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Posted: 8/28/2005 3:33:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/28/2005 3:34:03 AM EDT by raven]
The AK-47's we gave them aren't good enough for them now.

Big Guns For Iraq? Not So Fast.
By CRAIG S. SMITH


What They Have
Iraqi soldiers carry the AK-47 (top), a Russian-designed assault rifle used by armies and guerrilla forces for half a century.

What They Want
The more powerful (More thrusts per squeeze?) American-made M4, which American troops carry in Iraq and which can accommodate a laser-aiming device and night-vision sight.

EVEN though President Bush keeps saying American forces won't leave Iraq until its forces can fight on their own, the United States isn't rushing to give the Iraqi military heavy weapons.

There is an official explanation for that - that such things take time.

But there is also another reason to go slow, one that illustrates how tightly American military success is intertwined with the political prospects of Iraq itself. This reason is little discussed in public by military officers, but it was evident last week on the explosion-scarred streets of Baghdad, in the skirmishes between rival Shiite forces in Najaf, and in the confusion of Iraq's struggle to complete a new constitution.

Simply put, Iraq remains too fragile for any planner to know what shape the country will be in six months or a year from now - whether it will reach compromises and hold together or split apart in a civil war.

And that presents a conundrum for American military planners. With those questions up in the air, they have to fear that any heavy arms distributed now could end up aimed at American forces or feeding a growing civil conflict. And the longer Iraq's army has to wait for sophisticated weapons, the longer American forces are likely to be needed in Iraq as a bulwark against chaos.

In public, the commanders cite many reasons for the slow pace of equipping the Iraqis: the supply chain is long, Iraq's soldiers are barely trained and largely untested, and the rebels they face are better fought with rifles than tanks.

In private, some officers acknowledge other concerns, too. "We're worried about civil war or a coup," said a senior American officer in Baghdad charged with outfitting Iraq's new army. He would not agree to be identified because the concerns he was discussing are so sensitive.

Indeed, Iraqi commanders are growing restive, saying their troops are dying at three times the rate of American soldiers because they lack basic equipment.

"Soldiers with Kalashnikovs and pickup trucks is not an army," said Gen. Abdulqader Mohammed Jassim, commander of the Iraqi ground forces, during a recent interview at his office in Baghdad. "To make the Iraqi Army stand on its own without American or coalition forces, we need command and control equipment, transport vehicles and training." He wants helicopters and artillery, more powerful guns and bigger tanks - weapons the Americans say he doesn't need now.

At the same time, the Americans are building at least four semi-permanent military bases that could hold 18,000 troops each. These are usually described as way stations on the eventual route home for the Americans, places where they will stay while ever-more-capable Iraqi troops engage the insurgents on their own. But that will clearly take time. Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top military commander in Iraq, when asked this month about how the bases would be used, dismissed the question: "You're talking years away." And if Iraq's politics remain unstable, the bases could offer a continuing rationale for not providing heavier weaponry, since the Americans would still be close by for the Iraqis to rely on.

"We're trying to build an army to fight the current fight," one American officer said when asked about the Iraqi complaints. "It's too early to start talking about M1A1 tanks, and they don't need helicopters when they have American military support." The officer couldn't be identified by name under military rules that restrict attribution without clearance from higher up the chain of command.

These days, with the possibility of civil war in the air, the Americans emphasize diversity when organizing Iraqi units. Still, the officer corps draws heavily from Sunnis, troops in the south are largely Shiites and troops in the north are largely Kurds.

"Just as there isn't one Iraqi people, there isn't one Iraqi army," said Peter Galbraith, a former United States ambassador to Croatia who is now in Iraq and has worked closely with the Kurds. "We won't be arming a national army, but armies that are loyal to three different groups."

The current draft constitution would also let each region maintain its own guard force, making the Kurdish pesh merga the military force in the north and the Shiite Badr Corps the likely force in the south. "But the Badr Corps is very heavily influenced by Iran," Mr. Galbraith noted. "Are we going to be in the business of arming them?"

"There might be a certain logic to postponing much of this arming until you've resolved the issues that might in fact trigger a civil war," he said. "The other peril," he added, "is that we may be arming people that may be at best only temporarily our friends."

American officers say that isn't what worries them now. They say they try to balance "speed and need" in equipping the Iraqis, and in some cases they blame logistics for slow delivery. For example, they are trying to get the Iraqi infantry armored personnel carriers and armored Humvees to replace unarmored Ashkok Leyland flatbed trucks and Nissan pickup trucks. But the first 100 of 2,073 Humvees ordered aren't expected until November, and orders for the rest are competing with urgent demands from the United States Army and the Marines.

The American military also notes that it takes time to train mechanics and gunners and drivers to use new vehicles, communications equipment and weapons.

"The pace is as rapid as we can handle right now," the senior officer said.

Meanwhile, the American military and Iraq's Ministry of Defense have been scouring former Soviet bloc countries for equipment that can arrive faster. Pakistan is supplying six Vietnam War-era M113 armored personnel carriers and 20 armored jeeps, and the American military hopes to deliver 468 wheeled armor vehicles late next year. Iraq's Defense ministry has ordered 600 Polish Dzik-3 armored personnel carriers and 115 BTR-80 mechanized combat vehicles for a total of $150 million. And Hungary has donated 77 Soviet-era T-72 tanks.

General Jassem wants more. The AK-47 assault rifles his troops use, he notes, cannot be fitted with laser aiming devices and night-vision sights. "The Russians stopped using this weapon in the 1980's," he said. He wants the more modern and powerful American M4 or Russian AK-105.

He also complained that the United States wants to supply his troops with RPG-7's, the Soviet-era rocket-propelled grenade launcher. "Why are they always giving us the oldest models?" he asked, saying he likes the more modern, larger caliber RPG-29, which penetrates armor better.

But such weapons could raise a threat against the United States if they fell into the wrong hands, a concern that General Jassem acknowledges. "They are thinking they will only give new weapons to the Army when everything has calmed down," he said.

American officers insist that the old Soviet equipment is easier to maintain, that Iraqi troops are familiar with it and that a huge amount of ammunition for it is stockpiled in Iraq. "The RPG-7 is more versatile than other antitank weapons, which really only have one use - destroying armor," the senior American officer said. The insurgents, he noted, have no armor.

"We don't want it to become overly complicated," the American officer said, adding that the day will come when a stable and secure Iraq needs a fully equipped military, but that day is still years away.

General Jassem isn't mollified.

"We want helicopters," he said. "We need them because we don't know what the war is going to look like."

nytimes.com/2005/08/28/weekinreview/28smith.html?pagewanted=1
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 4:17:17 AM EDT
I was just in Iraq earlier this year. What I saw with the ING or Iraqi National Guard, IP or Iraqi Police is that the majority of them are lazy and really not too into weapons maintenance.

The AK47 fits the bill there. The area is dusty and if one is not a stickler for cleaning your own weapon, it will fail.

Again, high speed gear will never make up for good training.

Max
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 4:20:32 AM EDT
Sure, we can give(?) them evil black rifles...when they give us oil for pennies on the dollar.

So, are the iraqis really ready to use a stock? Looks like the US soldiers are teaching them something.

Scott
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 4:24:41 AM EDT
In Before the Kalashnikov apologists..................
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 4:26:01 AM EDT
Looks like that M4 is canted...
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 4:33:52 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/28/2005 4:34:19 AM EDT by Jasba]
I think we have "given" them enough. AK's are perfect for their environment and training levels. Hey, I have an idea if they want some why don't they design and build their own? Oh, thats right, they can't. They don't have any good engineering schools or manufacturing plants............hmmm.....wonder why that is so? I wonder why when Arafat went down hill last year he had to go to a hospital in France?.........What contribution is it that Arab countries make to the world other than oil again? Great music? Wine? Architecture? Engineering? Food? ..........
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 4:37:33 AM EDT
A poorly trained army in the middle of a desert wants an M4 over an AK?

Link Posted: 8/28/2005 4:48:11 AM EDT
If it helps them to help us get out faster, give'm all they can carry.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 4:50:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Specop_007:
If it helps them to help us get out faster, give'm all they can carry.


Equipping Iraqis with M4s isn't going to accomplish anything...other than getting a few of them killed when their rifles won't function in a firefight.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 4:51:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Jasba:
I think we have "given" them enough. AK's are perfect for their environment and training levels. Hey, I have an idea if they want some why don't they design and build their own? Oh, thats right, they can't. They don't have any good engineering schools or manufacturing plants............hmmm.....wonder why that is so? I wonder why when Arafat went down hill last year he had to go to a hospital in France?.........What contribution is it that Arab countries make to the world other than oil again? Great music? Wine? Architecture? Engineering? Food? ..........



They have built their own AK's in the past - or at least the Arabs have.......I used to have two Kalashnikov's in my old arms room from the first gulf war. Both had arabic stampings and a picture of a Mosque on them......granted the AK is easier to produce then an AR type rifle - but they arent totally inept....
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 4:54:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/28/2005 4:54:51 AM EDT by Mr45auto]
It sure beats the AF cutting up it's old rifles

Maybe equip their counterterrorist units with M4s and leave the AKs for the average lo speed, hi drag operators.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 4:54:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:

Originally Posted By Specop_007:
If it helps them to help us get out faster, give'm all they can carry.


Equipping Iraqis with M4s isn't going to accomplish anything...other than getting a few of them killed when their rifles won't function in a firefight.



Iraqis arent incapable of cleaning a rifle.
Obviously, we wont EVER get out of Iraq if we dont train them.
So it only makes sense to train them and give them a better rifle to allow them to be more equipped to deal with the situations they encounter.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 4:58:24 AM EDT
I am sure that ASA can help them out....
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 5:36:26 AM EDT
Seems the only reason they want to change is for a railled handguard.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 5:49:15 AM EDT
But...but...but...wait a minute!

I thought OUR soldiers were dropping their M16's and picking up the more-reliable AK47's from the enemy!


(oops! wrong war...sorry)
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 5:51:41 AM EDT
I'm glad I'm not the only one that was noticing a haji bitching about what we are "giving" them.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 6:10:36 AM EDT
Feinstein would never allow it!!!!!
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 6:25:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/28/2005 6:25:57 AM EDT by glockguy40]
Why dont some other countries step up and "give" the Iraqis something.

Maybe the Germans can pony up some G36's.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 6:34:41 AM EDT
Hesse!
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 6:40:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/28/2005 6:40:28 AM EDT by Death_006]
I'm sorry, but anytime I hear the NY times saying anything about weapons, I just have to step back for a moment and laugh.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 6:48:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/28/2005 6:48:49 AM EDT by fight4yourrights]

Originally Posted By raven:


General Jassem wants more. The AK-47 assault rifles his troops use, he notes, cannot be fitted with laser aiming devices and night-vision sights. "The Russians stopped using this weapon in the 1980's," he said. He wants the more modern and powerful American M4 or Russian AK-105.

Link Posted: 8/28/2005 6:50:45 AM EDT
There is already an excellent cheap tough as nails hand guard made by ultimak. It has both a railed gas tube upper rail and a solid tough lower rail that is perfect for lasers and night vision that is a hell of a lot cheaper than new M4s
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 6:55:50 AM EDT
There are a lot of sight, light and laser options for the AK just as there are for the AR. The Iraqi's can shell out a few hundred per rifleman and get a Ultimak rail and EOtech. Why do they need lasers when they can't field NVG's one per man? Lights can easily be mounted on AKs. Again the Iraqi's are perfectly able to place an order with manufacturers.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 6:57:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:

Originally Posted By raven:


General Jassem wants more. The AK-47 assault rifles his troops use, he notes, cannot be fitted with laser aiming devices and night-vision sights. "The Russians stopped using this weapon in the 1980's," he said. He wants the more modern and powerful American M4 or Russian AK-105.



I'm sure Romania, Bulgaria and China would love for Russia to sell abunch of AK-105's to Iraq.
AK-105 is 5.45mm, the AK-101 and AK-102 are 5.56mm.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 6:58:45 AM EDT
And I want a Sig 55* series rifles

boo fuckin hoo
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 7:00:05 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 7:09:55 AM EDT
This is my daily life here. I train and operate with ISF. I cant wait to come home.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 7:22:17 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 7:23:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/28/2005 7:23:39 AM EDT by glockguy40]
Man... if they end up with a 551/552... I'm gonna be the one bitching and crying.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 7:27:17 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Stryker_11A:
This is my daily life here. I train and operate with ISF. I cant wait to come home.



Do the Iraqi soldiers really complain about wanting M4's?

Link Posted: 8/28/2005 7:27:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/28/2005 7:35:19 AM EDT by bulldog1967]

Originally Posted By pale_pony:
But...but...but...wait a minute!

I thought OUR soldiers were dropping their M16's and picking up the more-reliable AK47's from the enemy!


(oops! wrong war...sorry)





Link Posted: 8/28/2005 7:41:35 AM EDT
One word:

AIRSOFT

Link Posted: 8/28/2005 7:52:01 AM EDT
Let 'em do their own group buy.

I have only so much patience for whiny Iraqi b*tches.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 8:05:10 AM EDT


Supposedly Iraqi Swat.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 8:12:37 AM EDT
They're just gonna use them against us...


Link Posted: 8/28/2005 8:19:24 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Mr45auto:
It sure beats the AF cutting up it's old rifles

Maybe equip their counterterrorist units with M4s and leave the AKs for the average lo speed, hi drag operators.



Iraqi CT/AT forces are equipped with SIG 550/1/2 rifles.

Justi
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 8:22:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:
no problem with me. let tem buy their own.




+1

And, after a bazillion years they can't use the AK with any proficiency. A new weapon ain't the cure. Pray and spray
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 8:23:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Jasba:
I think we have "given" them enough. AK's are perfect for their environment and training levels. Hey, I have an idea if they want some why don't they design and build their own? Oh, thats right, they can't. They don't have any good engineering schools or manufacturing plants............hmmm.....wonder why that is so? I wonder why when Arafat went down hill last year he had to go to a hospital in France?.........What contribution is it that Arab countries make to the world other than oil again? Great music? Wine? Architecture? Engineering? Food? ..........



0 - 9.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 8:25:23 AM EDT

Originally Posted By No1Here:
www.webmutants.com/strategypage/iraqi_swat.jpg

Supposedly Iraqi Swat.



Looks more like heavily armed sperm to me.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 8:26:49 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 8:38:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:
no problem with me. let tem buy their own.



+1 no one gave us ours.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 8:41:26 AM EDT
Iraqis want black rifles

Their education continues
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 9:22:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By C-4:

Originally Posted By Stryker_11A:
This is my daily life here. I train and operate with ISF. I cant wait to come home.



Do the Iraqi soldiers really complain about wanting M4's?




They want anything we have and they do not. I swear, if we wore friggin tutus they would tell me their uniforms are no good and the tutus were the way to go.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 9:27:38 AM EDT
Might not be a bad idea if half of their shit didn't end up on the other side.

Link Posted: 8/28/2005 9:31:06 AM EDT
Just send them black paint, they can make all the black rifles they want then
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 9:41:26 AM EDT
There will be NO Iraq in 10 years.
What happens to all those T-72s and NGVs then?
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 10:27:09 AM EDT
I'm not there to see what's really going on and what they need, but I doubt that it's time for something like this yet.

While the AR15 family is a better rifle, the AKs are perfectly capable rifles too. I'd want to see the Iraqis using their AKs to the fullest before I thought about giving them better rifles. They want dot sights and NVGs - that's nice, but are they using the AK sights properly now? Why give them better sights if they haven't mastered what they have? Are they shooting accurately enough to run up against the AKs limits? Do they clean their rifles regularly?

As for the serious hardware, let them get better control over the terrorists before we think about giving them tanks and helicopters.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 10:36:29 AM EDT
The AK47 is the best weapon for the region. The 7.62x39 Russian is readily available. What's there not to like?
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 10:52:47 AM EDT
Huh, weren't they given brand new Ak47s from Arsenal inc of Bulgaria?



Link Posted: 8/28/2005 11:28:02 AM EDT
If the Iraqis used some of their oil revenues to contract out 20,000 M4s from, say, Bushmaster, I'd be all for it.

That way, Middle Eastern money comes here for something WE have, employing more good Americans.

Think about it as a "jobs bill."



Other than that, it's a non-starter. If you can't shoot for shit, an M4 isn't going to help you.
Link Posted: 8/28/2005 11:33:19 AM EDT

Originally Posted By fadedsun:
Huh, weren't they given brand new Ak47s from Arsenal inc of Bulgaria?






Well, see those Bulgarian AK's just arent that good................they want Valmets now.......or Colt Kool Aid M4's lol........
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