Weapons: December 11, 2004

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Despite their extensive press coverage, one thing that is hardly ever mentioned by the Western media services concerning the insurgents in Iraq is how poorly-equipped and trained they are. The insurgents are heavily-armed, but most of those weapons were looted from old stockpiles of small arms and light weapons leftover from the Saddam era. The most common weapons used by the insurgents are AK-47s and RPG-7s. The AK-47 and its variants are arguably the best inexpensive infantry weapons in the world, but most of the rifles the guerrillas have are old and rusting away. Add to that the fact that the insurgents are not the best shots in the world, and it is highly unlikely that they will hit something or someone on purpose. Most of the AK-47 ammunition available is in bad condition and sometimes as dangerous to the user as it is to the person being shot at. The RPG-7s are no better. The models that predominate in Iraq are mostly the older ones that cannot penetrate most American armored vehicles.. The newest versions of the RPG have twice the armor penetration power and are capable of taking out many tanks. 

This lack of quality equipment, and the know-how to use it, is a major factor in why American casualties are so low. Even poorly-trained troops know the value of keeping weapons and ammunition clean. The results of failing to do so can be lethal. Any ammunition, especially grenades and rockets, that is allowed to fall into poor condition, is extremely dangerous because it can explode in the faces of whoevers using it. If its a grenade or an RPG round, such an explosion could take out several people or an entire squad. Same thing with weapons. A rusty rifle has more of a chance of exploding in its owners face. Most of the weapons and ammunition possessed by the insurgents is in EXTREMELY bad condition. 

The quality of training and equipment possessed by rebels/terrorists around the world varies from place to place. In Macedonia, for example, the Albanian rebels groups were among the most well-equipped in the world, possessing night vision gear, assault weapons, and sniper rifles. Most of the equipment was rather old, but well-maintained and otherwise functional. Of course, all of this equipment is very expensive, and the Albanians had the funds to pay for it, thanks to their control over a large part of the narcotics and sex trade in the Balkans. The Iraqi insurgents have access to cash, but use most of it to pay people to go out and fight with their inadequate weapons.

 


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