Study indicates ISIS armed with US-made weapons

A new report from Amnesty International says Islamic State is making use of captured American weapons in the Middle East.

Militant photo via AP/File
This file image posted Nov. 1, 2015, by supporters of the Islamic State militant group on an anonymous photo sharing website, shows an Islamic State fighter firing his weapon during a battle against Syrian government troops in the village of Mahin, central Homs province, Syria.

A new report from Amnesty International links Islamic State (IS) to American-manufactured weapons sourced from captured stockpiles in the Middle East.

The terrorist organization is largely self-funded through a combination of extortion and taxes generated from the civilians who live within the borders it controls.

This new report indicates that it sources its weaponry and ammunition from more than 25 different countries, including Iraqi military stocks that were supplied to the Iraqi army by the United States.

The record shows that international forces have been supplying Iraq with weapons since at least the 1980s and possibly earlier, during a period when Iraq was at war with Iran. Over time, through mismanagement and corruption, weapons went missing and fell into the wrong hands, helping feed into the forces that are now the Islamic State today.

“The quantity and range of IS stocks of arms and ammunition ultimately reflect decades of irresponsible arms transfers to Iraq and multiple failures by the US-led occupation administration to manage arms deliveries and stocks securely, as well as endemic corruption in Iraq itself,” the report reads.

That stockpile, according to Amnesty International, includes “more than 100 different types of arms and ammunition,” including hundreds of thousands of US-manufactured assault rifles and pistols that were supplied to the Iraqi army between 2003 and 2007, during the US-led occupation.

When IS captured several Iraqi cities in 2014, it also captured military bases and remaining weapons stockpiles that had not been secured by Iraqi military forces during the previous war.

Since then, the terrorist organization has continued to capture US-manufactured weapons previously owned by the Iraqi military. IS has also added to its collection of Russian, Belgian, and Chinese-manufactured arms, which Amnesty International believes may have been captured during ground battles in Syria.  

In order to stop these weapons from continuing to end up in the wrong hands, the report recommends utilizing stricter regulations for the export and transfer of weapons to Iraq and the Iraqi military, and imposing better security and management of current weapons stockpiles.

This would also include upholding the Arms Trade Treaty, which was adopted by the United Nations in 2013 as an attempt to oversee this largely unregulated trade. The United States has signed but not ratified the treaty.

Pentagon spokesman Maj. Roger Cabiness told CNN that the US already has practices in place “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 US defense articles."

But the Pentagon also admitted that those practices do not include military equipment that is lost during air or ground fights.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.