Does al Qaeda now have surface to air missiles?

**Posted by Phineas

Oh, this is not good. Not good at all:

The photocopies of the manual lay in heaps on the floor, in stacks that scaled one wall, like Xeroxed, stapled handouts for a class.

Except that the students in this case were al Qaeda fighters in Mali. And the manual was a detailed guide, with diagrams and photographs, on how to use a weapon that particularly concerns the United States: A surface-to-air missile capable of taking down a commercial airplane.

The 26-page document in Arabic, recovered by The Associated Press in a building that had been occupied by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Timbuktu, strongly suggests the group now possesses the SA-7 surface-to-air missile, known to the Pentagon as the Grail, according to terrorism specialists. And it confirms that the al Qaeda cell is actively training its fighters to use these weapons, also called man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADS, which likely came from the arms depots of ex-Libyan strongman Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

“The existence of what apparently constitutes a `Dummies Guide to MANPADS’ is strong circumstantial evidence of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb having the missiles,” said Atlantic Council analyst Peter Pham, a former adviser to the United States’ military command in Africa and an instructor to U.S. Special Forces. “Why else bother to write the guide if you don’t have the weapons? … If AQIM not only has the MANPADS, but also fighters who know how to use them effectively,” he added, “then the impact is significant, not only on the current conflict, but on security throughout North and West Africa, and possibly beyond.”

This is the fruit of the Obama-Clinton “smart power” regime, and the fatuous “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine of our future UN Ambassador, Samantha Power. Not only has their “humanitarian war” in Libya caused chaos in North Africa –what happened in Mali was a direct result of destroying the vile but tamed and no danger to us regime of Gadhafi– but these loose MANPADS are now a threat to air traffic throughout the region and beyond.

Yes, “beyond.” There’s a reason the “p” in MANPAD stands for “portable.” These things are easily smuggled. Imagine if one or more shows up in Europe, Asia, or just outside LaGuardia. Think of what just one successful shoot-down will do to air traffic worldwide, not to mention the immediate casualties. The potential is absolutely nightmarish.

Quite a legacy for Obama, and a heckuva record for Clinton to run on in 2016.

via Michael J. Totten

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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