Thousands of US Weapons Lost in Iraq / News / News agency Inforos
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Thousands of US Weapons Lost in Iraq

The recent audit performed by Stuart Bowen, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, found that the enormous funds destined for Iraq reconstruction, repair of its logistic and information infrastructure and re-equipment of its military and security services were not properly used. The US-led administration that runs Iraq proved unable to account for as much as $100 million, supposedly spent for the reconstruction of the country destroyed by war. Documents were provided to account for $7 million only, while around $90 million simply vanished, as no documents were shown to the auditors to confirm the spending of that money for Iraq’s needs was lawful.

A similar picture is seen in the Iraqi logistics service: over $660 million was channeled into its development. However, despite the substantial financial assistance, that country’s armed forces still rely heavily on US ammunitions and lubricants, health care and transportation services, etc. There are no documents to confirm the number of US-trained Iraqi logistics officers either.

Another report on corrupt practices has to do with the weapons intended for the Iraqi army and police. While the lost money surely has no smell, the lost weapons do have an ability to shoot, and US servicemen could become potential targets.

American taxpayers had paid $133 million for the rearmament of the Iraqi army and police. The audit office found no documents to explain where thousands of small-arms had gone. No one had kept track of more than 505,000 submachine guns, machine-guns, handguns and grenade launchers, of their serial numbers and intended recipients. The documents available only registered 2.6% of the small-arms sent to Iraq, which is a little over 13,000. No one seems to know who is using half a million guns now.

The audit office has referred 25 criminal cases to the US Department of Justice since the spring of 2004, some of them having to do with the loss of large batches of weapons destined for Iraqi government use.

For example, four airplanes carrying 99 tons of AK-47 submachine guns were reported “missing:” 200,000 Kalashnikovs were to be shipped to Iraq from Bosnia by a Moldovan airline. The UN had earlier charged that airline with arms smuggling to Liberia. Meanwhile, Baghdad air traffic control service maintains that there is no record of that airline’s flights in July 2004 and July 2005. An official spokesman of the Coalition Provisional Authority also said that “no weapons were delivered from Bosnia,” adding there was even no notice of any official arms deals in Bosnia for Iraq.

But what’s most incredible is the optimistic tone of the audit office report, despite the absence of documents confirming the proper use of the funds. The auditors concluded that for the most part, the money was indeed spent on Iraqi reconstruction. As for the absence of the relevant documents, it could be easily explained by the Coalition officials’ desire to distribute the money in their regions as fast as they could. Everyone knows it takes a long time to procure the needed documents.

The auditors’ position is understandable. Iraq has long become America’s biggest pain. A corruption scandal involving millions of dollars and 99 tons of AK-47, if kindled, could become a “point of no return.” This point passed, the United States would be faced with a serious government crisis, which would irreparably undermine public trust in the government.
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