TRIPOLI – The small desert ranch near Tripoli was described as a turkey farm, but there were no birds in sight when a group of weapons experts visited six weeks ago. Guided by Libyan officials, they entered a metal barn to discover the farm’s true purpose: a hiding place for hundreds of chemical bombs.
The turkey farm is one of a number of secret weapons sites Libya has shown to U.S., British and U.N. officials in the weeks since Moammar Gadhafi publicly renounced weapons of mass destruction. Libya’s willingness to open its weapons laboratories and storage depots – including some that were unknown – has helped cement trust between U.S. and Libyan scientists, while persuading Bush administration officials that Gadhafi’s December announcement was sincere.
Working with black-market suppliers, Libya was in the process of acquiring a large uranium enrichment plant that could have produced enough fuel for several nuclear bombs a year.
The Libyan disclosures have provided U.N. investigators with an important glimpse of how global weapons proliferation actually works.