Peshmerga fighters in need sell German weapons on the black market

EPA/RAINER JENSEN

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (L) visits the Bnaslawa training camp for training Peshmerga fighters, in Erbil, Iraq, 27 October 2015.

German daily, Zeit Online, reported that according to a research conducted by German broadcasters NDR and WDR, the weapons sold in the black market were several assault rifles and a pistol


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Assault rifles and a pistol from German military stocks were sold in Iraq’s black market, according to a research conducted by German broadcasters NDR and WDR.

The journalists – investigators found several G3 assault rifles and a P1 pistol, belonging to Bundeswehr (Germany’s military) in the northern Iraqi cities of Erbil and Sulaymaniyah. The weapons apparently came from stocks, which the German government delivered to the Kurdish autonomous government in northern Iraq to help the regional authority win the war against Daesh.

The report said that the Peshmerga fighters were forced to sell their weapons because the Kurdish authority left them unpaid for months. The assault rifles, built in 1986, were sold at a price between 1450 and 1800 US dollars. In the report it is said that a former Peshmerga fighter and now an asylum seeker in Germany sold his gun, to be able to escape the war and come to Germany together with his family.

A governor of the province of Kirkuk, Nadjmeddin Karim, acknowledged the economic hardship and said that the Kurdish fighters are not getting paid regularly. Still, despite the economic struggles, the Iraqi Kurdish army (the Peshmerga) is considered being one of the most effective fighting forces in the campaign against Daesh.

Last week, Fuad Hussein, chief of staff of Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani travelled to the US and plead for cash, warning that their campaign against Daesh is threatened by the economic collapse of the region. Al Monitor website reported that corruption remains one of the biggest challenges in KRG while the declining oil prices, caused the economic crisis in the region.

Responding the NDR and WDR report, the German Defense Ministry also accused the Kurdish government of mishandling the weapons. The Ministry stressed that the government of Iraq’s Kurdistan region was responsible for the weapons, adding that they had “committed themselves to the correct verification of the delivered arms.”

 

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