BAGHDAD Ñ The United States has shipped huge amounts of weapons and platforms to Iraq's military and security forces.
U.S. officials said the deliveries began arriving in late July and were
meant to equip the Iraqi Army, Navy, Air Force, and National Guard. They
said the equipment would enable Iraqi troops to launch independent patrols
and missions in many areas of Iraq.
Shipments that had arrived by July 28, provided Iraq's military with more than
2,500 vehicles, 600 radios, 55,000 weapons and 25,000 pieces of body armor,
officials said. They said Iraqi Interior Ministry forces Ñ including
police, border enforcement and facilities protection services Ñ acquired
more than 6,800 vehicles, 14,000 radios, 101,000 weapons, and nearly 46,000
pieces of body armor by the end of last month.
The army and police obtained additional shipments of platforms and
weapons last week, Middle East Newsline reported. In deliveries that arrived by Aug. 3, the army received
275 Nissan four-door pick up trucks, 59 2.5-ton AMC reconditioned trucks,
13,100 uniforms and hats, 1,600 AK-47 rifles, and 500,000 rounds of
ammunition for AK-47 rifles.
Officials said the Iraqi Police Service received 313 new sport utility
vehicles, 110 sedan-style vehicles, 31 Dodge trucks, 9,792 AK-47s, 10,439 9
mm pistols, and 1.4 million rounds of 9 mm ammunition. The police also
received 1,500 sets of body armor.
The shipments of platforms and weapons were meant to complete a
long-delayed effort to equip Iraq's security forces. Officials acknowledged
that the year-long delay in equipping Iraqi troops has prevented their
effectiveness and caused a decline in morale.
Officials said that despite the latest shipments Iraqi security forces
remain far short of their equipment needs. They said the greatest shortage
in equipment regards vehicles, radios and body armor.
The U.S.-led coalition has set a requirement for the deployment of
290,000 weapons, 24,000 vehicles, 75,000 radios, and more than 190,000
pieces of body armor for both the Iraqi military and security forces.
Officials did not say when this level would be reached.
Iraq has been rapidly expanding the military and security forces amid
the equipment shortage. In August, the army activated three battalions in
the Baghdad area.
Officials said the army plans to deploy 29,000 troops, organized into 27
battalions, by early 2005. They reported a National Guard force level of
38,250 trained soldiers, 93 percent strength of the overall manning goal.