An independent arms monitoring group has collected evidence that fighters in the Middle Eastern extremist group known as the Islamic State, labeled a “network of death” by President Obama, are using weapons and ammunition manufactured in at least 21 different countries, including China, Russia, and the United States. The group’s report, released Oct. 6, indicates that the Islamic State’s relatively newly-formed force has had little difficulty tapping into the huge pool of armaments fueling the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, supplied not only by the world’s big powers but also by up-and-coming exporters such as Sudan.
See also UPI, 3 June 2005:
U.S. intelligence officers are reporting that some of the insurgents in Iraq are using recent-model Beretta 92 pistols, but the pistols seem to have had their serial numbers erased. The numbers do not appear to have been physically removed; the pistols seem to have come off a production line without any serial numbers. Analysts suggest the lack of serial numbers indicates that the weapons were intended for intelligence operations or terrorist cells with substantial government backing. Analysts speculate that these guns are probably from either Mossad or the CIA. Analysts speculate that agent provocateurs may be using the untraceable weapons even as U.S. authorities use insurgent attacks against civilians as evidence of the illegitimacy of the resistance.
The US government cannot account for 190,000 weapons issued to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, according to an investigation carried out by the Government Accountability Office. According to the July 31 report, the military “cannot fully account for about 110,000 AK-47 assault rifles, 80,000 pistols, 135,000 items of body armour and 115,000 helmets reported as issued to Iraqi forces.”
Clandestine gun suppliers, funded by the U.S. and Iraqi governments, have flooded Iraq with a million weapons since 2003, charges a new Amnesty International investigation. Because of faulty or non-existent government tracking systems, many of those guns have gone missing, and some have turned up in the hands of insurgents. [...] Over the last five years since the invasion of Iraq, [Taos Industries] has received seven of the 47 weapons supply contracts listed by Amnesty, worth 95.1 million dollars out of the 217 million dollars total. [...] Amnesty investigators have also uncovered documents that suggest that several of Taos’s subcontractors were either operating illegally or had been listed by the United Nations for smuggling weapons. [...] In May 2005 the Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, revealed that Taos had supplied thousands of Italian-made Beretta 92S pistols that were among the weapons seized in Iraq from al Qaeda operatives responsible for killing civilians. The Beretta pistols had been dispatched in July 2004 from Britain to the U.S. military base in Baghdad. An Italian court investigation the next year questioned the shadowy methods used in shipping the guns from Italy to Britain.