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Iraq Inks $100 Million Arms Deal – With China

From the DNC’s Washington Post:

Iraqis to Pay China $100 Million for Weapons for Police

Experts Fear More Will Go to Insurgents

By Robin Wright and Ann Scott Tyson
Thursday, October 4, 2007; A12

Iraq has ordered $100 million worth of light military equipment from China for its police force, contending that the United States was unable to provide the materiel and is too slow to deliver arms shipments, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said yesterday.

The China deal, not previously made public, has alarmed military analysts who note that Iraq’s security forces already are unable to account for more than 190,000 weapons supplied by the United States, many of which are believed to be in the hands of Shiite and Sunni militias, insurgents and other forces seeking to destabilize Iraq and target U.S. troops…

The Chinese arms deal sheds light on the larger dispute between the United States and Iraq over rebuilding Iraq’s armed forces and police. Iraqi officials have long complained about the supply of weapons and equipment for their personnel, noting that Iraqi security forces often patrol in pickup trucks without body armor along the same routes as U.S. troops wearing flak jackets and riding in armored vehicles.

“There is general frustration in the Iraqi government at the rate in which Iraqi armed forces are being equipped and armed,” Iraqi Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie told reporters this summer. “This is a collaborative effort between the Iraqi government and the government of the United States, and the process is not moving quickly enough to improve the fighting capacity of Iraqi armed forces. A way must be found to improve this process.”

Talabani yesterday expressed frustration with the delays. “The capacity of the factories here are not enough to provide us quickly with all that we need, even for the army. One of our demands is to accelerate the delivery of the arms to the Iraqi army.” …

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the United States is “working closely” to help Iraq obtain “appropriate and necessary” military equipment. But U.S. officials concede delivery problems.

“We haven’t converted toaster factories to produce carbines and we’re working hard just to supply our own troops,” said an administration official involved with Iraq policy. “Our factories are working for our own troops. So it’s true we don’t have the ability to provide these rifles and other equipment they’re looking for.”

In 2004 and 2005, the United States bought 185,000 AK-47s from an Eastern European country — after Iraqis rejected U.S.-made M-16 assault rifles — as part of a $2.8 billion program to deliver military equipment to Iraq. But a recent Government Accountability Office report said that 110,000 of them were unaccounted for, with about 30 percent of all arms distributed to Iraqi forces by the United States since 2004 missing…

Ingrate, miserable — see Iraq.

Of course the Washington Post hardly even notices that aspect of the story.

But what will the Iraqis do when these weapons are recalled for having lead paint?

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, October 4th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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