Iraqi Government Officials Involved Illegal Arms Deal
Posted by nytexan on August 12, 2007
We all know how Bush keeps saying that Iran is meddling in Iraq, Iranian weapons are being used against American soldiers in Iraq and how Cheney is marching us closer to an all out war in Iran. Consider this for a moment, what if Iranian weapons are in Iraq but they are not from the Iranian government, they are from illegal arms dealers. Its entirety possible that Bush and Cheney are playing another shell game to get America into yet another unjustified war and Iran is the battlefield.
It has been uncovered that Iraqi officials have been engaged in purchasing Russian and Chinese weapons from Italian arms dealers. What if the Iranian arms found their way into Iraq through illegal arms dealers? If you go along with the Bush Cheney logic of Iran weapons equals meddling and war is ahead; then weapons from Russia and China being sold by Italy should mean war ahead for all. Flawed logic don’t you think?
Here’s another interesting point from the article; U.S. weapons are being smuggled into neighboring Turkey and Iran and creating problems, probably the 190,000 plus weapons the U.S. can’t account for. I think the Bush/Cheney private army is at work here. Interesting how the American MSM always misses the story.
Excepts from Huffington Post:
PERUGIA, Italy — In a hidden corner of Rome’s busy Fiumicino Airport, police dug quietly through a traveler’s checked baggage, looking for smuggled drugs. What they found instead was a catalog of weapons, a clue to something bigger.
Their discovery led anti-Mafia investigators down a months long trail of telephone and e-mail intercepts, into the midst of a huge black-market transaction, as Iraqi and Italian partners haggled over shipping more than 100,000 Russian-made automatic weapons into the bloodbath of Iraq.
As the secretive, $40 million deal neared completion, Italian authorities moved in, making arrests and breaking it up. But key questions remain unanswered.
For one thing, The Associated Press has learned that Iraqi government officials were involved in the deal, apparently without the knowledge of the U.S. Baghdad command _ a departure from the usual pattern of U.S.-overseen arms purchases.
The purchase would merely have been the most spectacular example of how Iraq has become a magnet for arms traffickers and a place of vanishing weapons stockpiles and uncontrolled gun markets since the 2003 U.S. invasion and the onset of civil war.
Some guns the U.S. bought for Iraq’s police and army are unaccounted for, possibly fallen into the hands of insurgents or sectarian militias. Meanwhile, the planned replacement of the army’s AK-47s with U.S.-made M-16s may throw more assault rifles onto the black market. And the weapons free-for-all apparently is spilling over borders: Turkey and Iran complain U.S.-supplied guns are flowing from Iraq to anti-government militants on their soil.
In the documents, Razzi describes it as “strange” that the U.S.-supported Iraqi government would seek such weapons via the black market.
Investigators say the prospect of an Iraq deal was raised last November, when an Iraqi-owned trading firm e-mailed Massimo Bettinotti, 39, owner of the Malta-based MIR Ltd., about whether MIR could supply 100,000 AK-47 assault rifles and 10,000 machine guns “to the Iraqi Interior Ministry,” adding that “this deal is approved by America and Iraq.”
The go-between _ the Al-Handal General Trading Co. in Dubai _ apparently had communicated with Bettinotti earlier about buying night visors and had been told MIR could also procure weapons.
“We are in a hurry with this deal,” an impatient Waleed Noori al-Handal, Jordan-based general manager of the Iraqi firm, wrote the Italians on Nov. 13 in one of the e-mails seen by AP.
He added, in apparent allusion to the shipment’s clandestine nature, “You mustn’t worry if it’s a problem to import these goods directly into Iraq. We can bring the product to another country and then transfer it to Iraq.”
By December, the Italians, having found a Bulgarian broker, were offering Russian-made goods: 50,000 AKM rifles, an improved version of the AK-47; 50,000 AKMS rifles, the same gun with folding stock; and 5,000 PKM machine guns.
Reached at his office in Amman, Jordan, Waleed Noori al-Handal denied the family firm had done anything wrong in the Italian arms case.
“We don’t have anything to hide,” he told the AP.
Citing the names of “friends” in top U.S. military ranks in Iraq, al-Handal said his company has fulfilled scores of supply and service contracts for the U.S. occupation. Asked why he claimed U.S. approval for the abortive Italian weapons purchase, he said he had a document from the U.S. Army “that says, ‘We allow al-Thuraya Group to do all kinds of business.'”
In Baghdad, the Interior Ministry wouldn’t discuss the AK-47 transaction on the record. But a senior ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity, acknowledged it had sought the weapons through al-Handal.