Ease of access to firearms for civilians and terror groups across the world sparks fear and insecurity among inhabitants of nations where such firearms have been acquired. The possibility of maintaining security and protecting the public is lessened and it also becomes difficult for authorities of a given nation to retrieve such firearms especially if it has not put mechanisms in place on how this will be done.
According to a recent report by Amnesty International, this is what is being experienced in Iraq where there is laxity in the control of firearms on the ground and the flow of these arms into the country is not under control anymore. This is what has worsened the security situation in the country with the Islamic State (IS) which is an armed group, gaining access to some large consignment of lethal arsenal.
These arms are currently being used to commit crimes against humanity as well as war crimes both within Iraq and Syria. Amnesty International has been able to retrieve details on how arms designed and manufactured in EU states, Russia, the USA and China are stolen from stocks belonging to the Iraqi military and how they are used.
All these details have been put together in what this international organization is calling “Taking Stock: The arming of Islamic State” and these details have been drawn from various images and videos. In the past, precisely in June 2014, this armed group was able to capture the second largest city in Iraq which is called Mosul and got away with a great number of firearms that have been manufactured internationally. These arms were obtained from Iraqi stockpiles.
Military vehicles and weapons produced in the US were part of what was seized by the IS who went on to harm civilians in the region as they took control of other regions within the nation. So far, various atrocities which take place at gun point most of the times have been done using these weapons in the hands of this armed group including taking of hostages, killings, torture, rape and abduction.
This group has sophisticated weapons in its possession too including the Bushmaster, guided anti-tank missiles, the US M16, man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), Russian AK series assault rifles and fighting vehicles that are armored. It believed that what necessitated the flow of these arms were donations by NATO, arrangements to barter oil and contracts signed with the Pentagon.
It is dangerous to have these arms in the hands of IS and other armed groups and this poses a risk to nations. Some of the suggestions by Amnesty International that are expected to address this situation, is investment in training, control and monitoring before and after arms are delivered for the military in Iraq, adoption of complete embargo on armed opposition groups and government forces of Syria by all nations and adoption of the “presumption of denial” rule by nations, which aims at verifying the risk attached to sending arms into Iraq.