The Washington Times
July 27, 2007
China arms both sides
Iraq’s new government recently concluded a deal with China worth almost $100 million to outfit Iraqi police with Kalashnikov-design assault rifles and other small arms in a move that has U.S. defense and national security officials fuming.
The arms deal shows that Beijing is arming both sides of the Iraq conflict, as recent intelligence reports show that Chinese weaponry is being shipped to Iraqi and Afghan insurgents through Iran. Defense officials said the arms deal with Baghdad was concluded during the visit to Beijing by Iraqi President Jalal Talbani last month.
Brig. General Qasim Ata, an Iraq police spokesman, was quoted recently as saying the contracts with China were for imports of “advanced” Chinese weapons for the Iraqi armed forces.
One Bush administration official called the deal “extremely foolish.”
“Buying weapons from China will accelerate the alienation of America,” the official said. “Iraq purchasing PLA weapons along with the emerging PRC oil deal will contribute mightily to end game Iraq for the United States.” The PLA is the acronym for China’s military.
The official said the Iraqi government needs to better understand that the U.S. military is fighting and dying to give their nation the opportunity for a free and open society and government. “It is not the PLA, in fact the PLA is arming Iranians to kill Iraqis and Americans,” the official said.
Disclosure of the Iraqi government arms deal with China comes as a U.S. military spokesman this week confirmed the flow of Chinese shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to insurgents, first reported in this paper June 5.