(TASS) The West has failed to become fully aware of the consequences of its military operations in the Middle East and Africa, due to which militants have got hold of a large number of weapons and munitions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.
“To all appearances, our Western colleagues have not yet become fully aware of the consequences of their military operations of the past few years in the countries of the Middle East and Africa,” Lavrov said, responding to a TASS question.
“They believed that they would destroy the regimes of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi and immediately democracy would triumph in Iraq and Libya. Instead, chaos came to reign there and army depots and arsenals abandoned by the military were ransacked there,” the Russian foreign minister said.
All the weapons, including shoulder-fired antiaircraft missile systems and hundreds of tons of ammunition “have disappeared without a trace,” Lavrov said.
“Now fratricidal wars are raging in these states and no end to them can be seen so far. Unfortunately, the situation was predictable and the Russian president warned about this numerously,” the foreign minister remarked.
In Libya alone, no less than 500 Strela and Igla shoulder-fired antiaircraft missile systems have disappeared, Lavrov said.
“The first alarm bell rang in Mali where militants shot down a governmental MiG-21 plane from a portable antiaircraft missile in 2012,” the Russian foreign minister said.
“No one knows in the hands of which terrorist groupings these systems most dangerous for civil aviation may end up – the ISIL [the former name of the Islamic State terrorist organization outlawed in Russia], Jabhat al-Nusra, Al Qaeda. Likewise, no one knows when and where these weapons will be used next time,” Lavrov said.
“In Iraq, hardly anyone – hundreds of thousands of those killed or millions of people living in the conditions of a civil war – has felt more at ease that the Britons have found after a probe that then-Prime Minister Tony Blair had actually deceived the parliament, pushing through a decision to involve the UK army in the invasion together with the Americans,” the Russian foreign minister said.
“It goes without saying that the effects could have been far more ruinous, if Russia three years ago had not prevented a US strike on Syria persuading Assad to give up his chemical weapons. One cannot but feel horror at the thought in whose hands portable antiaircraft missiles, other conventional weapons and chemical weapons stockpiles might have ended up now,” Lavrov said.
According to the diplomat, three years ago Russia by persuading Bashar Assad to give up chemical weapons prevented a US strike on Syria that would have caused disastrous effects.
“It goes without saying that the effects could have been far more ruinous, if Russia three years ago had not prevented a US strike on Syria persuading Assad to give up his chemical weapons. One cannot but feel horror at the thought in whose hands portable anti-aircraft rockets, other conventional weapons and chemical weapons stockpiles might have ended up now,” Lavrov concluded.