A damning report by the EU-funded Conflict Armament Research has found that the majority of weapons that ended-up in the hands of Daesh/ISIS were purchased from Eastern European stockpiles by the United States or Saudi Arabia and transferred to opposition militias in Syria. In many cases there is clear evidence to suggest that the arms were transferred into ISIS possession in less than a month, as US-backed groups amalgamated into ISIS or the weapons were sold on a thriving black market.
A significant proportion of the weapons examined were unauthorised for retransfer, meaning that they had End User Clauses for US and Saudi military or police use that were quickly violated, not even being shipped to their country of authorised usage in many cases.
One item inspected by CAR in May 2015 was a Bulgarian PG-7T 40 mm rocket. The Government of Bulgaria confirmed that it exported the item to the US Department of the Army through the US company Kiesler Police Supply. The application for the export licence was accompanied by the original EUC issued by the US Department of the Army (with a non-re-export clause) as well as a delivery verification certificate. The rocket ultimately ended up with IS forces near Al Hasakah, before YPG forces liberated the town and sent the rocket to CAR for examination.
Cases like this go on and on with various rocket launchers, explosives and assault rifles of predominantly Bulgarian and Romanian manufacture, but with one US importer coming up every time: Kiesler Police Supply.
Kiesler Police Supply was incorporated in the US state of Indiana in 1975 as Kiesler Hardware & Supply. The company changed its name to Kiesler Police Supply in 1980 in order to begin dealing primarily in firearms and ammunition. On its website, Kiesler Police Supply only advertises itself as providing equipment to US national law enforcement agencies. However, the company has been contracted in the past to supply weapons to Iraq. In 2004, Kiesler Police Supply was awarded a multi-million dollar contract to provide weapons such as AK-pattern assault rifles and ammunition to Iraqi security forces.36 On 4 October 2016, CAR called Kiesler Police Supply to request further information regarding the multiple weapon transfers described in this report. The company declined to comment. On 20 October 2016, CAR emailed and faxed an information request for all the items traced to Kiesler Police Supply. The company has yet to respond to CAR’s request for information.
As CAR beautifully put it, their ‘findings are a stark reminder of the contradictions inherent in supplying weapons into armed conflicts in which multiple competing and overlapping non-state armed groups operate.’ In other words, only a fucking moron would be unable to predict that pumping weapons into the hands of farmers living in ISIS territory would result in anything other than ISIS militants gaining possession of shiny new toys. Or, more conceivably, this wasn’t a strategic error on behalf of the US, and arming ISIS in order to destabilise the regime of the uncooperative Bashar Al-Assad was part of the plan all along.
Another NATO member, Turkey, are exposed. Kurds are, as always, stuck in the middle.
Chemicals used by the caliphate to create IEDs and other makeshift explosives, on the other hand, were almost entirely procured via Turkey. Sequential serial numbers on tankers and evidence of the same batch being used for large productions suggest that ISIS were able to conspicuously acquire the chemicals in bulk from Turkish brokers, denying Erdogan’s Turkish government any kind of plausible deniability of knowledge of ISIS custom within their borders.
Kurdish Syrians living in the autonomous Rojava community on the Turkish border have long accused Erdogan of funding ISIS in order to destroy the successfully autonomous Kurdish region and thus kill hope of any further Kurdish rebellion taking hold on the Turkish side of the border. Revelations from the report add further credence to these claims.
The Syrian YPG who defend the autonomous Kurdish region of Syria with the backing of the United States must be asking questions about how their enemies ISIS have received such formidable assistance – intentional or otherwise – from their supposed American allies and the American NATO partners Turkey. The YPG’s acceptance of US military aid was a pragmatic move by Kurdish leadership who were desperately short on military hardware to defend their people against ISIS attacks, however hardline anti-imperialists will use the evidence of US and Turkish actions which fomented the rise of ISIS to argue that the YPG are being used as American pawns in an effort to remove the Assad regime rather than Western forces genuinely valuing the peaceful Kurds’ right to self-determination.
See the full report here (View in new tab, embed below won’t work for mobile viewing):
Amity Underground | ISIS