The Foreign Policy of U.S. Arms Transfers

Photo by U.S. Army/Flickr

By Paul Khuri |

State actors frequently use arms transfers as a tool of foreign policy, distributing weapons for a variety of reasons. In many cases, a supplier state providing arms to another state or sub-state group has played a significant role in determining status and perceived influence over the recipient state or group. In other cases, arms transfers are conducted for economic gain, prestige or by means of a negotiated quid pro quo political arrangement. Still, weapons transfers are sometimes conducted in order to shift the balance of power in a military conflict or to achieve some combination of many interwoven goals.

This paper seeks to examine some of the transnational security implications of arms transfers, specifically focusing on U.S. foreign policy vis-à-vis other countries and sub-state groups. Because information relating to the transfer of arms to non-state actors is not well publicized in most cases, the majority of statistical information in this paper will focus on government-to-government arms sales. The case studies presented in this paper, however, will focus on the foreign policy implications associated with arms bound for a number of sub-state groups including the Afghan mujahedeen and Libyan and Syrian rebels.

To accomplish these goals, this paper: 1) provides an overview of the foreign policy objectives of international arms transfers, detailing the interrelationship of arms transfers and foreign policy with a case study of U.S. arms transfers to the Afghan mujahedeen during the Cold War; 2) analyzes current U.S. policy regarding international arms transfers, drawing upon both the available statistical information on U.S. arms transfers to other governments as well as two recent examples of arms transfers to sub-state groups in Libya and Syria; 3) addresses the shortfalls of the U.S.’s arms transfer policies to the Afghan mujahedeen as well as the Libyan and Syrian rebels; and lastly 4) provides recommendations for policymakers on future U.S. arms transfers to non-state actors.

Background on International Arms Transfers

Countries distribute arms to other states or sub-state groups for a variety of strategic purposes. These purposes can be consolidated into four overarching themes according to Professor Frederic Pearson, an expert in arms trade issues. First, many of the goals states have through the transfer of arms include homeland defense and the impression it offers of autonomy and self-sufficiency.[1] In other words, states often adhere to the belief that by strategically providing other less stable governments with weapons, the receiving states will be more secure, which in turn helps ensure the security of the supplying country.

Second, states also provide arms to other countries in order to reap the benefits associated with arms-supplying states, the idea being that the weapons this state can provide are better than those of its rivals.[2] During the Cold War for example, arms in part represented superpower status and influence. This strategic use of U.S. arms transfers to maintain superpower prestige was exhibited during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. In this case, the Nixon administration succumbed to resupplying the Israelis with weapons, though Nixon had hoped to delay doing so to pressure Israel into a negotiated settlement with its Arab rivals. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger later explained the decision to arm the Israelis, saying “the United States could not—either today or tomorrow—allow Soviet arms to win a big victory, even if it was not decisive, against U.S. arms. This has nothing to do with Israel, or with you.”[3] Kissinger’s statement emphasizes the importance of the perception of Soviet weapons—those used by Syria and Egypt to attack Israel—vis-à-vis American weapons used by the Israelis. Kissinger’s point was that while resupplying arms did not fulfill an immediate U.S. interest, the United States did so anyway because of the perceived harm that would be done to its status if it avoided resupplying the Israelis.

Third, states also transfer weapons to other countries or sub-state groups to support those they desire to maintain or to attain regional power, or to counter those already in power. An illustrious example of this foreign policy goal is evidenced in the U.S. decision to provide arms to the Afghan mujahedeen during the Cold War in an effort to fend off the spread of communism to the region.

Fourth, states provide arms to other countries or sub-state groups in an effort to seek influence over them. Such arms deals are perceived to provide the supplying state with influence over the political decision-making calculus of the receiving state or group, “that is, bargaining through arms supply to obtain concessions such as military base rights or votes in the United Nations,”[4] for example. Thus, for the preceding four reasons, the United States and other countries have historically supplied conventional arms to governments and non-state actors throughout the world.

Throughout the Cold War, both U.S. and Soviet foreign policies included arms transfers to states and sub-state groups that benefited each respective superpower. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, for example, the United States was determined to undermine the spread of communism by supporting what it perceived to be friendly forces that shared a common goal. That support was partly manifested in weapon transfers to the Afghan mujahedeen to fight their mutual enemies.

Arms Transfers to the Afghan Mujahedeen

After World War II, U.S. foreign policy sought to promote capitalism while simultaneously containing the global spread of communism. Communist influence in Afghanistan began to spread throughout the 1970s and the Afghan Communist party staged a coup d’état in 1978, effectively taking over the Afghan government. Less than a year later, terrorists kidnapped the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Adolph Dubs, whom later died under unclear circumstances. Unsurprisingly, this series of events fostered concern among U.S. officials over the new Afghan government, led by Nur Muhammad Taraki.[5] Taraki’s government implemented a broad program of communization dedicated to narrowing Western influence in Afghanistan and forming an Islamic government in Kabul.

From the American perspective, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan took place at a time when the United States was losing influence in the Middle East and South Asia. The Shah fell in Iran earlier that year, placing an increased burden on a secure oil supply for the United States and its allies. Due to the risk of compromised U.S. interests, President Carter decided to intervene in Afghanistan to counter the Soviet campaign. American officials believed that if the Soviet Union could successfully spread its influence over Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries might be next, directly affecting U.S. strategic positioning in the region.

President Carter immediately reacted to the Soviet invasion by signing a presidential finding on covert action to funnel arms and to provide training to the Afghan resistance movement.[6] Meanwhile, Pakistan perceived Moscow’s aggressive intervention in neighboring Afghanistan as a threat to its national security. With the loss of Iran as an ally and dwindling options for access to Afghanistan, U.S. and Pakistani interests quickly aligned. Pakistan became the frontline in the resistance against the Soviet occupation.[7] Shortly after the Soviet invasion, the U.S. Congress secretly provided large sums of money that incrementally increased funding of the U.S. effort. These funds amounted to $30 million in 1981, $200 million in 1984, $470 million in 1986, and $630 million in 1987 and were matched dollar for dollar under an agreement the United States negotiated with Saudi Arabia.[8] The funding provided hundreds of thousands of weapons, including Lee Enfield .303 rifles, Chinese AK-47s, vast quantities of Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers (RPG-7s), 60-millimeter Chinese mortars, 12.7-millimeter heavy machine guns Soviet-origin SA-7 Surface-to-Air Missiles, (SAMs), and 2,300 Stinger SAMs to Afghan mujahedeen groups.[9] The weapons to arm the mujahedeen were purchased by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) through global arms markets and from the Egyptians and Turks, so as to avoid any U.S. connection to the weapons on the world stage. The Chinese intelligence services also provided weapons to support the U.S. effort. Likewise, Polish army officers secretly sold their surplus Soviet weapons to support the U.S.-led effort.[10] To avoid direct links to the Afghan mujahedeen, the CIA mainly funneled arms and money through Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to supply and oversee military training camps in Pakistan. According to one CIA officer, “We took the means to wage war, put them in the hands of people who could do so, for purposes for which we agreed.”[11] As the above examples exhibit, arms transfers to the Afghan mujahedeen played a critical role in U.S. efforts to counter the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

However, the Afghan rebels were not the only group receiving U.S. arms transfers during the Soviet-Afghan war. With Pakistan’s strategic importance as the broker of U.S. arms transfers to the mujahedeen, the Pakistanis leveraged their valuable position to negotiate significant aid and arms packages for themselves. In effect, the United States provided handsome arms transfers to Pakistan as a quid pro quo for the United States to use Pakistani territory for its operations. The deal also allowed the United States to use the Pakistani intelligence apparatus to funnel arms and supplies across the border and train the Afghan mujahedeen.[12] By 1985, Pakistan became the fourth largest recipient of U.S. bilateral military assistance, underscoring the significance of Pakistan’s role as the arms broker for the Afghan mujahedeen. With the approval of a $4.02 billion military and economic aid package in 1987, Pakistan became the second largest recipient of American aid (largely arms), only after Israel.[13] U.S. policymakers reasoned the arms deal with Pakistan was necessary because: (1) Soviet influence over Pakistan would have gravely affected U.S. commercial and military interests in the Persian Gulf; (2) The arms deals would entice the Pakistani government to funnel arms to the mujahedeen; (3) Pakistani territory could be of use as a base for future contingencies, particularly against the Soviet threat; and, (4) a credible defense of Pakistan would increase American prestige among the Arab countries and China.[14] The Pakistanis refused to settle for anything less than the best weapons from the United States, successfully negotiating an arms package that included 42 well-equipped F-16 fighter aircraft. Originally far less advanced F-5G aircraft were to be provided as part of the arrangement, but the United States later agreed to provide the more advanced arms they requested in exchange for Pakistani assistance arming the mujahedeen.[15]

Arming the Pakistanis was also perceived as a measure that would deter the Soviets from attacking Pakistan.[16] Conscious of the potential repercussions due to their support of the Americans, Pakistani officials also sought to deter a large-scale Soviet attack on their territory. Meanwhile, the United States wanted to ensure the continuity of the ISI’s successful arming and training of the mujahedeen and prevent the Soviet Union from gaining any additional control and influence over South and Central Asia. By 1985, significant advancements could be seen from the joint U.S.-Pakistan effort. On February 15, 1989, the last Soviet soldier departed Afghanistan, leaving the country in a state of disarray after a series of government coups and proxy wars spanning 20 years.

U.S. arms transfers to Afghanistan from 1979 through 1993 had its share of both successes and failures, the reach of which continue to be felt throughout the world today. When President Carter initiated the arms program in 1979, U.S. policy was intended to undermine the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in an effort to cripple the spread of communism. All else aside, this effort was successful and the policy worked. Despite the perceived success of the U.S. arms transfers described above, the United States continues to pay the price of this shortsighted policy almost three and a half decades later. By using the ISI to supply Afghan mujahedeen groups with an abundance of weapons, U.S. policy was exclusively and shortsightedly focused on the immediate goals of weakening and later expelling Soviet forces from the region. To the discredit of the United States, little effort went into contingency planning once these near-term goals were accomplished.

In 1994, Islamist mujahedeen forces united under the Taliban and replaced the Afghan government with a fiercely anti-American Islamist regime using weapons previously provided by the United States. The Taliban went on to ruthlessly rule much of the country under strict Islamic law. They expanded the already widespread network of Islamic schools built over the previous decade, which added to the radicalization of the population. The Taliban also created a safe haven for international terrorists to converge and plot external attacks. They harbored Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda followers, providing them the freedom to train scores of terrorists including those that would ultimately collude to attack the United States in September 2001.[17] Since the 9/11 attack, thousands of U.S. forces have fought the Taliban in Afghanistan to destroy a population that the United States inadvertently helped fund, arm and train three decades ago. Thus, while the U.S. policy was ultimately successful at accomplishing the goals of undermining and later forcing the Soviet withdrawal, the arms transfers manifested into many longer-term global security issues.

Current U.S. Policy Regarding International Arms Transfers

The United States, Russia, Germany, France and the United Kingdom export the most weapons worldwide. Together, these countries accounted for three-quarters of all weapons exports between 2007 and 2011.[18] Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. arms transfer policy appears to have focused on assisting allied nations’ abilities to protect themselves from regional security threats. Reported data suggests that developing countries are routinely the primary recipients of arms sales from the United States and other suppliers, with the percentage of global arms sale agreements to such countries steadily increasing from 68.6% between 2004 and 2010 to 83.9% in 2011.[19]

The Untied States dominates the global arms trade. In 2011, the total of worldwide arms transfers were valued at $85.3 billion, with the United States accounting for $66.3 billion, 77.7% of the worldwide total. Russia, the second largest arms supplier after the United States, accounted for only $4.8 billion, or 5.6%, of the worldwide total.[20] Asia and Oceania received 45% of U.S. arms transfers of conventional weapons from 2007-2011. The major recipient countries in the region were South Korea, Australia, Singapore, and Pakistan. The region with the second largest imports of U.S. arms from 2007-2011 was Europe, accounting for 19%, followed by the Middle East, which received 17%.[21]

In 2011 the United States spent more on arms transfers than ever before, surpassing 2010 expenditures by almost 68%.[22] The huge increase between 2010 and 2011 marks an abrupt adjustment to U.S. policy for that year, with $33.4 billion—more than half of all U.S. arms transfers—going from the United States to Saudi Arabia for that year.[23] By comparison, the second largest recipient of U.S. weapons in 2011 was India, receiving only $6.9 billion.[24] The significant increase in U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia was likely an effort by the United States to beef up Saudi security in light of instability in the Middle East during the Arab Spring. The United States continues to be concerned about the stability of the region after the Arab uprisings brought down the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya in 2011. The increase in arms sales is also likely intended to reassert Saudi Arabia’s regional power vis-à-vis Iran, which is of rising concern to the United States and its regional allies.[25] While statistics for government-to-government arms transfers are often readily reported, the same cannot be said about arms transfers to non-state actors, which often are initiated covertly, or below the radar as in the case with arms used to support Libyan rebels in 2011.[26]

Arms Transfers to Libyan Rebels

Similar to the case of U.S. arms transfers to Afghan mujahedeen during the Cold War, the United States has allegedly transferred or supported the transfer of weapons to other sub-state groups in an effort to promote its foreign policy objectives in recent years. The 2011 Libyan war highlights this foreign policy decision. The United States government worked with its international partners to provide weapons to rebel groups seeking to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi’s regime. Though there are few details or evidence to suggest that the United States directly transferred weapons to Libyan opposition groups, some reports allege that the United States gave its approval for Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to do so.[27] According to the New York Times, the United States government did not give the Emiratis permission to ship U.S. made weapons to Libyan rebels, “but instead urged the Emirates to ship weapons to Libya that could not be traced to the United States.”[28] Similar to the case of the Cold War-era Afghan mujahedeen, Libyan rebels were provided arms by different countries, including Qatar and the UAE, ultimately helping support the opposition’s defeat of Qaddafi’s regime.[29]

While the weapons sent to Libya successfully brought down the Qaddafi regime, there were second-order effects similar to the results of weapons supplied to the Afghan mujahedeen. Supposedly, after some of the shipments of arms bound for Libya—consisting of French and Russian designed small arms, such as machine guns, automatic rifles, and ammunition—were transferred to the Libyan rebels by air and sea, the Obama administration became concerned Qatar was turning some of the weapons over to Islamic militants.[30] There appears to be a lack of consensus as to where the arms that were sent to the Libyan rebels ended up; however, evidence suggests that at least some of the arms have been moved from Libya to militants with ties to al-Qaeda in Mali, while others were transported to support rebels in Syria.[31] It is also likely that the same weapons that were used to bring down Qaddafi’s regime have since added to the new government’s difficulty in restoring order to the country by disbanding the many armed militias remaining as remnants of the 2011 war.

Reports also indicate that significant amounts of arms have been flowing out of Libya in the possession of fleeing Tuaregs. Other reports indicate arms that are reaching Islamic extremists in neighboring countries, in some cases even shifting the balance of power, as in Mali and Syria.[32] According to a UN report, the arms leaving Libya have been in the form of “heavy and light weapons, including man-portable air defense systems, small arms and related ammunition and explosives and mines.”[33] The instability resulting from the Libyan war has also worsened the security situation in the remote areas where Libya, the Niger, and Algeria converge.[34] There is increasing international concern regarding the arms that are easily trafficked through this lawless area.[35] Such fears highlight the potential for the weapons from the war in Libya, both those attained by Qaddafi’s regime as well as those transferred to the rebels in 2011, to have further destabilizing effects on neighboring countries.

Cross-border violence has also caused alarm for Algerian authorities due to the Libyan government’s inability to maintain security on its side of the border. Algeria’s continued security concerns are partially the result of the January 2013 siege of the country’s Ain Amenas gas plant, perpetrated by Libya-based Islamists linked to al-Qaeda. Algerian government forces were called upon to intervene in the Ain Amenas attack and after a four-day standoff with militants, Algerian special forces raided the natural gas complex where hundreds of workers were held captive. 37 hostages and 29 militants were killed by the end of the incident.[36] The attack on the gas plant, fueled by well-armed Libyan Islamist militants, also affected importers of Algerian gas. Ain Amenas, which normally produces 10% of Algeria’s total natural gas output, experienced a temporary loss of gas production. The assault completely cut off gas production at the facility for over a month and even then production was significantly limited to only one of the plant’s three production trains.[37] The implications of the alleged arms transferred to Libya are widespread and extend beyond Libya’s borders, as specifically evidenced by the case with Algeria. As proved to be the case with arms transferred to the Afghan mujahedeen, the potential destabilizing second-order effects of arms provided to Libyan rebels is important to consider when assessing the foreign policy implications of U.S.-backed arms transfers in the future.

Arms Transfers to Syrian Rebels

As concerns mount over Salafi jihadists’ role in Syria, the United States has allegedly avoided directly arming the Syrian rebellion that has sought to oust President Bashar al-Assad since March 2011. While little information is publicly available regarding the transport of weapons to the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), media reports suggest the United States has been funneling millions of dollars for humanitarian purposes while simultaneously feeding intelligence to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.[38] In turn, the Saudis and Qataris have been acting as intermediaries to smuggle automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, and ammunition to opposition fighters.[39] The intention of this policy has supposedly been to prevent American weapons from reaching anti-American Salafi fighters while allowing the United States to determine which groups of the opposition warrant its support. Nevertheless, the U.S. policy has been reported to be providing arms to unintended recipients.[40]

According to the New York Times, American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats have stated “most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hardline Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster.”[41] According to available reporting, as was the case with weapons transfers to the Afghan mujahedeen and Libyan rebels, U.S. backed arms transfers to the Syrian rebels appear to be consistently turning up in the hands of U.S. adversaries. Additional evidence suggests that rebels are growing long beards to impersonate Salafi jihadists after hearing that Qatar was more inclined to give weapons to Islamist fighters.[42] Thus, U.S. policy has inadvertently helped arm the jihadists that it initially sought to sideline by using Saudi Arabia and Qatar to control the flow of weapons to the Syrian rebels. Having analyzed the unintentional and potential consequences of the arms transfer policies implemented in the Afghan and Libyan cases, speculation points towards an unfavorable future for Syria and its neighbors in the event Salafi jihadists continue to acquire significant amounts of arms.

Conclusion, Policy Deficiencies, and Recommendations

Multiple similarities arise in the policies that led to the transfer of arms to the Afghan mujahedeen, and Libyan and Syrian rebels. While the circumstances and details of arms transfers to the SNC remain ambiguous, there appear to have been both successes and failures resulting from the arms transfers to the Afghan mujahedeen and Libyan rebels. In both cases, the successes appear relatively immediate in nature, while the failures emerge over the long-term12T The Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 was an immediate success in line with U.S. strategic objectives, while the arming of anti-American Islamists and the creation of the Taliban in Afghanistan was a long-term strategic failure. In the case of Libya, U.S. and NATO supported arms transfers to Libyan rebel groups in 2011 succeeded with the immediate goal of overthrowing Qaddafi. However, this policy appears to have inadvertently led to the arming of Tuaregs and Islamist militants who have intensified and destabilized the security situation in Libya and in nearby Mali. The arming of Libyan rebels has since required international armed intervention in Mali to prevent the creation of a safe-haven for Islamist militants—including al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)—similar to the circumstances that led Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists in the 1990s. Though the long-term effects of arming Libyan rebels remain to be seen, the other case studies throughout this paper illustrate the potential risks to regional security posed by the weapons transferred during the Libyan war.

In the case of Syria, alleged U.S. sanctioning of Qatari and Saudi arms transfers to the Syrian opposition has already shown similarities with Afghanistan and Libya. With the United States ostensibly leaving its allies to deliver arms to the Syrian rebels, jihadists loyal to al-Qaeda have been reported to be receiving many of the weapons transfers. Just as Pakistan chose to arm the most radical anti-American mujahedeen fighters in the 1980s, apparently so too is Qatar in Syria.[43]

It is thus incumbent upon the United States to learn from previous mistakes. In order to effectively and responsibly execute arms transfers as a tool of foreign policy, U.S. policymakers must vigorously assess the short and long-term potential outcomes of arming non-state groups. Distributing large quantities of arms to non-state actors is both risky and unpredictable. In all of the cases addressed in this paper, the United States allegedly used third party states—Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and/or Qatar—as conduits to deliver arms to groups it supported. It appears that in all of these cases, many of the arms ended up in the wrong hands, leading to long-term blowback. None of the countries used by the United States share its exact interests, as evidenced by their calculus in supporting Islamist extremists. Thus, the United States should not rely on such intermediaries to implement its policy. The United States has attempted to use intermediaries is to mask its involvement, but, in all of the above cases, the media has traced the alleged arms transfers back to the United States and widely publicized the policy.

The United States is far more likely to be successful in its arms transfers to non-state actors if it cuts out the middlemen and supplies the arms through its own distribution networks. As Vali Nasr, a former State Department advisor stated, “when you have an intermediary, you are going to lose control.”[44] U.S. policymakers should be very critical of arming non-state groups in the future. However, if circumstances determine that the potential benefits of doing so outweigh the costs, the United States should directly arm the non-state actors itself, without relying on intermediaries.

Paul Khuri is a Middle East analyst at a private consulting firm in Washington, D.C. where he focuses on the intersection of politics, economics, and security. He is also an MA candidate in International Security Policy at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.


[1] Frederic S. Pearson, The Global Spread of Arms: Political Economy of International Security (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1994), 53.


[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 53-54.

[5]Charles G. Cogan “Partners in Time: The CIA and Afghanistan since 1979.” World Policy Journal, Vol. 10. No. 2 (1993): 75.

[6] Ibid., 76.

[7] Ibid.

[8]Steve Coll. Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001. New York: Penguin Books, 2004. 65, 151.

[9] Ibid., 66, 337.

[10] Ibid., 66

[11] Cogan, “Partners in Time,” 74.

[12]T. V. Paul, “Influence through Arms Transfers: Lessons from the U.S.-Pakistani Relationship.” Asian Survey Vol. 32. No. 12 (December 1992), 1086.

[13] Ibid., 1083-84.

[14] Ibid., 1084 and Fukuyama, Francis. “The Security of Pakistan: A Trip Report.” RAND Corporation (1980), 30-35.

[15]W. Howard Wriggins, “Pakistan’s Search for a Foreign Policy After the Invasion of Afghanistan.” Pacific Affairs 57.2 (1984): 296.

[16] Paul, “Influence through Arms Transfers,” 1083-4.

[17]Ahmed Rashid, Taliban: militant Islam, oil, and fundamentalism in Central Asia (Yale University Press, 2001), 6-7.

[18] “SIPRI Yearbook 2012, Summary- Armaments, Disarmaments and International Security.” Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (2012), 12.

[19]Richard F. Grimmett, and Paul K. Kerr. “Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2004-2011.” Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 2012, Summary Page.

[20] Ibid., Summary Page, 70.

[21] “SIPRI Yearbook 2012- Armaments, Disarmaments and International Security.” Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. 2012, Oxford University Press, Oxford, Chapter 6, 259-271.

[22] Grimmett and Kerr, “Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2004-2011,” 70.

[23] Ibid., Summary Page.

[24] “SIPRI Yearbook 2012,” 261-63.

[25] Ibid, 263.

[26] Mark Hosenball. “Exclusive: Obama authorizes secret help for Libya rebels.” Reuters, Mar. 30, 2011, accessed May 11, 2014,

[27] James Risen, Mark Mazzetti, and Michael S. Schmidt, “U.S.-Approved Arms for Libya Rebels Fell Into Jihadis’ Hands,” New York Times, December 5, 2012, accessed May 11, 2014,

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.

[32]UN Security Council. “Final report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1973 (2011) concerning Libya,” 25, accessed May 11, 2014,

[33] Ibid

[34] Ibid.

[35] Scott Stewart, “Mali Besieged by Fighters Fleeing Libya.” Stratfor, February 02, 2012, accessed May 11, 2014,

[36] Lamine Chikhi, “Algerian Troops Find Huge Arms Cache on Libyan Border.” Reuters, October 24, 2013, accessed May 11, 2014, idUSBRE99N17V20131024. “Moktar Belmoktar, al Qaeda linked terror commander behind Ain Amenas gas plant attack in Algeria, resurfaces,” CBSNews, September 11, 2013,

[37] “Algeria,” United States Energy Information Administration, accessed May 11, 2014,

[38] The SNC, which is formally called the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, and is also commonly called the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) was formed in November 2012 in Doha, Qatar. The coalition was formed to create a unified coalition of opposition groups in the fight against Bashar al-Assad’s government. The United States government along with most of the international community has come to recognize the SNC as the ‘the legitimate representative’ of the Syrian people (“National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces,” Carnegie Endowment For International Peace, accessed May 27, 2014,

[39] David E. Sanger, “Rebel Arms Flow Is Said to Benefit Jihadists in Syria,” New York Times, October 14, 2012,

[40] Mark Mazzetti, C.J. Chivers, and Eric Schmitt, “Taking Outsize Role in Syria, Qatar Funnels Arms to Rebels,” New York Times, June 29, 2013, accessed May 11, 2014, middleeast/sending-missiles-to-syrian-rebels-qatar-muscles-in.html?pagewanted=all.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Sanger, “Rebel Arms Flow Is Said to Benefit Jihadists in Syria.”

[44] Risen, Mazzetti, and Schmidt, “U.S.-Approved Arms for Libya Rebels Fell Into Jihadis’ Hands.”

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