Muammar Qaddafi
Muammar QaddafiReuters

Libyan former intelligence official Ahmad Qadhaf Al-Dam recently said that the Islamic State (ISIS) and other terrorist groups had gotten hold of the chemical weapons that had remained in Libya from the regime of former dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

The comments by Al-Dam, who is a cousin of Qaddafi, were made in an interview with the Egyptian Dream TV network on January 18. They were translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“You said that ISIS has gained control of poisonous gases, such as the lethal sarin gas. Where did you get that information from?” the interviewer asked.

Al-Dam replied, “It is no secret that these gases exist in Libya. To be fair, ISIS is not the only one. Everyone has poisonous gases. It's not only in Libya. Everybody knows this. The Western countries know this. They have spies [in Libya]. They are the ones who attacked Libya, and then left these dangerous weapons there.”

Asked about Western countries’ claims that they had forced Qaddafi to get rid of his arsenal of chemical weapons, Al-Dam replied, They didn't force him. It was part of a deal. There was no longer any justification for building a [nuclear] bomb. For whom would we build it? The Arabs had recognized Israel and had begun to collaborate with it. We in Libya didn't have an enemy for which to build a nuclear bomb. This enterprise began in the early 1970s, when the Arab nation wanted to produce a weapon that would deter the Zionist enemy. But today, we have become on the best terms with the Zionists, so why would we want such a weapon?”

The poisonous gases which are allegedly in the hands of ISIS now, said Al-Dam, “were held by the armed forces, and were hidden in bases with which nobody was familiar, deep in the desert.”

He also said he believed that the weapons that fell into the hands of ISIS “were smuggled out of Libya, as the world knows. I believe that the weapons that reached Syria originated in Libya.”

“The weapons that Bashar Al-Assad was falsely accused of using came from Libya. This is well known,” he claimed. “A Turkish opposition member talked about this in detail, giving names and presenting data. Western sources know the names of those who transferred the weapons from Libya, and know where the weapons went, how they entered [Syria], and what use they were put to. It was a big scandal.”

During the civil war in Libya which resulted in Qaddafi’s ouster and death, it was confirmed that Qaddafi had ten tons of mustard gas stockpiled, and it was feared he might use it on opposition forces seeking to bring an end to his regime. Iran had supplied Qaddafi with hundreds of special artillery shells for chemical weapons that Libya kept secret for decades.

In October of 2011 the Libyan government confirmed the presence of chemical weapons in Libya and said foreign inspectors would deal with the issue.

The comments by Al-Dam reaffirm reports from late 2013 which indicated that the chemical arsenal was in an abandoned desert warehouse in southern Libya and that terrorists were trying to get their hands on it.