Inadequate Reporting Freezes Deal for Swiss M113s to Iraq
Switzerland Economics Minister Joseph Deiss said on Aug. 15/05 that the country would freeze a deal to send 180 armored personnel carriers (APCs) to Iraq until Baghdad guarantees that the APCs will only be used for “police services, border protection and transport of material.” To Defense Industry Daily’s deep annoyance and considerable regret, our article on the subject has become part of that debate after it was used to assert that the M113 armored personnel carriers would become part of Iraq’s new armored division. To reiterate what we’ve told several Swiss journalists, and what we added on Aug. 13/05 to the very article the Basler Zeitung (wrongly) cited as support for this thesis:
DID did not mean to imply that the M113s are destined for Iraq’s armored division – we had no information to that effect. We used the term “join” only in the sense that these are the first 2 major armored assets purchased by the elected Iraqi government. Which does indeed intend to use the T-72s as part of an armored division. DID could have worded that better, and we apologize for any confusion.
We wish the Basler Zeitung had contacted us in some way (editorial@… works) before running this story – and we wish even more fervently that national and international media like Associated Press and Agence France Presse had either contacted us or gone online to the purported source when dealing with a major political issue, and noted our clear explanation that Basler Zeitung’s claim was based on a misinterpretation. Especially after this fact was published in Berne’s NZZ am Sonntag on Aug 14/05. We have contacted them to set the record straight in no uncertain terms, and we will continue to do so with any other media that get this story wrong. Nevertheless, our article was written in a way that someone, for whatever reason, misunderstood. DID is responsible for writing it that way, which means we screwed up, and we apologize.
N.B. With respect the plausibility of M113s for police departments et. al, see the photo at left from the Doraville, Georgia, USA police department. More examples of American police with M113s can be found here. Their Iraqi counterparts, who face much bigger threats due to regular attacks by Islamist paramilitary death squads armed with RPGs and explosives, could probably put M113s to very good use.