The German government airlifted some €70 million worth of surplus weapons to the Kurdish fighters opposing the Islamic State in Iraq in 2014, now the same weapons are turning up on the black market in large numbers.
Germany has taken upon itself to become an influential player in the region, and has committed itself to funding both sides of a bitter and potentially genocidal war. The Federal government has transferred extremely large numbers of military weapons and equipment to Kurdish Peshmerga forces, who in addition to fighting the Islamic State are also in conflict with Turkey.
Germany has also been responsible for the transfer of large amounts of European Union money to Turkey — at least €3 billion so far — ostensibly as an inducement for Turkey to send fewer refugees to Europe. As of yet no appreciable decrease in migrant numbers from Turkey has been experienced, but the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was in Berlin yesterday, requesting more money be sent.
The first shipment of weapons to the Kurdish fighters, who have been accused of driving their ethnic enemies out of their homes and bulldozing whole villages in a recent report, arrived in 2014. It included 16,000 rifles, eight million rounds of ammunition, 4,000 rockets, 10,000 hand grenades, and over 100 military vehicles, including armoured personnel carriers.
Now journalists in northern Iraq have found these weapons — distinctively stamped with the ‘BW’ mark for the Bundeswehr (German Army) — for sale on the black market, reports German Television news Tagesschau. The first German shipment, of which more are expected to be sent this year included among the weapons sent 8,000 G3 assault rifles with two million rounds of ammunition to complement them, and 8,000 P1 pistols with one million rounds.
Both of these weapons are now available on the black market for as little as €1,450 for a German surplus assault rifle, reports German paper Die Zeit.
Many of these weapons have made their way into the Iraqi black market through Peshmerga forces selling them to make up unpaid wages. However the unused state of the equipment, including weapons sold in their original German army stores boxes with logistics labels still attached, suggests a lot of the equipment was flogged directly by the Kurdish fighters after it was received from the German government.
Despite all weapons being sent to the Kurds having unique serial numbers known to the German army, there has been no attempt to follow up on these arms, nor will there be in future. The weapons had been supplied in accordance with international law, and tracking individual weapons by the German army was neither intended nor possible, reports Zeit.
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