No matter what the uncertainties of the future, the current reality is that loose weapons from Libya have already bolstered the substantial black market in the region, a market that Al Qaeda affiliates trade in with regularity.
Luckily, Libya had mostly dismantled its weapons-of-mass-destruction program, and in August of this year State department spokesman Victoria Nuland expressed confidence that the few remaining stockpiles of chemical weapons were secured prior to the regime’s collapse (based on communication with the Transitional National Council and US intelligence sources.)
Syria is a different story. It is one of six nations that has refused to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention that bans the development and stockpiling of such weapons. And US intelligence agencies believe that it has a significant stockpile of chemical weapons and the means to deliver them, according to a Wall Street Journal report in August of this year.
As the situation in Syria becomes more unstable, America can ill afford to see those weapons hit the black market, not to mention the vast arsenal of the Syrian army that, much like Saddam Hussein’s army, has weapons spread from one end of the country to the other. If Syria loses control of its national arsenal, the result could be disastrous for the region.