Skip to comments.Who Armed Iraq? Myth vs. Fact
Posted on 04/10/2003 4:27:37 PM PDT by backhoe
Name one weapon in the Iraqi arsenal that was made in the United States.
I have offered that challenge to dozens of so-called anti-war activists who claim that the U.S. armed Iraq. According to these protesters for "peace," George Bush Sr. and Ronald Reagan supplied Iraq with tons of weapons.
None have been able to name the specific weapon missile, bomb, fighter, tank or shell that is U.S.-made or has U.S. equipment installed in it. None have been able to name any specific weapon system.
All of them have failed the challenge, providing no more than allegations that U.S. parts are in Iraqi missiles or U.S. electronics are being used by the Iraqi military. One protester even claimed that Iraq was armed with U.S.-made trucks.
Since when is a truck a weapon? Are the Iraqis going to drive backwards, fuel tank first, into the U.S. Army?
Time to separate the myth from the reality. The propaganda spun by the far left is false. The facts show that Iraq is armed with a wide range of weapons none of which came from the U.S.
Iraqi Air Force
The Iraqi air force does not fly Falcons or Eagles. The majority of the Iraqi air force is made in Russia. The Russian MiG and Sukhoi design bureaus supplied Iraq with hundreds of advanced strike-fighters and the Mach 3 Foxbat interceptor.
Saddam could field a force of advanced MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters if they had not chickened out of combat during the Gulf War, flying to Iran for asylum. The Iranians, who love Saddam even less than we do, never returned the MiGs.
The remainder of the Iraqi air force comes from France and China. The Chinese supplied Saddam with the Chengdu F-7, a copy of the Russian MiG-21. The F-7 can fly from unimproved runways and is known to be a vicious in-close dog fighter.
However, the French Mirage F-1 is reportedly the best jet fighter in Iraqi hands. You can view an Iraqi F-1 in action on the State Department Web site, testing a chemical spraying system.
If you still believe that the Iraqis have no chemical weapons, think again. Iraq did not modify its best multimillion-dollar fighter jet to spray for fruit flies.
Anyone with half of a brain knows that you cannot keep a modern jet fighter in the air without spare parts. Thus the Russian, Chinese and French jets should be museum pieces after 12 years of a so-called U.N. ban on weapons sales to Iraq. Yet somehow Saddam has his air force flying over 1,000 sorties a month.
Thanks to excellent reporting by Bill Gertz we now know that France has been supplying spare parts for Saddam's Mirage fighters. The French spare parts arrived in Baghdad not 20 years ago during the Cold War but last year, just in time to face our forces today.
Merci! With friends like, that who needs enemies?
Perhaps the Iraqi missile force has some U.S.-made weapons? Not. The primary Iraqi missile is the Russian-made Scud. Other missiles include the FROG-7 from Russia, the Exocet from France and the Silkworm from China.
The Iraqi air defense has plenty of missiles ... from Russia, China and France. The SA-2 Guideline, SA-3 Goa and SA-6 Gainful SAM missiles are all of Russian or Chinese manufacture. The French also supplied Baghdad with a number of Roland air defense missile systems.
Even the missile parts are from Chinese, German and French sources. Israeli authorities know full well what is inside Iraqi-made Scud missiles since many of them fell on Tel Aviv during the Gulf War. The Israelis found that the Scud warhead electronics were made in Germany not the U.S.A.
In addition, William Safire recently wrote a column noting that a Chinese chemical company had supplied rocket fuel to Iraq through a French front company. Safire identified the fuel, the companies and the Iraqi missile facility where it was mixed into new Iraqi rockets. Again, the missile fuel sale was made within the last year, just in time to make new Iraqi missiles pointed at Kuwait, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Saddam sends his love to Paris and Beijing. Without your help he certainly could not threaten his neighbors with nerve gas and anthrax.
Okay, if not jet fighters and missiles, then how about tanks? Certainly the biggest weapons seller in the world, the U.S.A., sold tanks to Iraq.
The Iraqi armor force is made up of Chinese and Russian models familiar to any "cold" warrior. The Iraqi T-72 and T-55 tanks are all of Russian manufacture. The Iraqis also have a large number of Type-59 Chinese tanks and Russian-made BMP armored troop carriers. No M-1 Abrams here.
How about attack helicopters? The Iraqis have a number of choppers they used against the Kurds and Shiites.
So sorry, the Iraqi attack chopper force is Russian and French. The Russians supplied Iraq with a large number of the Mil-24 Hind attack helicopters, armed to the teeth with cannon, missiles and even chemical weapon sprayers.
The French supplied Saddam with a large number of Gazelle attack helicopters. The same French also managed to keep Saddam's attack helicopter force flying today with spare parts.
Guns, then? Surely the U.S. supplied Saddam with guns?
Nope. The main Iraqi artillery is the French 155mm howitzer. The remainder of Iraq's artillery is 122mm Russian-made cannons and Russian-made short-range rocket launchers. Even the Iraqi foot soldier is armed with the venerable AK-47 of Russian and Chinese make.
The facts are that during the Iran-Iraq war the U.S. supplied Iraq with something much more valuable than guns: satellite information on when and where the Iranians were going to attack.
Of course, current anti-war activists seize this piece of information without putting it into historical context. The information was supplied during the height of the Cold War. The main threat to America was the Soviet Union and the biggest fear in the Gulf was the Ayatollah Khomeini.
You remember the chant "death to America"? It almost seems that the ayatollah invented it. Ironically, the Ayatollah made his way to Tehran from his home in exile Paris.
The Reagan administration, aware that the Iranian ayatollah had threatened to turn the Gulf into a sea of fire, assisted Saddam so that he would not lose the war. The assistance stopped short of helping Saddam win the war.
In fact, when it appeared the Iraqis were on the verge of victory, the Reagan administration transferred real weapons to the Iranians. The infamous Iran-Contra scandal involved a large number of badly needed U.S. TOW anti-tank missiles that were sold to Iran.
The U.S. missiles proved to be critical to the Iranian defense against Iraq's superior Russian tank force. The result was a stalemate and the war ended.
The fact is that Saddam owes billions to France, Russia and China for weapons purchases. Clearly, Iraq is buying more weapons from Paris and Beijing despite a U.N. arms embargo. Perhaps one reason why Paris, Moscow and Beijing oppose a war in Iraq is because they would lose their best customer.
The propaganda spun by the far left that the U.S. armed Iraq is false and backed by no facts. The so-called anti-war types are more interested in slamming Bush than stopping a war. None have been able to name one American-made weapon in the Iraqi arsenal.
More importantly, none of them can give one good reason why Saddam should stay in power.
Off the top of my head, we backed Iraq in the Iran/Iraq war, as the lesser of two evils.
The main suppliers of dual-use technology & weapons were the Germans & French, IIRC.
A review of thousands of declassified government documents and interviews with former policymakers shows that U.S. intelligence and logistical support played a crucial role in shoring up Iraqi defenses against the "human wave" attacks by suicidal Iranian troops. The administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush authorized the sale to Iraq of numerous items that had both military and civilian applications, including poisonous chemicals and deadly biological viruses, such as anthrax and bubonic plague.
I can. It's not accurate. The "1%" number for the USA includes unarmed civilian helicopters (Bell 212/214, etc) that were sold to Iraq for civilian purposes and then confiscated by the Iraqi military and used as VIP transports. Since they are unarmed, they should not count as "weapons", and since they weren't sold to the military they should also not count as "weapons". The correct percentage for the USA should be zero on this chart, because other than these helicopters, nothing in the Iraqi inventory is made in the USA.
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