In an effort to block President Donald Trump from being able to do arms deals with United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sen. Robert Menendez has put a new spotlight on Barack Obama.
U.S.-made Javelin missiles have been deployed by insurgents against the recognized government of Libya, but the sales have been traced back to a 2008 sale made during the Obama administration.
Libya and the United States
The relationship between the United States and Libya has always been testy at best. The countries were regularly involved in “scraps” until the United States backed a coup against Muammar Gaddafi.
When the takeover was complete, the relationship got much cozier between the United States and the newly recognized government of Libya.
The U.S. has, however, conducted bombing missions on Libyan soil as part of the war on terrorism.
Obama’s Arms Deal
According to reports, the missiles found in the hands of rebels date back to a deal with the United Arab Emirates in 2008.
The missiles in question were found in a stockpile of a Libyan rebel force that was captured by government forces. The cost of the missiles is estimated at about $170,000 each.
When the missile markings were tracked, they led back to the aforementioned deal with the UAE. Senator Menendez sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to make him aware of this discovery as well as noting it should be reason to suspend all sales with the UAE.
Menendez stated: “This would appear to be a serious violation of United States law. Such a transfer would also almost certainly be a violation of the UN arms embargo on Libya.”
The stickler in all of this is that the original sale went through while Libya was still considered an enemy of the United States. Menendez has requested an inquiry as to when the transfer took place to see if the UAE violated current agreements.
The State Department had said it intends to investigate the allegations, stating, “We expect all recipients of U.S.-origin defense equipment to abide by their end-use obligations.”
If it’s true that this transfer happened after the 2011 takeover and while Obama was still in office, it will be yet another black mark on Obama’s legacy.