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AS the western nations get a green light from the UN Security Council to impose a "no fly" zone over Libya, the UK Foreign Office list of arms exports from Britain suggests that the UK has done much to help Gaddafi's forces fly (and drop bombs) in the first place.

In 2005, the UK licensed the sale of £29.5m worth of "military transport aircraft" to the colonel; and in 2009 and 2010 licensed the sale of "bombing computers" and "military aircraft ground equipment" too.

In addition, between 2005 and 2007, sales of armoured all-wheel drive vehicles, armoured personnel carriers, night vision goggles and water cannon got the go-ahead.

The biggest shipments (and most alarming ones, given how Gaddafi's forces are repressing the population) suggest that the exports didn't even help boost British manufacturing. In 2007, for example, a job lot of "anti-riot shields, body armour, anti-riot guns, crowd control ammunition, smoke ammunition, tear gas/irritant ammunition, smoke hand grenades & CS hand grenades" were licensed for export to Libya by British businessmen. The materials, however, were from Serbia.

In 2005, a £41m package of battlefield weapons, including heavy machine guns, armour for tanks, day and night sights for weapons and military image intensifier equipment, originally from the Ukraine, was also licensed.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Mar 21st, 2011 at 09:17:46 AM EST

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