Good News or Bad?

“Black-Market Weapon Prices Surge in Iraq Chaos”.

Well, that could be a positive development. After all, if black market weapons were getting cheaper and cheaper, that’d mean it was getting easier for sundry militia groups and so forth to arm themselves. Sadly, read the article and it’s clear that prices are going up because of surging demand for small arms, rather than falling supply. “Rising prices, in turn, have encouraged an insidious form of Iraqi corruption — the migration of army and police weapons from Iraqi state armories to black-market sales . . . three types of American-issued weapons are now readily visible in shops and bazaars here as well: Glock and Walther 9-millimeter pistols, and pristine, unused Kalashnikovs from post-Soviet Eastern European countries. These are three of the principal types of the 370,000 weapons purchased by the United States for Iraq’s security forces.”

Under the circumstances, I think it should be obvious that trying to intensify our efforts to “stand up” Iraqi security forces aren’t going to achieve the intended effects. We’re just pumping more and more weapons into a society that’s hardly suffering from a dearth of armed groups. Were we to start making more progress with Iraqi security forces, the problems would really only grow more intense because the next step would be to start giving them heavier equipment.