After statements by U.S. officials and assertions by U.S. intelligence, Libyan officials launched a campaign to convince the international general opinion that there is seriousness in collection of weapons after the fall of the Gadhafi regime and the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi; that killed four Americans, including the Ambassador Chris Stevens .
On Friday, thousands of people rallied in Tripoli and in the eastern city of Benghazi calling for formation of a national army and police to face armed groups "militias," also to collect weapons.
"We want to live our lives. The time of war is over!" people were shouting
On Saturday following rallies, several men lined up at Marty Square in the capital and Liberty Square in Benghazi. They had weapons and ammunition in hand, in an effort to help the Libyan army rid the streets of arms left over from last year's revolution that toppled Libya's slain dictator Muammar Gadhafi .
According to Libyan authorities, in Benghazi, the army tallied some 730 light weapons, 200 hand grenades, 100 anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, along with 20,000 assorted types of ammunition.
In Tripoli hundreds of people turned in light, medium and heavy weapons, as well as vast amounts of ammunition ranging from bullets to tank shells. Most people handed in assault rifles, an army source said.
For his part, President of Libya's National Congress, Mohammed al-Megaryef, announced that all independent militias and armed groups in Libya must either place themselves under the subordination of the government or dissolve themselves.
Earlier, the Washington Post reported that the commander of Rafallah al-Sahati, a powerful Islamist militia in Benghazi, said in an interview that the missiles, used by fighters to hit airplanes and known to the U.S. intelligence community as MANPADS (man-portable air-defense systems), along with 2,000 semiautomatic rifles and ammunition, were stolen from the militia's base when protesters, who called for dismantling the country's militias, overran the compound last Saturday.
He added that he believed that these weapons might have been stolen by al-Qaida members or members loyal to Gadhafi, who are active in a number of cities, including Sirte and Bani Walid.
We hope that the Libyan government succeeds in eliminating chaos, but why is this campaign carried out only in Benghazi and Tripoli?
For your information, weapons were available with every Libyan before the revolution of Feb. 17, 2011, but the problem today is the heavy weapons, which arrived from Libya to Gaza through Sinai.
It is a media campaign only and not a serious one at all. If officials are serious in there aim, they should carry out a military operation in the city of Tarhunah, for example. Certainly they will find weapons enough to declare a war on any country.
I think that the only reason for this campaign is the declaration of several senior officials in the Obama administration and CIA, who are convinced that the attack on the U.S. consulate was coordinated between al-Qaida and Ansar al-Shari'a terrorists.
Apparently this campaign will not prevent America from looking by itself for the aggressors on its consulate and who killed its diplomats therein.
Perhaps what was published by the Washington Post gives new evidence about Libyans being unable to control their weapons, and that the situation is very serious. Today some people are saying that the security during the era of Gadhafi will never be experienced again.