Under NATO supervision Albania has progressively disposed of the military stocks it amassed during the Stalinist reign of Enver Hoxha. However the alliance sometimes turns a blind eye to arms deals that suit its purposes.
Stocks a-plenty – The final report of the UN Panel of Experts that was submitted to the UN Security Council on April 15 confirms information that has circulated in Western intelligence circles for the past couple of years on the key role played in the Libyan conflict by MEICO, Albania’s military export agency. According to the U.N report, in September 2011, MEICO exported some 800,000 Chinese-made cartridge chargers to rebel-controlled Benghazi.
An ally of Maoist China for many years, Albania still possesses large stocks of Chinese munitions which are particularly well-suited to the weaponry used by rebel groups in Africa and elsewhere. Along with the arm export agency of Croatia, MEICO is currently a supplier to Syria’s opposition fighters, with financing from the Gulf.
Rapid and efficient transport – In 2011 Albanian weapons and ammunition were transported to Benghazi by the local airline Ayk Avia. In the same year the same company also transported military materiel to Puntland for the private security company Saracen (IOL 661). Ayk Air also recently transported arms shipments to Moldova and Armenia.