Iraqi armed forces turn to China while Pentagon dithers

Douglas Hanson
The Washington Times Inside the Ring column reports today that US defense and national security officials are having a fit over news that China is shipping arms to the new Iraqi Army and the police.  And because Chinese weaponry is being smuggled to the insurgents through Iran, these same officials are now hopping mad that in essence, China is now the vendor of choice for arming both sides of the conflict.

Pentagon officials said that the deal was sealed last month when Iraqi President Jalal Talbani was in Beijing.  Brig. General Qasim Ata, of the Iraq police confirmed that the contracts were for imports of "advanced" Chinese weapons for the Iraqi armed forces.  An adminstration official chimed in and called the arrangement "extremely foolish" and that "Buying weapons from China will accelerate the alienation of America."

But before DoD and administration higher-ups complain too much, they might want to consider this report  from the AP via FoxNews.com that shows how most of the US supplied gear for the Iraqis has been locked up in typical bureacratic and logisitcs bottlenecks.  For example,

  • The U.S. and its allies have delivered a little more than a third of the equipment in the pipeline for the Iraqi Army and less than half of what is destined for the Iraqi police
  • Just 14.5 million of the nearly 40 million items ordered by the Ministry of Defense for the Iraqi Army have been delivered.
  • Out of 48.1 million items ordered for Ministry of Interior for the police, only 22.7 million items have been delivered.
  • Ammunition ordered but not delivered yet to the Iraqi Army is at a depot in Iraq but has not yet been issued to individual military units.
It is well known that procurement for weapons and equipment for Iraqi forces has been plagued with fraud and corruption in the first years of the occupation.  What is not often publicized is that a few in the Coalition command did not want to properly equip Iraqis with heavy weapons or combat vehicles in the first place.  This was due partly to legitmate security concerns, but also because of viewing Iraqis as second class citizens not worthy of modernized equipment.

Whatever the case was then, now is not the time to scrimp on training and equipping the Iraqis since without government forces to hold the towns and neighborhoods secured by US forces, the chance for success of the current offensive will diminsh.
The Washington Times Inside the Ring column reports today that US defense and national security officials are having a fit over news that China is shipping arms to the new Iraqi Army and the police.  And because Chinese weaponry is being smuggled to the insurgents through Iran, these same officials are now hopping mad that in essence, China is now the vendor of choice for arming both sides of the conflict.

Pentagon officials said that the deal was sealed last month when Iraqi President Jalal Talbani was in Beijing.  Brig. General Qasim Ata, of the Iraq police confirmed that the contracts were for imports of "advanced" Chinese weapons for the Iraqi armed forces.  An adminstration official chimed in and called the arrangement "extremely foolish" and that "Buying weapons from China will accelerate the alienation of America."

But before DoD and administration higher-ups complain too much, they might want to consider this report  from the AP via FoxNews.com that shows how most of the US supplied gear for the Iraqis has been locked up in typical bureacratic and logisitcs bottlenecks.  For example,

  • The U.S. and its allies have delivered a little more than a third of the equipment in the pipeline for the Iraqi Army and less than half of what is destined for the Iraqi police
  • Just 14.5 million of the nearly 40 million items ordered by the Ministry of Defense for the Iraqi Army have been delivered.
  • Out of 48.1 million items ordered for Ministry of Interior for the police, only 22.7 million items have been delivered.
  • Ammunition ordered but not delivered yet to the Iraqi Army is at a depot in Iraq but has not yet been issued to individual military units.
It is well known that procurement for weapons and equipment for Iraqi forces has been plagued with fraud and corruption in the first years of the occupation.  What is not often publicized is that a few in the Coalition command did not want to properly equip Iraqis with heavy weapons or combat vehicles in the first place.  This was due partly to legitmate security concerns, but also because of viewing Iraqis as second class citizens not worthy of modernized equipment.

Whatever the case was then, now is not the time to scrimp on training and equipping the Iraqis since without government forces to hold the towns and neighborhoods secured by US forces, the chance for success of the current offensive will diminsh.