Doubts surround Gaddafi's chemical weapons arsenal

Wed Mar 2, 2011 9:38pm GMT

* Security at Libyan site was stepped up recently

* But U.S. agencies unsure where all stockpiles located

* Chemicals may be degraded and lack weapons system

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) - U.S. intelligence agencies are reporting that forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have stepped up security around Libya's principal remaining stockpile of agents used in chemical weapons.

But U.S. agencies are unsure they know where all of the Libyan chemical stockpiles are located, officials said.

By the same token, international experts say that years ago, Libya destroyed most if not all of the weapons systems which would enable troops to fire chemical agents in combat. This means that even if some of the agents were pilfered, it would be hard for those who stole them to use them.

An official familiar with U.S. government analyses said on Wednesday Washington had indications that in recent days security around the main chemicals cache had been "upgraded." Officials declined to say how the U.S. knows security had been improved.

International watchdogs said last month that Libya retained 9.5 tonnes of deadly mustard gas but lacked delivery systems.   Continued...

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