while.

"The situation in Mali feels the consequence of events in Libya," Lavrov said. "The seizure of hostages in Algeria was a wake-up call."

A senior Algerian official told The New York Times that the militants who seized an oil field in Algeria last week bought their weapons in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

Russia has also accused the West of arming Syrian rebels in an attempt to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and there is evidence that the allegations hold some truth.

Lavrov noted that the unrest across the Middle East could play into the hands of radical militants.

"This will be a time bomb for decades ahead," he said.

See also - How US Ambassador Chris Stevens May Have Been Linked To Jihadist Rebels In Syria: if the new Libyan government was sending seasoned Islamic fighters and 400 tons of heavy weapons to Syria through a port in southern Turkey—a deal brokered by Stevens' primary Libyan contact during the Libyan revolution—then the governments of Turkey and the U.S. surely knew about it.

Copyright © 2013 Business Insider, Inc.

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