|Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov|
Islamists in Libya were armed and supported by the West
Islamists in Syria are currently being armed and supported by the West
On Wednesday Russia blamed Western countries for creating the current turmoil in Africa by arming Libyan rebels, Timothy Heritage and Gabriela Baczynska of Reuters report.
"Those whom the French and Africans are fighting now in Mali are the [same] people who ... our Western partners armed so that they would overthrow the Gaddafi regime," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference.
"Those whom the French and Africans are fighting now in Mali are the (same) people who overthrew the Gaddafi regime, those that our Western partners armed so that they would overthrow the Gaddafi regime," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference.
|In an unconstitutional war the U.S. joined France and Britain to overthrow the government of Libya. Now Islamist fighters and weapons from that war are spreading all over the region.|
The aim of the foreign intervention is to prevent northern Mali from becoming a launchpad for international attacks by al Qaeda and its allies. Fears of this increased sharply after a hostage-taking raid by Islamist militants last week on a gas plant in Algeria.
"Terrorist acts have become almost daily in the region, arms are spreading in uncontrollably, infiltration by militants is taking place, including in the Sahara-Sahel area", Lavrov said.
"The situation in Mali feels the consequence of events in Libya. The seizure of hostages in Algeria was a wake-up call."
The toppling of Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi led to "perhaps the greatest proliferation of weapons of war from any modern conflict," Emergency Director of Human Rights Watch Peter Bouckaert told The Telegraph.
An Islamist alliance of al Qaeda's North African wing AQIM and home-grown Malian groups captured northern Mali last year, armed with weapons seized from Libya after the fall of Gaddafi.
France fights Islamists in Mali while supporting Islamists in Syria
Those weapons stockpiles were raided by both sides, and both sides had connections with radical militants.
In 2011 Pepe Escobar of the Asia Times noted that the main rebel group, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), had formed a "merger" with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM) in 2007.
And the well-armed Tuareg rebels who fought on Qaddafi's side subsequently returned to northern Mali where they, along with jihadist groups including AQIM, declared the Texas-sized area an independent country in April 2012.
Now France has 2,300 troops on the ground in Mali to retake northern Mali, and several Western countries (including the U.S.) are providing logistical and intelligence support for an offensive that looks like it will take a while.
"The situation in Mali feels the consequence of events in Libya," Lavrov said. "The seizure of hostages in Algeria was a wake-up call."
A senior Algerian official told The New York Times that the militants who seized an oil field in Algeria last week bought their weapons in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
Russia has also accused the West of arming Syrian rebels in an attempt to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and there is evidence that the allegations hold some truth.
Lavrov noted that the unrest across the Middle East could play into the hands of radical militants.
"This will be a time bomb for decades ahead," he said.
Read more: Business Insider
The U.S. is arming Islamists in Syria
Most of the weapons being sent from Saudi Arabia and Qatar to Syrian rebels are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists as opposed to secular opposition groups that the West wants to strengthen, American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats told David Sanger of the New York Times.
In 2011 the U.S. sold $33.4 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia and $1.7 billion to Qatar as sales tripled to a record high and accounted for nearly 78 percent of all global arms sales.
So although the U.S. is not sending arms directly to rebels, most of the weapons being sent by Saudi Arabia and Qatar were purchased from the U.S. and are being funneled to the opposition by the CIA..
Read more: Business Insider.