Iraq Turns to China for Small Arms

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USMC LCpl Cheema & AK(click to view full) In September 2006, “Up to $750M in Weapons & Support for Iraq” described Iraq’s order for a number of American small arms, as well as helicopters and blast resistant vehicles. A subsequent update to that piece shed more light on the process Iraq used to select US weapons over the Soviet-derived alternatives that are so common in the country as a legacy of the Saddam era. There are some programs to refurbish those weapons, but the new direction seemed clear. Iraq has just made a request for follow-on equipment, but US small arms manufacturers are finding that it’s hard to keep customers exclusively loyal if you can’t perform. Iraq continues to request US weapons, but the Washington Post reports that Iraq is also preparing to buy over $100 million in Soviet-derived small arms from… China. As the Post article notes: “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 […]

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