News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Many ISIS weapons have been paid for by US taxpayers via Iraq Army and Syrian groups. US taxpayers now being told they must pay for more weapons to help locals 'fight ISIS'. Report cites decades of US incompetence and endemic corruption in Iraq-CNN

"The quantity and range of ISIS' arms and ammunition "ultimately reflects decades of irresponsible arms transfers to Iraq and multiple failures by the U.S.-led occupation administration."

12/8/15, "Amnesty report: ISIS armed with U.S. weapons," CNN, Zachary Cohen

"A new report from a prominent human rights group has found that ISIS has built a substantial arsenal, including U.S.-made weapons obtained from the Iraqi army and Syrian opposition groups.

Amnesty International's 44-page report, released late Monday, found that much of ISIS' equipment and munitions comes from stockpiles captured from the U.S.-allied Iraqi military and Syrian rebels.

The findings come as President Barack Obama has recommitted to leaning on regional forces, including the Iraqis, Kurds and Syrian opposition, to try to wipe out ISIS rather than committing significant numbers of U.S. ground troops.

"The strategy that we are using now -- airstrikes, (U.S.) Special Forces and working with local forces who are fighting to regain control of their own country -- that is how we'll achieve a more sustainable victory," Obama said in a speech Sunday. "And it won't require us sending a new generation of Americans overseas to fight and die for another decade on foreign soil."

These local forces will receive assistance in the form of weapons, backup via coalition airstrikes and training from U.S. special operations forces.
The Amnesty International report, however, concluded that it was these local forces that had inadvertently contributed arms to ISIS.

After analyzing thousands of videos and images taken in Iraq and Syria, Amnesty determined that a large proportion of ISIS' current military arsenal is made up of "weapons and equipment looted, captured or illicitly traded from poorly secured Iraqi military stocks."

ISIS has also gained access to weapons from other sources through the capture or sale of Syrian military stocks supplied to armed opposition groups in Syria by countries including Turkey, the Gulf States and the U.S., according to the organization.

These weapons, including many accumulated by Iraq over five war-torn decades, were designed or manufactured in 25 countries and range from assault rifles to tanks and anti-aircraft defense systems, the report said.

Amnesty International found that the quantity and range of ISIS' arms and ammunition "ultimately reflects decades of irresponsible arms transfers to Iraq and multiple failures by the U.S.-led occupation administration to manage arms deliveries and stocks securely, as well as endemic corruption in Iraq itself."

By failing to account for the weapons that have been transferred to Iraq over the last several decades, the U.S. and other supplier nations have allowed them to freely flow through the region and fall into the hands of ISIS and other armed groups in the region, the human rights group charged.

The main suppliers of Iraq historically have been Russia, China and the U.S.," Patrick Wilcken, the report's author, told CNN.

The bulk of ISIS' arsenal, he said, is made up of older Soviet-era weapons, brought into Iraq during the Iraq-Iran War and the U.S. occupation between 2003 and 2007. "It is mainly old stock, but they do have some more sophisticated weaponries that were more recently manufactured," he said.

One of the most common types of weapon used by ISIS fighters is the Russian-made AK automatic rifle, but ISIS forces are also equipped with U.S. military-issue M-16s and guns manufactured in China, Germany, Croatia and Belgium, according to the report.

In response to the report, Pentagon spokesman Maj. Roger Cabiness told CNN that the U.S. closely monitors equipment provided to partners in order "to prevent and detect illegal transfers to third parties, in order to protect American technology, and, where relevant, to ensure partner compliance with requirements placed on all recipients of U.S. defense articles."

However, the Pentagon admitted that these monitoring programs don't apply to equipment that is lost on the battlefield.

Despite ISIS diversity of weapons, Wilcken said it is difficult to assess whether or not the group has the firepower to consistently defeat Kurdish and other militia forces in Syria.

These weapons have not only increased ISIS' effectiveness on the battlefield against U.S.-backed local forces, but have been used in human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law across Iraq and Syria by ISIS, according to the report.

In order to avoid further proliferation to armed groups in the region and the misuse of these weapons by groups like ISIS, Amnesty International is calling for supplier states, including the U.S., to work with Iraqi authorities to quickly implement stricter controls on the transfer, storage and deployment of arms.

"The big takeaway for us is that you have to look historically at this and the long process whereby states often recklessly and irresponsibly send arms to Iraq ... often in a very uncoordinated and chaotic manner," Wilcken said.


"The weapons have allowed ISIS to carry out a "horrific campaign of abuse," including "summary killings, rape, torture, abduction and hostage-taking -- often carried out at gunpoint.""

12/8/15, "How ISIS Acquired Its Lethal Arsenal," IB Times,

The report, based on expert analysis of verified videos and images, claims that ISIS fighters have been using arms mainly seized from Iraqi military stocks. These weapons were manufactured and designed in more than two dozen countries, including Russia, China, the U.S. and EU states, according to the report.

"The vast and varied weaponry being used by the armed group calling itself Islamic State is a textbook case of how reckless arms trading fuels atrocities on a massive scale," Amnesty researcher Patrick Wilcken said in the report. "Poor regulation and lack of oversight of the immense arms flows into Iraq going back decades have given IS and other armed groups a bonanza of unprecedented access to firepower.” According to the report, ISIS fighters acquired the huge amounts of internationally manufactured weapons when the Sunni-militant group took control of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, in June 2014.

Amnesty said the weapons have allowed ISIS to carry out a "horrific campaign of abuse," including "summary killings, rape, torture, abduction and hostage-taking -- often carried out at gunpoint."

The range and scope of the militant group’s large arsenal also reflects decades of "irresponsible" arms transfers to Iraq, the report said.

“This has been compounded by multiple failures to manage arms imports and to put in place oversight mechanisms to avoid improper end uses during the US-led occupation after 2003. Likewise, lax controls over military stockpiles and endemic corruption by successive Iraqi governments have added to the problem,” the watchdog's report claimed.

According to the report, ISIS has man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), guided anti-tank missiles and armored fighting vehicles, as well as assault rifles like the Russian AK series and the US M16 and Bushmaster, as part of its advanced weaponry. Most of the conventional weapons being used by ISIS fighters date from the 1970s to the 1990s, when Iraq was engaged in a massive military buildup ahead of and during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

“This shows again that arms export risk assessments and mitigation measures to unstable regions require a long term, root-and-branch analysis. This must include assessing if military and security units are capable of effectively controlling stockpiles and abide by international human rights and humanitarian standards,” Wilcken said, in the report."



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