Amnesty International: Decades of ‘Reckless Arms Trading’ Now Fuelling IS Atrocities
Decades of poorly regulated arms flows into Iraq as well as lax controls on the ground have provided the Islamic State (IS) group with a vast arsenal that is being used to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity in Iraq and Syria, Amnesty International said in a new report on Tuesday.
Drawing on expert analysis of thousands of verified videos and images, the report describes how the Islamic militants are using arms, mainly looted from Iraqi military stocks, “which were manufactured and designed in more than two dozen countries, including Russia, China, the USA and EU states.”
“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,” according to Patrick Wilcken, Researcher on Arms Control, Security Trade and Human Rights at Amnesty International.
Highlights of the report follow:
-- More than 30 countries – including all permanent members of the UN Security Council – have supplied the Iraqi army with military equipment over the past decade;
-- There was a massive rise in arms imports into Iraq following the US-led military intervention in 2003;
-- The jihadist fighters acquired a windfall of internationally manufactured arms from Iraqi stockpiles, including US-made weapons and military vehicles, after taking control of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, in June 2014;
-- At least 34 countries supplied Iraq with weapons during its war with Iran in the 1980s. Twenty-eight of those states simultaneously supplied arms to Iran;
-- A large part of the arms used by the IS were originally sourced by the Iraqi military from the United States, Russia and former Soviet bloc states, in the 1970s to 1990s. Most of Syria’s arms have come from Russia, the Soviet bloc and Iran.
“Iraq has become an emblematic case of the grave dangers of arms accumulation and proliferation and the irresponsible trade in weapons and munitions,” Amnesty International said in a summary of the report “Taking Stock: the Arming of Islamic State”.
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