Bush and Cheney Turn Iraq Into Huge Arms Profiteering Market as Evidenced by Arrests in Italy
Iraqi and Italian partners haggled over shipping more than 100,000 Russian-made automatic weapons into the bloodbath of Iraq. As the secretive, $40 million deal neared completion, Italian authorities moved in, making arrests and breaking it up. But key questions remain unanswered.Here's a key question: Huh?
...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.HUH???
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.Finally. Something that makes sense.
Iraqi middlemen in the Italian deal, in intercepted e-mails, claimed the arrangement had official American approval. A U.S. spokesman in Baghdad denied that.Of course he did. Because we'd never give official American approval for anything illegal. Like, ummm, say, extraordinary rendition or anything. Suspicious activities? Connected to George W. Cheney? That would be so, I dunno, strange.
In the documents, Razzi describes it as "strange" that the U.S.-supported Iraqi government would seek such weapons via the black market.Jinx! You owe me a Coke.
Investigators say the prospect of an Iraq deal was raised last November, when an Iraqi-owned trading firm e-mailed Massimo Bettinotti, 39, owner of the Malta-based MIR Ltd., about whether MIR could supply 100,000 AK-47 assault rifles and 10,000 machine guns "to the Iraqi Interior Ministry," adding that "this deal is approved by America and Iraq."I'm trying my best to not become a cynic. I mean, it's not like we have a track record of poor control of arms into Iraq or anything.
In fact, in a further sign of poor controls on the flow of arms into Iraq, a July 31 audit report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office said the U.S. command's books don't contain records on 190,000 AK-47s and other weapons, more than half those issued in 2004-2005 to Iraqi forces. This makes it difficult to trace weapons that may be passed on to militias or insurgents.Okay. Color me cynical. And color the "bad guys" grateful. And color this administration an unmitigated disaster.