Arms are loaded into a cargo Il-76 in Belgrade in January, bound somewhere south and east. BIRN photo.

Arms are loaded into a cargo Il-76 in Belgrade in January, bound somewhere south and east. BIRN photo.

How do the rebels and the governments in Libya, Syria, and Iraq (not to mention Iran’s pawns in Lebanon) manage to continue arming themselves with modern weapons, mostly of Russian or older Soviet design, when most of them are under embargo?

Would you believe, systematic cheating on UN embargos and laughably gauzy international “control” regimes? We knew you could! Just like Iraq kept arming up during a decade of sanctions, thanks in part to the corruption of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and every other UN official or soi-disant “diplomat,” nowadays anyone who says he’s Sunni Moslem can get the Saudis to stand him an End User Certificate or three for the mayhem-makers of his choice; the UN is anybody’s for a few bribes; and the national intelligence services who might know enough about this traffic to disrupt it, would rather not do so. They’d rather exploit it.

The Soros-funded (-controlled?) Balkan Investigative Reporting Network is claiming that the arms in these post-“Arab Spring” conflicts are being provided by the USA and its allies. And they do have some evidence for it: Saudi EUCs, contracts let by American commands for “weapons to be employed outside the USA” (those contracts are probably for arms for Iraqi or Afghan military, actually).

Amnesty International, another NGO that seems to find error only in Western Democracies, is always good for some high dudgeon:

“The evidence points towards systematic diversion of weapons to armed groups accused of committing serious human rights violations. If this is the case, the transfers are illegal under the ATT (United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty) and other international law and should cease immediately,” said Patrick Wilcken, an arms-control researcher at Amnesty International who reviewed the evidence collected by reporters.

And how many divisions has Amnesty?

But with hundreds of millions of euros at stake and weapons factories working overtime, countries have a strong incentive to let the business flourish. Arms export licences, which are supposed to guarantee the final destination of the goods, have been granted despite ample evidence that weapons are being diverted to Syrian and other armed groups accused of widespread human rights abuses and atrocities.

Naturally, they can find a political-appointee AMEMB who fingers the USA as the bad guy. Nobody’s as post-American as the zeroes in charge of American diplomacy.

Robert Stephen Ford, US ambassador to Syria between 2011 and 2014, told BIRN and the OCCRP that the trade is coordinated by the US Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, Turkey and Gulf states through centres in Jordan and Turkey, although in practice weapon supplies often bypass this process.

Why, if someone were to send arms to the Middle East, those peace-lovers there might just be corrupted by them!

BIRN and the OCCRP examined arms export data, UN reports, flight records, and weapons contracts during a year-long investigation that reveals how thousands of assault rifles, mortar shells, rocket launchers, anti-tank weapons, and heavy machine guns are pouring into the troubled region, originating from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Montenegro, Romania,  Serbia and Slovakia.


Since the escalation of the Syrian conflict in 2012, these eight countries have approved the shipment of weapons and ammunition worth at least 1.2 billion euros to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, and Turkey.


While the number is scary-sounding, you don’t know what it means. A billion euros could be trillions of rounds of small arms ammunition… or it could be a few ships and aircraft.

According to a New York Times report from February 2013, a senior Croatian official offered the country’s stockpiles of old weapons for Syria during a visit to Washington in the summer of 2012. Zagreb was later put in touch with the Saudis, who bankrolled the purchases, while the CIA helped with logistics for an airlift that began late that year.

With the Saudis in it, you see why the islamist parties are the ones getting the arms. The same thing happened in Afghanistan in the 1980s, when we channeled aid through ISI and the guys who wound up with arms were ISI’s preferences — mostly, the hardcore islamists.

While Croatia’s government has consistently denied any role in shipping weapons to Syria, former US ambassador to Syria Ford confirmed to BIRN and the OCCRP the New York Times account from an anonymous source of how the deal was hatched. He said he was not at liberty to discuss it further.

Well, we guess that tells us who the confidential source of the Times article was.

And naturally, to the Amnesty drone for example, the weapons are the cause of the conflict:

“Proliferation of arms to the region has caused untold human suffering; huge numbers of people have been displaced and parties to the conflict have committed serious human rights violations including abductions, executions, enforced disappearances, torture and rape,” said Amnesty’s Wilcken.

Lord love a duck.

This entry was posted in Foreign and Enemy Weapons, Lord Love a Duck, Unconventional Warfare on by Hognose.

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

7 thoughts on “How Guns Caused Mideast Wars (per Amnesty)


The ANA and ANP were given crates of m4….m249…m240 etc.

Take a guess where they are now…..


Amnesty is, of course willfully ignorant of the Ockham’s answer;

– 28 of the flights are to Jedda from Belgrade, and all of the small arms ammo I have seen in KSA is Serbian. Have they noticed that, if one stands on the beach in Jedda facing the Red Sea, then turns 90 degrees left and goes about an hour in that direction by car, KSA is fighting a pretty nasty war in Yemen? (Well, it’s IN Najran and Jazan, too, occasionally).

– Internal Security in Saudi Arabia is mostly provided by guys with Balkan-made Kalashnikovs, and the country is in the process of expanding the police forces by tens of thousands of members. They have a dearth of unemployed men under 25 and very little for them to do. Better to put them under arms FOR the King than against him, which always has been the Al Saud’s #1 security problem.

– Are the Saudis (along with the Jords and US) supplying weapons to Syrian groups? It would be silly to think they’re not, since Iran is, and KSA & Iran are playing a regional power version of the old US vs USSR heavyweight bout every chance they get. But it’s probably not on the scale Amnesty would have us believe. I know firsthand that a great deal of it is used internally.

– The snarky answer is that it’s mostly red tracer rounds, and even at that rate of supply they will have a tough time keeping up with demand on a busy Friday night in a place where people (who are ignorant of both weapons safety and physics) think dumping a mag of tracers straight up is the height of entertainment.


Gee whiz on a cracker. I has gots a degree in political science AND international relations from the Harvard of the South (Thanks Grandpa) and that report still makes as bout as much sense as wearing a white to a BBQ eating contest. Or the infield fly rule. Take your pic.

Haxo Angmark

the Saudis (and Israel) want to punch a nat gas pipeline up through Syria and into Europe; Israel needs to break the Shi’a Crescent in order to cut Hezbollah in S. Lebanan off from Iran. All else follows. When Mrs. Clinton becomes Prez , she’ll ground the Russian AF in Syria, and send both Assad and Putin running for cover. Then, as per Zbig, she’ll proceed to encircle and do a Libya on Russia. Amerika triumphant


and the infield fly rule makes perfect sense. Otherwise, infielders would manufacture artificial double-plays by letting pop flys drop



You obviously didn’t follow the Braves back in 2012.


Trillions of rounds? May I please get that pricing?


Hognose Post author

Sure. Just start a war!

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