Passport

Guess who else got their hands on some Libyan weapons?

Christian Caryl wrote yesterday on the possibility that the collapse of Muammar al-Qaddafi's regime in Libya -- and the flood of suddenly available weaponry that resulted -- may be at the root of Mali's current crisis. Not surprisingly, as Reuters reports today, the Tuareg rebels may not be the only armed group in North Africa that has come into a post-Qaddafi weapons windfall

"We found that Libyan weapons are being sold in what is the world's biggest black market for illegal gun smugglers, and Somali pirates are among those buying from sellers in Sierra Leone, Liberia and other countries," said Judith van der Merwe, of the Algiers-based African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism.

"We believe our information is credible and know that some of the pirates have acquired ship mines, as well as Stinger and other shoulder-held missile launchers," Van der Merwe told Reuters on the sidelines of an Indian Ocean naval conference. [...] The information was gathered from interviews with gun smugglers, pirates and other sources, said Van der Merwe.

Van der Merwe also notes that while the total number of pirates attacks seem to be down this year, the individual ransoms paid are increasing. Ship mines and missile launchers would seem to be a substantial upgrade for the pirate arsenal.

MOHAMED DAHIR/AFP/Getty Images

Passport

Putin supports new term limits ... for the next guy

Vladimir Putin says he wouldn't mind amending Russia's constitution to prevent future presidents from doing what he did -- returning to the presidency for a non-consecutive third term:

On Wednesday, during a Q&A session in Parliament, Putin said it would be "reasonable" to remove the mention of consecutive terms. But he added that this would not affect him because such a legislation cannot be retroactive — implying that his third term would considered his first term under the new law.

"Once it's passed, I will have a chance to work for the next two terms. There's no problem here," he said in televised remarks.

Now he tells us.