British special forces are poised to seize caches of mustard gas and other potential chemical weapons being stored by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in the Libyan desert.
Robert Winnett and Holly Watt
The Telegraph [UK]
02 March 2011
American sources have disclosed that the SAS is likely to be called upon to secure up to 10 tons of mustard gas and sarin that is believed to be stockpiled at three separate locations.
Special forces are thought to have been in Libya for about 10 days and have already played a leading role in rescuing hundreds of oil workers.
On Tuesday, David Cameron continued to increase the pressure on Gaddafi by warning that Britain should negotiate with opposition groups. He said that, if the Libyan regime started “murdering” its people with aircraft, plans should be in place to “do something to stop that”.
It emerged that Typhoon fighter jets may be moved to an RAF base in Cyprus in the latest sign that military action could be necessary.
However, a growing coalition of foreign governments publicly opposed the use of military force. The American government also played down the prospect, despite sources disclosing earlier this week that warships and planes were being moved into position around Libya.
There is growing international concern over the stockpiles of chemical weapons that Gaddafi is thought to still retain, amid fears they could be used to attack protesters or be seized by terrorists.
British sources said they were yet to receive a specific US request for SAS involvement in any operation to secure the weapons sites, but officials said plans were being drawn up for “every eventuality”.
Sir John Major, the former prime minister, said that if Gaddafi used the chemical weapons it could trigger a military conflict…
The article continues at The Telegraph.
Related: Libya: what is mustard gas?