The Swiss cabinet has approved the sale of 180 armored personnel carriers to the United Arab Emirates, which will in turn present them to Iraq. The M113 “Gavin” Armored Personnel Carriers have a value of SFR 12 million (USD $9.4 million) and are part of a Swiss army surplus. They are in good condition. As DID has reported, they will join 77 refurbished T-72 tanks from Hungary as the Iraqis move to build up an armored division.
While the move has attracted criticism from other political parties in Switzerland on the basis of neutrality, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) justified the decision by saying that Switzerland, like other countries, had “an interest in ensuring that the situation in Iraq stabilised as soon as possible” and noted that this was only possible when Iraqi security forces were adequately equipped to protect themselves. As further justification, it cited a United Nations’ resolution from last year, which called on UN members to help Iraq to preserve law and order. This meant that the latest sale circumvented the international embargo. Swiss Information Service (June 30/05) – Swiss M113 Personnel Carriers to Go to Iraq
NOTE: 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.