The Iraqi Army Just announced few days ago that they will be replacing the AK-47 Assault rifle, (widely known as the Kalashnikov after its Russian designer Michael Kalashnikov) which has been the standard issue weapon of the Iraqi Army since the 60s, with the American Made M-16 and M- 4.
So, what is wrong with this news?
Since I have been in
Iraq all my life I know for a fact that almost every Iraqi Young-man, and boy, knows how to deal and maintain the AK-47. This came as a result of an 8 year long war with Iran, during which the AK was the constant and trusted companion of the Iraqi Soldier in the
Battle field. Then it was widely used by almost every Iraqi on August 8th 1988, when the seize fire was announced between Iraq and
Iran , marking the end of the war between the 2 countries. People went out in the streets firing their AKs to celebrate the great announcement for days. The AK was ululating for them.
Then Came the Days of the war with America, Saddam decided to train the Iraqis, all the Iraqis, and young, Old, men and woman on using the AK-47 to "defend
Iraq ". So as you can see there is a long history between the Iraqis and the AK-47.
For those who have never used or even seen a gun, the AK-47 is considered the most practical assault rifle ever. It hardly jams and it has been battle tested and it came out with flying colors. I still remember when J. Garner ( the first American civil administrator in
Iraq after the war) when his body guards came to the press room carrying all kinds of Semi Automatic rifles and guns. The next press conference they all came Carrying AKs. I was surprised then, but the camera man who was with me that day, who happen to be an Ex-Marine, was not.
"Are you kidding, it is our dream weapon" he said when I pointed out that the American PSDs (private security detail) are carrying AKs.
So why the Iraqi Army would switch from the weapon which is most efficient, well trained on and never had problem with, to another weapon that they are totally unfamiliar with and known for its problems and how much maintenance it requires.
The Ministry said that they want to do that in order to put an end to the weapons being stolen and sold at the Black market, which means that now we would find the M-16 and M-4 in the black market, but no one will buy them for 2 reasons. 1st they are not as good and reliable as the AK so the Iraqis are smart enough not to buy them, 2nd where do you think the Aks that the Iraqi Army abandoned will go, they will definitely end up at the Black market which will reduce its current price( which is around 300$). The Ministry also said that they almost got those rifles for free; well we did not want them in the first place. What the Iraqi Military need is new Modern tanks instead of the T-52 second hand Tanks which are imported after the war form former Soviet republics and eastern Europe. We want new fighter jets, and modern warship helicopters like the Cobra, Apache or the Chinook, so that we have a real Military force in stead of the Current boy scouts who are being slaughtered on the hands of more powerful and better equipped terrorists and militias. Then we will be able to say to the foreign forces, now you can go back home safely for your
"Mission" is really "accomplished" and you do not need to fear for us any more. So in stead of sending us Junk, send some F- 16 s in stead. It is only one letter different but it makes all the difference at the