Friday, May 26, 2017

Audit: U.S. Army Loses Track of $1 Billion-Plus Worth of Weapons, Other Equipment in Iraq

US army Humvees are loaded into trucks during a logistical operation to clear equipment and heavy machinery as part of pulling out of Iraq, at the Balad military base, north of Baghdad, on August 27, 2010 a week before the US military is due to end its combat mission in the country. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. Army has lost track of more than $1 billion worth of weapons and other equipment destined for local allies combating the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq, including an Iran-allied group of Shiite fighters, reveals a report.

According to a declassified government audit of the Iraqi Train and Equip Fund obtained by Amnesty International through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, hundreds of Humvees and mortars, as well as tens of thousands of rifles, remain unaccounted for due to a lack of central database for keeping track of U.S. taxpayer-funded military equipment.
“This audit provides a worrying insight into the US Army’s flawed – and potentially dangerous – system for controlling millions of dollars’ worth of arms transfers to a hugely volatile region,” declared Patrick Wilcken, the arms control and human rights researcher for Amnesty, in a statement.
“It makes for especially sobering reading given the long history of leakage of US arms to multiple armed groups committing atrocities in Iraq, including the armed group calling itself the Islamic State,” he continued.“The need for post-delivery checks is vital. Any fragilities along the transfer chain greatly increase the risks of weapons going astray in a region where armed groups have wrought havoc and caused immense human suffering.”
The U.S. Army provided the unaccounted weapons and other military equipment to the U.S.-backed Iraqi Army, Kurdish Peshmerga troops, and the Iran-allied Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), a predominantly group of Shiite fighters sanctioned by Baghdad.

Amnesty International has accused PMU fighters, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) and al-Hashd al-Shabi, of committing atrocities against civilians in Iraq using weapons from the United States and other countries.
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