The late Libyan dictator, Muammar Qaddafi, ran a covert program to conceal weapons in Libyan embassies worldwide, according to a report by Reuters. The weapons, which were sent to an unknown number of embassies in Africa, Asia, and Europe by diplomatic bag, were possibly intended for use in assassinating Libyan dissidents or for operations against host countries. Under the Vienna Convention, host countries cannot search an embassy’s premises or material sent by diplomatic bag, although the treaty specifies that goods sent may only contain documents or items for official use.
Collecting unexploded weapons buried underground by the Qaddafi regime at a military base in Libya.
In one of the more publicized incidents, last month Greek police collected some 30 handguns, two machine guns, 33 pounds of explosives, detonators, two hand grenades, some 1,200 bullets, silencers, and wiretapping equipment from the Libyan embassy in Athens. Greece’s anti-terrorist squad, now in possession of the arms, is investigating whether the weapons were used in illegal acts. Moreover, in Morocco, the Libyan embassy premises were reportedly home to booby-trapped vehicles and rocket-propelled grenades. It is not believed that weapons were stationed in Libya’s embassy in Washington.
With Qaddafi dead there is no knowing why years after he renounced violence the Libyan dictator was stockpiling weapons in embassies abroad. A known terrorist, Qaddafi is responsible for some of the most deadly attacks in recent history. It is now up to the interim governing body in Libya, hopefully with Washington’s help, to set a new path for the country and its people.