The war against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has reportedly presented an old gun shop in the Iraqi Kurdistan capital of Erbil with opportunities for new streams of revenue.
Al Arabiya News reports:
The shop is owned by Bakhtiar Sadradin Aziz. He runs the business in the third generation, and the war against ISIS has presented him with a windfall. Most of the weapons he repairs or modifies are for the [Western-backed] Peshmerga – the Kurdish military fighters facing off with the jihadists on a frontline that snakes past Erbil only [an estimated 25 miles] to the south.
The old Erbil gun shop has reportedly benefited from new business as the fight against ISIS continues.
Described as “a subterranean shop a stone’s throw from Erbil’s historic citadel,” the gun store sells weapons of different sizes and age, in varying condition — from ancient rifles to semi-automatic shot guns.
“On one side of the room, ancient rifles tell a tale of undignified aging, reminding you of those old black and white pictures of proud Kurdish tribesmen posing for the camera with their guns,” notes Al Arabiya.
“Modern weaponry hangs opposite, where a number of semi-automatic shot guns entice today’s Kurdish males. Several air guns have been carelessly bunched below,” the report continues. “Behind the counter the gunsmith is assiduously grinding metal parts into shape, against a backdrop of a diverse array of pistols, submachine and flare guns, some of which date back to the Second World War.”
The store repairs old machine guns from the United States, Germany and Russia used by the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, a force that has proven to be effective in combating ISIS on the ground with the help of U.S.-led airstrikes.
Among the machine guns being repaired at the store are MG3s, which were provided to the Kurds by Germany in the hundreds to fight ISIS.
The gunsmith assured Al Arabiya that the MG3s “will find their way back to their intended recipients as soon as they have been repaired.”
“In the nearby bazaar, other German military equipment donated to the peshmerga can be bought at knock-down prices,” reveals Al Arabiya.
The Obama administration, unlike Germany, has refused to directly arm and equip the Kurdish peshmerga forces despite their successes against ISIS.
Instead, the administration has chosen to provide assistance to the Kurds though Iraq’s central government.
The Kurdish fighters and their American advisers have complained about the lack of support provided by the United States in the fight against ISIS.
In some instances, the under-equipped Kurdish forces holding the front lines against ISIS in Iraq have accepted military assistance from state sponsor of terror Iran, as promised weapons from U.S. proved slow in arriving.
In June, Iraq’s PM Haider al-Abadi admitted that the Iraqi security forces lost “a lot” of U.S.-provided weapons when ISIS swept through Iraq’s second city of Mosul in 2014.