By JR on Tuesday, November 01, 2011
A secret cache of Colonel Gaddafi’s chemical weapons has been found in Libya, the country’s new rulers announced yesterday.
The deadly arsenal proves the tyrant had refused to give up his weapons of mass destruction – despite promising Tony Blair he would relinquish them in the infamous ‘Deal in the Desert’.
The National Transitional Council said the chemical warheads had been secured and would be made safe by experts. A spokesman said: ‘They are from the Gaddafi era and are under guard until they can be handed over.’
To this day, Mr Blair defends his decision to embrace Gaddafi by trumpeting the idea that he forced the dictator to give up his WMD programme.
His spokesman said earlier this week: ‘Mr Blair, in office, had been responsible for getting Gaddafi to give up his chemical and nuclear weapons programme and renounce terrorism.’
Gaddafi agreed to destroy most of his weapons of mass destruction in 2003 as part of moves to bring Libya, then a pariah state, in from the cold. The agreement was sealed in 2004 when Mr Blair shook hands with Gaddafi in a tent outside Tripoli.
The disarming process was being overseen by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, but was never finished because of the outbreak of war.
It meant the dictator retained around ten tons of deadly mustard gas and other chemicals. Throughout the uprising, rebels feared vengeful Gaddafi – who warned they faced the ‘fires from Hell’ – would unleash WMD on his own people. In Misrata, panic gripped the population when forces loyal to Gaddafi were seen wearing gas masks.
Nato spy planes and satellites monitored suspected chemical weapons dumps at three separate locations, including the Rughawa site some 130 miles south of the tyrant’s birthplace Sirte.