I didn't see any news about this, but apparently a Stinger used by the Taliban against one of our helicopters in Afghanistan (luckily, we lost no troops although the helicopter had to make a hard landing) on July 25, 2012, opened up a link that went back to Qatar and the Libya War in a State Department plan to send hand-held anti-aircraft missiles to the Libyan rebels:
My sources in the US Special Operations community believe the Stinger fired against the Chinook was part of the same lot the CIA turned over to the Qataris in early 2011, weapons Hillary Rodham Clinton’s State Department intended for anti-Khadafy forces in Libya.
Up to 60 Stingers were sent as well as more than three times as many Russian models, according to the author.
Even though I favor arming friendlier rebels in Syria, this is why I've always opposed sending anti-aircraft missiles. I just don't believe the gain would outweigh the possible problems. And I believed alternatives like auto-cannons (to keep the aircraft away) and longer range mortars and rockets (to fire at the airfields) would be good enough given the air threat.
Just who in the world thought the Libyan rebels needed advanced terrorist-friendly missiles when the NATO alliance was providing an air force to the rebels?
I know that the air umbrella was less capable of stopping low-flying helicopters, but there is not way that it was worth it to send those missiles to Libyan rebels.
Our air patrols would have gotten some of the helicopters and air strikes could have been sent to attack the helicopters when they landed at bases. And we could have helped the rebels put auto-cannons captured from the government depots back into action.
If we absolutely had to send those missiles, we could have given them to the Western special forces on the ground who were helping to call in the air strikes. If you are forward enough to do that, you are forward enough to be able to use Stingers.
If true, this plan was just stupid.
And if we had diplomats on the ground in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 because we were trying to sweep up the missiles still in Libya as RUMORINT had it, we did suffer casualties because of this decision.
Tip to Radag, who emailed me the news.