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Amnesty Report: Irresponsible Arms Transfers Encourage ISIL Crimes

8 December 2015 15:31


The so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) takfiri group has managed to take control of large areas of Iraq and Syria in large part thanks to internationally-produced weapons, Amnesty International said in a report released Tuesday.

“The range and scope of ISIL arsenal reflects decades of irresponsible arms transfers to Iraq,” says the human rights watchdog in its recent report called “Arming ISIL: Facts and Figures”.

According to the report, ISIL terrorist group gained most of its arms by seizing stocks from the Iraqi military, which were manufactured in more than 12 countries, including the United States.

“More than 30 countries – including all permanent members of the UN Security Council – have supplied the Iraqi army with military equipment over the past decade – a period in which substantial amounts of military equipment has ended up in the hands of insurgent groups, including ISIL and its precursors,” the report said.

“Poor regulation and lack of oversight of the immense arms flows into Iraq going back decades have given ISIL and other armed groups a bonanza of unprecedented access to firepower,” said Patrick Wilcken, Researcher on Arms Control, Security Trade and Human Rights at Amnesty International in a statement.

According to the report most of the conventional weapons being used by ISIL armed mercenaries date from the 1970s to the 1990s but there was a massive rise in arms imports to Iraq following the US-led military intervention in 2003.

“After taking control of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, in June 2014, ISIL fighters acquired a windfall of internationally manufactured arms from Iraqi stockpiles, including US-manufactured weapons and military vehicles which they paraded on social media,” the report stated.

Amnesty International called on all states to adopt a complete embargo on armed groups involved in human rights abuses.

“The consequences of reckless arms transfers to Iraq and Syria and their subsequent capture by ISIL must be a wake-up call to arms exporters around the world,” said Patrick Wilcken, a Brazilian human rights activist who works at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International (AI) in London.

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