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Arms transfers to Syria: who, what and why? watch

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    In 2017, the international human rights organization Amnesty International published its report which made it clear that ISIS militants had huge amounts of weapons. According to the data of human rights defenders, the USA and its allies had been their major weapon suppliers over the years. Officially, weapons were meant to find their way into the rebel Free Syria Army's possession. But 'circumstances were such' that terrorists managed to seize these weapons. And as a result, to date, almost 100 various types of weapons from 25 countries are in the hands of ISIS militants; these are arms and ammunition produced by the USA, Germany, Britain and some post-Soviet States.

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    There were also a lot of scandals regarding arms transfers from the territory of the former USSR to the Middle East. A recent scandal is connected with the Amnesty International Report where the Ukrainian state company Ukrinmash has been accused of involvement in illegal arms transfers to South Sudan. Certainly, Kiev tried by all possible means to distance itself from it, stating that there had been some real arrangements but they had not come to declared shipments. However, there is an alternative consideration.

    According to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), the Pentagon was purchasing arms for Syrian rebels in Ukraine, Georgia and Kazakhstan. Some analysts make an assumption that Ukrainian arms could be used during Kurdish self-defense forces' raids against Turkish troops in January 2018.

    This information is also confirmed by investigations initiated by the Security Service of Ukraine after the leak to the media of the data on transactions between Ukrainian State Concern Ukroboronprom, involved in arms export, and partners of the US-led international coalition in Syria. Ukrainian security agencies fear that a list of all US agents, as well as, European firms involved in the deal making will be available to the public.



    Translation (from Ukrainian):

    Dear Vasyl Serhiyovych,

    On the grounds that talks with the USA concerning arms supplies to Ukraine have currently entered the final stage, the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) should concentrate all its efforts on improving efficiency, with an emphasis on maintaining the positive image of Ukraine's security agencies abroad. The US Department of Defense has noted significant changes in Ukraine's domestic policy. But during a recent meeting with Ukrainian delegation the Pentagon pointed out that further cooperation solely depends on implementing measures to strengthen information security in Ukraine's security services.

    The additional need to protect information containing state and military secrets is related to the fact that the CIA has been informed that the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has detailed information on contracts signed between the State Concern 'Ukroboronprom' and paramilitary groups in the Middle East. The information was possibly leaked on January 19, 2018. And it can result in disclosure of the list of all US agents, as well as, European firms involved in the 'Ukroboronprom' deal making for the sale and repair of arms over the last 6 months. Information on the use of Ukrainian antiaircraft missile systems in some hot zones has also fallen into wrong hands. Some part of the compromising materials about the Defence Ministry of Ukraine has already been published in Turkish and Russian media. As a result, the CIA had to return a number of its agents to the USA and interrupt the follow-up process of 10 major international contracts signed between the State company 'Ukrspecexport' and partners of the US-led international coalition in Syria. The fulfillment of the Middle Eastern orders by Shepetivka and Balakliya repair plants, as well as, Design Bureau 'Artillery Armament' is currently at risk.

    The SSU should conduct a prompt investigation of the security leak from the state enterprises of Ukraine's military-industrial complex, using the full spectrum of operational and technical means with the aim of detecting and subsequent detaining military and civilian personnel involved in gathering and conveying information to third parties about sales of missiles and artillery weapons to our Middle Eastern partners. Special attention should be paid to monitoring the activities of such organizations as OCCRP and Amnesty International on the territory of Ukraine, including their interaction with security services of Turkey and Syria. It is recommended that the SSU, in cooperation with the State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine, should carry out an operation to remove Ukraine's compromising information from electronic carriers of the above-mentioned organizations and to pick up surveillance on the diplomatic corps of the countries which take interest in discrediting and exposing schemes of cooperation between Ukraine and partners of the US-led international coalition in Syria.

    We ask you to provide a detailed work-plan for strengthening of information security in Ukraine and liquidating espionage schemes from the State Concern 'Ukroboronprom' enterprises. And we kindly request you to send it within 15 days as it should be provided for the NSDC consideration.

    Yours sincerely,

    Oleksandr Turchynov

    Obviously, a decree dismissing the Director-General of Ukroboronprom Roman Romanov and the fact of its signing on 12 February 2018 by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is no coincidence either.

    There is no doubt that current transfer and trafficking of arms into the Middle East get out of control of the conflict's main protagonists. Arms are sold, bought and used by all those who have funds and necessary contacts for it. But such carelessness can lead to utmost irreparable consequences: any day now a critical mass of weapons would be achieved in the region. And then the weapons are spreading across other countries, threatening peace and stability not only in the civilized Europe.
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    What do you mean by 'a critical mass of weapons'? In fairness to the region its already [and has been for decades] swimming in guns from various wars, stolen from government stockpiles and dropped in by other governments. It isnt so much the quantity as the quality which would make any difference i'd say.
 
 
 
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