London, Sep 17: Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has charged both the United States and the United Kingdom for flooding Iraq with weapons, and this has led to an increase in sectarian killings and various human rights violations. Amnesty International claims that there is no clear accountable audit trail for some 360,000 small arms supplied to the Iraqi security forces, many by the US and UK.
It further says that subcontracting makes the arms trade even less transparent. Among examples cited by Amnesty are the supply of 63,800 Kalashnikov assault rifles from Bosnia to Iraq and the dispatch via the UK of thousands of Italian Beretta pistols, many of which ended up in the hands of al-Qaeda insurgents in Iraq.
"The easy availability of small arms and lack of accountability in Iraq has contributed to sectarian killings by armed groups, as well as torture and other ill-treatment; extra-judicial executions by Iraqi government forces and the continuing arbitrary detention of thousands of suspects by Iraqi soldiers backed by US armed forces since 2003," says Amnesty.
According to US State Department figures this week, Iraq has signed over three billion dollars worth of arms deals in the past two years.
Amnesty estimates that more than one million small arms have been sold to Iraq since the 2003 invasion and the Iraqi government plans to procure more than 250,000 from the US and China.