As was reported here just one week ago, the Pentagon has already lost track of 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles which were shipped into Iraq. Here's another 100,000 weapons which were headed into Iraq as well.
In yet another stunning example of the gross incompetence and mismanagement underway in the U.S. effort in Iraq, Italian investigators have uncovered Italian-Iraqi black market arms deals which has apparently caught our military and political leaders unaware.
In this particular instance 100,000 Russian-made automatic weapons were being sold for $40 million. As the secretive deal was nearing completion Italian authorities moved in and made arrests.
The Associated Press has learned that Iraqi government officials were involved in the deal, apparently without the knowledge of the U.S. Baghdad command -- a departure from the usual pattern of U.S.-overseen arms purchases.
Why these officials resorted to "black" channels and where the weapons were headed is unclear.
The purchase would merely have been the most spectacular example of how Iraq has become a magnet for arms traffickers and a place of vanishing weapons stockpiles and uncontrolled gun markets since the 2003 U.S. invasion and the onset of civil war.
Our presence in Iraq has failed at forging a meaningful democracy in Iraq. If there was any additional evidence needed to underline the fact that the situation is far from secure in Baghdad -- consider that this deal was valued at $40 million - and our intelligence folks knew nothing about it. It can't get much more out of control than that.
The complete story is available in this Associated Press report at the Washington Post.
UPDATE: Just noticing that this is coming to light shortly after Bush negotiated a $20 Billion arms sales deal to Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies. The next thing you know we have British PM Gordon Brown over for the weekend just 2 weeks ago, and now French President Sarkozy comes 'round for hamburgers at Kennebunkport. And 6 weeks ago Russian President Vladimir Putin is sitting down to eggs and grits with GWB43 in Kennebunkport.
All 3 countries are major players in the arms industries.
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