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    Iraq: Belgian weapons reach Islamic State

    ©Belga
    ©Belga

    With few rules in place to limit the transfer of weapons to Iraq, and “porous” checks on the ground in the past ten years, weapons “have reached” the hands of Islamic State, including some manufactured by FN Herstal, accuses Amnesty International Belgium in a new report on Tuesday. The document is called “Taking Stock – The arming of Islamic State” and lists weapons used by IS fighters. The weapons are “mainly looted from Iraqi military stocks, which were manufactured and designed in more than two dozen countries, including Russia, China, the USA, and EU states.”

    According to Amnesty, “man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS), guided anti-tank missiles and armoured fighting vehicles, as well as assault rifles like the Russian AK series and the US M16 and Bushmaster,» FAL automatic rifles and other automatic guns manufactured by FN Herstal “are among the advanced weaponry in the IS arsenal.”

    “This shows that risk assessment and measures to reduce arms exports towards volatile parts of the world will result from a long-term and comprehensive analysis of the situation,” suggests Patrick Wilcken, in charge of investigations into arms control. “The international community must learn from past mistakes and take urgent measures to reduce the proliferation of weapons in Iraq, in Syria, and countries or regions of instability.”

    The organisation is demanding therefore a “total embargo on weapons to Syrian governmental troops, as well as to armed opposition groups involved in war crimes, crimes against humanity, or other grave violations of human rights.” Amnesty International is also asking all states which have not yet signed or ratified the Arms Trade Treaty to do so now. 

    Oscar Schneider (Source: Belga)