Procurement: January 23, 2005


The United States has persuaded many NATO nations to donate substantial amounts of military equipment to the new Iraqi army. Since the Iraqis have been using Russian equipment for over three decades, and it's what most Iraqis with military training are familiar with, donations from Eastern European NATO members was particularly sought after. So thousands of AK-47s, RPGs, and other Russian designed weapons are headed for Iraq, with the United States paying the freight. Hungary is contributing 77 T-72 tanks. NATO countries are also sending about a hundred military instructors. Eastern European NATO members were required, during their many decades of Russian domination, to maintain large stocks of weapons, and larger armed forces than they now have. So there are plenty of surplus AK-47s and other Russian weapons in the region. Having the Americans cart them away to Iraq is a cheap, easy, and diplomatically useful way to get rid of the stuff. 


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