The ISIS is being armed by the very countries that are vowing to destroy them, a report from the Amnesty International says. The complicated scenario in Iraq and Syria resulted from reckless arms trading.
In a report titled “Iraq: Taking Stock, The Arming of Islamic State,” Amnesty International tracked more than 100 different types of arms and ammunition originally sourced from at least 25 countries. These arms were being used in Iraq and Syria by the ISIS. Here was how it happened as detailed in the report:
The ISIS gain got their weapons by seizing stock from the Iraqi military. The group also sequestered weapons from the battlefield, from illicit trade and from defections of fighters in Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi military got their weapons from the U.S., Russia and Iran as far back as the 1970s to 1990s. Moreover, more than 30 countries have supplied the Iraqi army with weapons over the past decade.
Between 2011 and 2013, the U.S. signed billions of dollars worth of contracts with the Iraqi government. In 2014, the Pentagon had delivered more than $50 million worth of small arms and ammunition. Deliveries had been ongoing as part of the U.S. Department of Defense’s $1.6 billion budget. The U.S. government also had the Train and Equip Fund which includes 43,200 M4 rifles.
A large portion of all these arms ended up in the arms of the ISIS. “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,” Patrick Wilcken, researcher on Arms Control, security Trade and Human Rights at Amnesty International, 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,” he further explained. “The legacy of arms proliferation and abuse in Iraq and the surrounding region has already destroyed the lives and livelihoods of millions of people and poses an ongoing threat. The consequences of reckless arms transfers to Iraq and Syria and their subsequent capture by IS must be a wake-up call to arms exporters around the world,” Wilcken declared.
The U.S. government showed no signs of stopping. In his address to the nation following the San Bernardino shooting, President Barack Obama vowed to destroy the ISIS. He presented new military initiatives in the fight against the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria. This new military strategy was designed and supported by 65 countries participating in the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes in the region. Mr. Obama said that as part of this strategy, the coalition will continue airstrikes against the ISIS leaders as well as the group’s military infrastructures.
France, Germany and the United Kingdom have also ramped up their participation in the airstrikes, Mr. Obama said. This shall help the U.S. to accelerate all offensive meant to destroy the ISIS.
The U.S. Government will also continue to provide training and equipment to tens of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian forces and fighting ISIS on the ground, Mr. Obama said. More Special Operations Forces will also be deployed in Iraq and Syria to train their own forces in the fight against ISIS, the president outlined.