The Iraqi Army to dump the AK for the M-16

The Iraqi Army to dump the AK for the M-16

This is a discussion on The Iraqi Army to dump the AK for the M-16 within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Military.com is reporting: In a move that could be the most enduring imprint of U.S. influence in the Arab world, American military officials in Baghdad ...

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Thread: The Iraqi Army to dump the AK for the M-16

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array Dakotaranger's Avatar
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    The Iraqi Army to dump the AK for the M-16

    Military.com is reporting:
    In a move that could be the most enduring imprint of U.S. influence in the Arab world, American military officials in Baghdad have begun a crash program to outfit the entire Iraqi army with M-16 rifles.

    The initiative marks a sharp break for a culture steeped in the traditions of the Soviet-era AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifle, a symbol of revolutionary zeal and third-world simplicity that is ubiquitous among the militaries of the Middle East.

    "We in the U.S. know that the M-16 is superior to the AK ... it's more durable," said Army Col. Stephen Scott, who's in charge of helping the Iraqi army get all the equipment it needs to outfit its forces.

    "The Iraqis have embraced that ... and the fact that it is U.S. manufactured and supplied. They are very big on U.S.-produced [foreign military sales] materials," he said in an interview with military bloggers this month.

    So far, the U.S. military has helped the Iraqi army purchase 43,000 rifles - a mix of full-stock M-16A2s and compact M-4 carbines. Another 50,000 rifles are currently on order, and the objective is to outfit the entire Iraqi army with 165,000 American rifles in a one-for-one replacement of the AK-47.

    "Our goal is to give every Iraqi soldier an M-16A2 or an M-4," Scott said. "And as the Iraqi army grows, we will adjust."

    Scott added the mass of AK-47s from various manufacturers floating through the Iraqi army's inventory could cause maintenance and reliability problems. Getting both U.S. and Iraqi forces on the same page when it comes to basic weaponry is part of the argument for M-16 outfitting.

    "I'm also a fan of AKs," Scott said. "But keep in mind most of these AKs have been sitting around in bunkers or whatnot for 30 or 40 years [and] are in various stages of disrepair."

    A variety of U.S. troops, including SEALs, Marines and Soldiers - and even civilian contractors - are training Iraqis on the M-16 and M-4 throughout the country. One civilian trainer told Military.com during a brief interview in Iraq that the Iraqi soldiers are a little behind the average American trooper when it comes to learning the various parts and breakdown of the M-16, but they're enthusiastic and quick learners on the range.

    After seeing some of the firing range training himself, Scott added that he "asked the Iraqis how they liked the weapon and they said it was far superior, it was more accurate ... and more reliable."

    "I think the transition is almost transparent from those older AKs," he said.

    A system that registers each rifle with the individual who receives it using biometric data such as thumb prints and eye scans is meant to address concerns over U.S. weapons winding up in enemy hands. A July 2007 Government Accountability Office report concluded that as many as 190,000 weapons delivered to the Iraqi army were not accounted for and could've wound up in terrorist caches.

    That's something Scott isn't going to allow on his watch.

    "These Iraqi soldiers know that this weapon becomes part of their person," he said. "And they also know that they are responsible and accountable for that weapon."

    And from the looks of it, Iraqi soldiers aren't willing to hand them over to the bad guys.

    "Most of the soldiers think they will be just like the Americans, and that is making them very happy," said Capt. Rafaat Mejal Ahmed, the Iraqi 1st Division weapons and ammunition officer, in a Marine Corps release. "They think the modern technology will make them more powerful."

    Sound Off...What do you think? Join the discussion.

    Copyright 2008 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
    "[T]he people are not to be disarmed of their weapons.
    They are left in full possession of them."

    Zacharia Johnson (speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention,25 June 1778)"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." ~Alexander Hamilton


  2. #2
    Member Array phaed's Avatar
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    it's a money deal, and meant to create a permanent tie to the US. logistically AK's would be more sensible...especially if our goal is to leave them as self-sufficient. ak ammo and parts are much more accessable in that region. we capture and destroy piles and piles of AKs. doesn't make sense.

    and this statement...

    We in the U.S. know that the M-16 is superior to the AK ... it's more durable
    ...is complete <redacted>
    Last edited by MattInFla; February 28th, 2008 at 05:25 AM. Reason: Remove language work-around
    War is not the ugliest of things. Worse is the decayed state of moral feeling which thinks nothing is worth a war. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which he cares for more than his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free. -J.S. Mill

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    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    If, however, we are fighting sidexside with iraqi forces, maybe it could help target identification? If you hear an AK real close you know that it isn't friendly. Also to be able to shuffle ammo between iraqi and americans on a given patrol could be occasionally useful. I'll agree that there is plenty of money to be made, but I like the idea giving a rifle to friendlies that can easily be tracked back to the soldiers. Accountability as a deterrent.
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    Indeed, putting aside the AK/AR debate (although few could argue that a NEW Colt AR is inferior to a 30 year old, unmaintained AK of questionable manufacture), the benefits are many.

    US trainers will have an easier time teaching the AR to the Iraqis, as they are intimately familiar with the AR.

    Identify Friend or Foe will be easier - there aren't that many ARs floating around in enemy hands, while EVERYONE has an AK of some sort.

    The insurgent tactic of dressing up in Police/Military uniforms will be more difficult if they have to get an M-4 as well as a few yards of cloth.

    Inter-operability of weapon systems (mags, parts, ammo) between US troops and Iraqi allies.

    Closer cultural/operational bonds between the allies.

    Accountability will be greatly increased.

    So, all in all, I can't really see a big down side, other than 5.56 ammo getting even scarcer/more expensive.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    it's a money deal, and meant to create a permanent tie to the US. logistically AK's would be more sensible...especially if our goal is to leave them as self-sufficient. ak ammo and parts are much more accessable in that region. we capture and destroy piles and piles of AKs. doesn't make sense.
    I tend to agree with this. I may not be seeing the big picture though. That's been known to happen before.

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    Senior Member Array bobcat35's Avatar
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    well at least we'll know whether or not its freindly fire when we're being shot at in the middle of the night. IA seem to shoot at us troop more often than they shoot at BG's but are the IP and the IPV getting M16's?
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  7. #7
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    but are the IP and the IPV getting M16's?
    I wondered about this, too. It would make sense, and I hope that they eventually do, but it may be a while...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  8. #8
    Member Array phaed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    Indeed, putting aside the AK/AR debate (although few could argue that a NEW Colt AR is inferior to a 30 year old, unmaintained AK of questionable manufacture), the benefits are many.

    US trainers will have an easier time teaching the AR to the Iraqis, as they are intimately familiar with the AR.

    Identify Friend or Foe will be easier - there aren't that many ARs floating around in enemy hands, while EVERYONE has an AK of some sort.

    The insurgent tactic of dressing up in Police/Military uniforms will be more difficult if they have to get an M-4 as well as a few yards of cloth.

    Inter-operability of weapon systems (mags, parts, ammo) between US troops and Iraqi allies.

    Closer cultural/operational bonds between the allies.

    Accountability will be greatly increased.

    So, all in all, I can't really see a big down side, other than 5.56 ammo getting even scarcer/more expensive.
    those are definitely some valid points opfor. but remember our goal is to make them self sufficient...and for us to leave.
    War is not the ugliest of things. Worse is the decayed state of moral feeling which thinks nothing is worth a war. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which he cares for more than his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free. -J.S. Mill

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    Iraq has money, or at least the means to aquire it once they get their act together. Many other countries use AR type weapons, or at least 5.56N ones, and they don't rely on us to supply their stuff (or, even if they do, how is that a problem? We're happy to sell them ammo and parts...) Just because their neighbors use AKs doesn't mean that they can't support ARs.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  10. #10
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    I think this will also go a long way to shed a 3rd world image when world wide news outlets are going to be filming Iraqi personel daily for years to come.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Also it will permit us to Aip ( abandon in place ) tons of supplys without even the cost of destruction as we reduce forces . The cost of moving supply depots in that area should not be underestimated . Now we just hand over " the keys " and the Iraquis get weapons , ammo , spare parts ect at no cost and it saves us taxpayers $$ to not have to either demo it or move it . Its win win .
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    Senior Member Array rabywk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    I think this will also go a long way to shed a 3rd world image when world wide news outlets are going to be filming Iraqi personnel daily for years to come.
    I really agree with you on this one!!!! All photo's and descriptions of terrorists are shown with AKs. All 3rd World countries are shown with AKs. It is an image they want to distance themselves from on all fronts. Short term it is really going to be bad because of limited supplies and high demand which means more $$$, but long term it should (should being the word) bring the costs of everything AR related down because of more of a supply.

    I know I am living in a dream world. It seems now a days once something goes up in price it never comes back down.... with one exception "our houses."
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Array SilenceDoGood's Avatar
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    It could give a morale boost to the iraqis and encouragment greater comradery.
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