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Scandals with the Deliveries of Weapon to the Near East Follow One after Another
Roeva Natalya 15.08.2007
As foreign mass-media informed, the Italian police prevented the largest illegal transaction on deliveries of weapon of the Soviet sample to Iraq. It is a question of deliveries of more than 100 thousand units of small arms - basically, the Kalashnikov gun - for the sum about 40 million dollars. Four persons are arrested.
As CBS informs, people arrested approve that transaction was approved by authorities of Iraq and the USA though the last deny it.
Investigation began when in Roman airport Fiumicino policemen found the catalogue of the weapon in the luggage of one of the passengers making routine survey in search of drugs. After several months of investigation the police ended up with the participants of illegal transaction who were going to send more than 100 thousand units of fire-arms of the Soviet sample to Iraq.
When the bargain was close to be clinched, its participants were arrested. Four arrests were made: the owner of the company "MIR, Ltd" Massimo Bettinotti - the prospective organizer of the bargain and his accomplices Gianluca Scvarzolo (it was his luggage where the policemen found the catalogue of the weapon, from which investigation began), Ermete Moretti and Serafino Rossi. One more citizen of Italy presumably staying in Africa issued an arrest warrant and 13 people are arrested on suspicion in drug traffic.
British "Guradian" approves that "MIR, Ltd" was going to deliver to Iraq 50000 automatic devices AKM, 50000 AK-47 and 5000 machine guns PKM. According to the newspaper, the Italians were arrested shortly after they found the intermediary in Bulgaria who promised to get the goods.
According to agency AR, the Iraq officials were involved in the bargain and one of them wrote to the Italian dealers by e-mail that the bargain was approved by the American authorities. According to АР, the weapons were intended to arms the police in Sunnite province Anbar. The local official confirmed that authorities were searching for "an opportunity" to buy weapon and "don't ask questions" to those who were ready to organize the deliveries.
The press also emphasizes that news about success of the Italian department on struggle against the organized crime appeared a week later after the report about lost by the Americans weapon in Iraq. It was found out that the Pentagon cannot report for 190 thousand units of small arms given to the Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005. It is affirmed in the report of Office of the Congress of the USA published on July, 31st on affairs of the accountability of the government.
Since June, 2004 till September, 2005 355000 units of weapon were given to the Iraqi security forces, namely 185000 automatic devices and 170000 pistols and also 215000 body armours and 140000 helmets. But only 75000 automatic devices, 90000 pistols, 80000 body armours and 25000 helmets appeared to be registered. 190000 units of weapon lost make 54% of the total number. 135000 body armours and 115000 helmets were also not registered.
The body on reporting affairs of the government of Iraq found out that army didn't receive regularly information about the quantity of weapon and equipment when it was distributed and to which Iraqi military units.
There was no even uniform database down to December, 2005 for distribution of weapon. Up to now records about delivery of weapon are stored in the large-format table which couldn't be read in usual conditions. To read through a line in this table, it is necessary to put side by side three computer screens, "Washington Post" notes. In those records which nevertheless were conducted numerous mistakes admitted at input of information were found.
Though since 2005 the account of weapon became more strict, inability of the USA to trace automatic weapons and pistols even under their serial numbers does possible such situations when guerrillas attack the American army with the weapon paid by the American tax bearers.
Making comments on the arrests made in Italy political scientist Ruslan Saidov said:
"It is a question not about the Russian weapon, Russia has nothing to do with this scandal. The Kalashnikov guns and other weapon of the Soviet sample were delivered to Iraq during last years from former Yugoslavia and then, by the winners of the tenders organized by the government of Iraq, from the countries of the East Europe and Jordan.
First of all, by the Bulgarian comp[any "Arsenal" and the Polish factory "Luchnik" entering foreign trade association "Bumar". The goods of these enterprises on quality and reliability considerably surpass the Russian ones. Moreover, they, unlike "Rosoboronexport", are in condition to guarantee delivery of large orders in time.
On the other hand, a lot of people remember those difficulties which Russia collided with at the delivery of the Venezuelan contract on delivery of 100 thousand guns AK-103 as well as obvious inability of Russia to execute the contract offered by the Americans on reequipment of the Afghani governmental army with weapon and ammunition of the Soviet type.
At the same time the Bulgarian "Arsenal" recommended itself as reliable supplier, therefore in the last year it was applied by the Americans and the Iraqi authorities for additional deliveries of a large party of small arms which shouldn't be revealed publicly.
Thus however it no attention was paid to the fact that on a background of congressional elections lost by Bush's administration and resignation of the Minister of Defence Donald Ramsfeld, ill-wishers of administration in the Europe and America will go on failure of the bargain in the roughest form, having stuck intermediates. It occurred in November of the last year in Roman airport and now we have an opportunity to observe the continuation of the play".
Ruslan Saidov considers that after internal American squabble company "MIR, Ltd" was "stuck", serious players would be wary of having informal business with official Iraqi government and the Americans in Iraq. "As soon as it began at the end of the last year, - Saidov said, - I gave orders to close representation of our consulting agency in Bagdad. Others did the same. And now, after summer public scandals in the Congress and press, there are less desires to return to Bagdad".
In opinion of Saidov, there is one more reason according to which "they will be afraid to have business with Shiite government of Iraq. It's already clear now that the Americans will have to leave Iraq, after that the country will immediately break up to three parts - Shiite, Sunnite and Kurdish. Thus Shiite part containing 90% of oil riches of Iraq will appear under the control of the neighbouring Iran.
Considering allied attitudes of Iran with Alavite mode of Bashar Asad in Syria and groupings "Hezbollah" and HAMAS in Lebanon and sector Gaza it will be possible to speak about claims of Teheran for regional hegemony. But Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and other moderate Arabian modes of a zone of Persian gulf do not agree with it.
Recently the USA declared about the plans to sell modern arms on 20 billion dollars to these countries as soon as these are exactly the countries and not Israel which increased power of Iran and its satellites threatens to the greatest degree. In the same way, by the way, as against moderate Arabian modes and not against Israel, modern weapon which Russia delivers to Iran and sponsored by Iranians in Syria first of all.
In this connection, the Kremlin, obviously, already in the near future should make a choice between continuation of deliveries of arms to Teheran and Damascus and preservation of normal relations with the majority of the Arabian countries of the Near East".
Meanwhile deliveries of the Russian arms to Syria proceed. So, the Israeli experts inform, that the Syrian armed forces have got the newest complexes of air defence of the Russian production. Thus they have now in Syria the densest system of air defence in the world played out on the Iranian money.
The arms bought by the Syrian army belong to the newest samples of systems of air defense. Among last purchases are - complexes of air defense "Rifleman" and "Armour æ-1". "Rifleman" represents an easy armored car equipped by four rockets "Igla-S", the fighting module of "Armour æ-1" is equipped by antiaircraft guns and 12-barreled launcher which rockets bear 16-kilogram warhead. The Syrian armed forces bought 36-50 complexes "Armour æ-1".
Syria is also interested in complexes of æ-300 type capable to destroy planes on distance of some tens kilometers. Its armed forces also carry out modernization of old systems of air defense - SA-3, SA-5 and SA-6.
It is curious, that as Israeli "Ediot Ahronot" writes, secret meetings of the Israeli, Lebanese and Syrian representatives took place recently during which the Syrians informed about strong influence of the Iranian mode on a policy of Bashar Asad's mode.
Presence of one more major player - China - becomes more and more sensible at the region of Near and Middle East. As expert A.Serenko notes in "NVO", the Ministry of Defense of the USA informed the public about "the Chinese weapon trace" found out on the Afghani territory, on July, 8th, precisely two days before the Talibs declared about another fighting helicopter of NATO brought down in Lagman.
According to the American data, groups of movement "Taliban" have recently received portable antiaircraft-rocket complexes of the Soviet type of the Chinese origin which they have already started to apply in fights with forces of the western coalition, first of all in the southern and east provinces of Afghanistan occupied by Pashtunes.
This circumstance radically changes military-political situation in Afghanistan, it threatens with inevitable crisis of mission of the USA and NATO and can sharply change the general balance of forces.
Today's military strategy of NATO in Afghanistan is substantially constructed on unconditional domination in the sky. Warplanes and helicopters of the Americans and Englishmen is a clincher in fights with groups of Talibs. But for the Air Forces, divisions of the western contingent would bear much greater losses. Considering a low painful threshold of the European public opinion, it is possible not to doubt that similar losses would make the further stay of military men of the European countries of NATO in Afghanistan impossible.
In general, in 2006 Talibs did not possess effective means of air defense. However, situation began to change in the middle of 2007 when there information appeared that Islamic insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan started fighting using the Chinese weapon. The July application of representatives of the Pentagon to Talibs about the deliveries of the arms made in the Peoples Republic of China was connected precisely with it. By the way, China refused to sign international agreement limiting its right to deliver portable air defense systems abroad.
In connection with the growth of the Chinese activity political scientist Ruslan Saidov noted, that a little bit earlier there was information about the deliveries to Afghanistan and Iraq of easy arms produced in the Peoples Republic of China. However, «from reasons of political correctness the fault for it was assigned to Iran», that, in opinion of the political scientist, "is simply silly". Saidov approves that the Chinese deliveries to Talibs go through Pakistan to Vaziristan at participation of the Pakistan special services.
Chinese deliveries to Iraq to forces of Sunnite resistance are being carried out precisely the same way through Pakistan, through the Islamic organizations under control of the Pakistan Interdepartmental investigation of ethnic Baluchi".
"At that, - Ruslan Saidov speaks, - certain part is being taken by CIA of the USA and External investigation of Saudi Arabia, seeing in the given scheme roundabout way of arming of the Iraq supporters from party BAAS carrying out civil war against Shiite squadrons of death - «Badra Brigades» and "Makhdi Army".
At last, according to Saidov, it is impossible to dismiss that «it's China that stands up for close cooperation in rocket-nuclear sphere between Iran and Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea owing to which all North-Korean results immediately and automatically become the property of the Iranians financing projects of Pyongyang».
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