Friday, 18 May 2007

The New Iraqi Army

The Iraqi Army Just announced few days ago that they will be replacing the AK-47 Assault rifle, (widely known as the Kalashnikov after its Russian designer Michael Kalashnikov) which has been the standard issue weapon of the Iraqi Army since the 60s, with the American Made M-16 and M- 4.

So, what is wrong with this news?

Since I have been in Iraq all my life I know for a fact that almost every Iraqi Youngman, and boy, knows how to deal and maintain the AK-47. This came as a result of an 8 year long war with Iran, during which the AK was the constant and trusted companion of the Iraqi Soldier in the Battle field. Then it was widely used by almost every Iraqi on August 8th 1988, when the seize fire was announced between Iraq and Iran, marking the end of the war between the 2 countries. People went out in the streets firing their AKs to celebrate the great announcement for days. The AK was ululating for them.

Then Came the Days of the war with America, Saddam decided to train the Iraqis, all the Iraqis, and young, Old, men and woman on using the Ak-47 to "defend Iraq". So as you can see there is a long history between the Iraqis and the AK-47.

For those who have never used or even seen a gun, the Ak-47 is considered the most practical assault rifle ever. It hardly jams and it has been battle tested and it came out with flying colors. I still remember when J. Garner ( the first American civil administrator in Iraq after the war) when his body guards came to the press room carrying all kinds of Semi Automatic rifles and guns. The next press conference they all came Carrying AKs. I was surprised then, but the camera man who was with me that day, who happen to be an Ex-Marine, was not.

"Are you kidding, it is our dream weapon" he said when I pointed out that the American PSDs (private security detail) are carrying AKs.

So why the Iraqi Army would switch from the weapon which is most efficient, well trained on and never had problem with, to another weapon that they are totally unfamiliar with and known for its problems and how much maintenance it requires.

The Ministry said that they want to do that in order to put an end to the weapons being stolen and sold at the Black market, which means that now we would find the M-16 and M-4 in the black market, but no one will buy them for 2 reasons. 1st they are not as good and reliable as the Ak so the Iraqis are smart enough not to buy them, 2nd where do you think the Aks that the Iraqi Army abandoned will go, they will definitely end up at the Black market which will reduce its current price( which is around 300$). The Ministry also said that they almost got those rifles for free; well we did not want them in the first place. What the Iraqi Military need is new Modern tanks instead of the T-52 second hand Tanks which are imported after the war form former Soviet republics and eastern Europe. We want new fighter jets, and modern warship helicopters like the Cobra, Apache or the Chinook, so that we have a real Military force in stead of the Current boy scouts who are being slaughtered on the hands of more powerful and better equipped terrorists and militias. Then we will be able to say to the foreign forces, now you can go back home safely for your "Mission" is really "accomplished" and you do not need to fear for us any more. So in stead of sending us Junk, send some F- 16 s in stead. It is only one letter different but it makes all the diffrance at the Battle field.


I was there.. said...

M4, M16 or F16, do not get angry my friend, they are no more than letters, and will change nothing from the stupid strategy they are carrying out in Iraq, just add one more mistake to the other mistakes they have done in Iraq, or you can add it to the corruption file if you want, which will never end; I think, if they gave the Iraqi soldiers the "M&M" candy, it would be much better and more useful, since they like the letter "M" and it is still an American merchandise, if they want to sell us an American goods; they can make more money; the militias and the Mujahdeen will not buy them in the black market because it is an American merchandise and they are boycotting every American goods.
Moreover, every one can still use the AK's and every one will be happy including those countries, which they are manufacturing the AK's.

I think I have to sell my AK now before their prices goes down.

I know that because,
I was there..

Anonymous said...

Al-Rasheed I would be to differ on the M-4 and M-16s. You already know my feelings about the M-4 and M-16 in comparison to the AK-47, more moving parts and harder to maintain as a general rule. The only advantage is the NATO theory of more ammunition without being weighed down as much. Even when you have "modern" equipment (if you want to go that route and suggest the M-16 is more modern than the AK-47; technically, it is, being designed later but the AK is more modern in my view due to simplicity) and superior forces, this doesn't guarantee tactical advantage and victory. It will ultimately come down to how the Iraqi Army and Police fight and continue to train, which in my amateur opinion will be a long way still.

Dave said...

I wondered about this too, but it turns out there is a reason:

One big problem the ISF have is corruption. There is a lot of concern about government AKs and ammo sold to insurgents and terrorists. The new M16s will be personally tagged to the soldier they are issued to -- and since M16 ammo is much harder for non-ISF to come by, there is much less chance the weapons will be abused.

Also, the ISF are now getting two things they really need: competent, aggressive leaders and serious hardware like APCs and helicopters.

If we can hold the political support together here in the U.S. for a couple more years, the ISF are going to be unstoppable.

Harkonnendog said...

It makes sense, though. The Iraqi army will have a different weapon, which makes a different noise, and helps differentiate them from the insurgents. Plus they'll have a better ammo to weight ratio.

Beyond that, the current version of the M16- the M16A2, is a superior weapon. This paragraph about the AK 47 is accurate and makes a compelling argument.

"It is not very accurate but can fire about 700 rounds per minute. Many western military experts consider it a piece of junk, but it's perfect for poorly-trained soldiers because they can 'spray and pray.' And indeed, it is a piece of junk compared to the M-16A2 now used in Iraq or the shorter barreled version M-4. These rifles are well built, accurate and engineered to close tolerances. They are technological things of beauty. The AK, on the other hand has loose tolerances, feels like it will shake apart (but doesn't) and won't make any friends at the marksmen club. These loose tolerances are the open secret to the AK's almost jam-free history. It's also why you can drag it through mud, leave it buried in the sand and take it out a year later, kick it with your boot, and it will fire like it was cleaned that morning. Again, because of its imprecision, the AK can fire poorly produced ammunition as well as ammo that has been sitting and deteriorating in the jungle or desert."

So if you have a poorly trained army that lacks the discipline to take care of its weapons, and also lacks the ability to aim it, in short if you have Saddam's army, you want the AK-47. If you have a well trained army that can aim, the M16A2 or M-4 is what you want.

Omar said...

Semiautomatic assault rifles seem to be the only concession in terms of arming the ISF . Correct me if am wrong but the US seems to have a deep mistrust of Iraqis and may think better of suppling it with anything more sophisticated than a rifle and a vodka guzzling Breznief-era tank.

cile said...

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i hope you're well!

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Anonymous said...

I hope you're alright, Al-Rahseed. Take care! Until next time!

Al-Rasheed Capital said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Al-Rasheed Capital said...


Sorry I was on my Summer Vacation and just came Back. even though I have been back for couple of weeks but I was so Frustrated to write any thing. So you may check out my new post.
regards and thanks for asking.

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