BEIRUT, Lebanon, March 1 (UPI) — The arms embargoes slapped on Libya by the United Nations and the European Union could cost international defense companies, particularly those in Europe and Russia, billions of dollars.
Much will depend on how long the sanctions last and whether Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who has ruled Libya with an iron grip since 1969, wins his fight for survival against his many enemies.
There was more than a hint of irony in the EU embargo, since member states of the 27-nation alliance have been among the major arms suppliers to Libya since earlier 18-year U.N. and U.S. sanctions were lifted in 2004 after Gadhafi abandoned his clandestine nuclear program.
Those sales must be coming back to haunt Europe’s arms manufacturers now as Gadhafi uses the weapons and equipment they supplied to fight off an insurgency to topple his 41-year-old regime.
“The situation in Libya illustrates the fundamental problem that the long-term effects of arms transfers are not taken into account,” observed Bernhard Moltmann of the Peace Research Institute of Frankfurt.
Italy supplied systems that Gadhafi has supposedly also been using against his own people, although it’s not clear if these included AgustaWestland helicopters under 2010 contracts worth $96.5 million.
Italy’s Selex Sistemi Integrati signed a $17.9 million deal for gun targeting equipment in 2010 and shipbuilder Intermarine SpA opened negotiations for warship contracts worth $827 million.
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