The Iraqi security forces are replacing all of their AK-47s with U.S.
M-16 and M-4 assault rifles. To that end, it has ordered another 100,000 M-16
rifles. In the last two years, it has received 235,000 M-16 and M-4
rifles. This new order, includes 4,000
AN/PVS-7D Night Vision scopes and a lot of support gear (trucks, generators and
troops are not keen on getting the M-16. They know it is more accurate, and
that they are getting more target practice to improve their shooting skills.
But the M-16 requires more maintenance. You have to clean it a lot. The less
accurate AK-47 was much more tolerant when it came to sand and dust. However,
Iraqi NCOs and junior officers tend to prefer the M-16 for its lighter weight,
and lighter ammo. The M-16 ammo weighs more than a third less than AK-47
rounds. That extra accuracy and ammo can be a lifesaver in combat. Iraqi NCOs
also note that the U.S. troops manage to keep their weapons clean, and believe
that Iraqis can be trained to be as diligent.
differ on whether U.S. troops should be in the country, but all agree that the
Americans are formidable warriors. Increasingly, Iraqi troops are wearing
similar combat uniforms and driving hummers. The Iraqi soldiers consciously
copy their U.S. counterparts. This
includes handling their weapons, and moving around, in a similar fashion. But
it isn't all superficial imitation, the Iraqis stand and fight now. U.S.
troops, back in Iraq after having been away for a year or so, are pleasantly
surprised to find, when called to reinforce an Iraqi unit (like a checkpoint,
or a police station) under fire, that the Iraqis are now fighting harder and
smarter. In the past, the U.S. troops would often show up to find the Iraqi
troops or police had fled.
many Iraqi units equipped with M-16s, and wearing similar uniforms, it's often
hard to tell Iraqis and Americans apart. This has led to situations where, in
the thick of combat, a U.S. NCO goes up to a soldier and yells an order, which
results in an Iraqi soldier turning around and giving the U.S. sergeant a