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Iraq plans to revive its military industry through international companies

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Iraq plans to revive its military industry through international companies

- One day has passed  [9/14/2021]  

Iraq plans to revive its military industries, which were completely destroyed during the war to overthrow the regime of late President Saddam Hussein in 2003 and the subsequent looting, during which most of the equipment and machinery of Iraqi military factories were transferred outside the country.

Since September 2019, Iraq has begun its first serious steps to restore work in its military industry through the Iraqi parliament’s approval of the War Industries Law, after it was abolished in 2003 by the then civil ruler of Iraq, Paul Bremer, and linked its companies to other ministries.

Light weapons at the counter-terrorism exhibition that opened in Baghdad on September 11 (The Independent Arabic)

Iraq has re-established, in a very limited way, its military industry since 2015, through the establishment of the Military Industries Company, which was again located in the industrial zone in Alexandria, 40 kilometers south of Baghdad, and was able to manufacture a short-range missile "Al-Yaqin" and "Sukhoi" aircraft bombs. And a base of tube launchers in limited quantities, as well as the maintenance of military equipment.

Transfer of technology to Iraq

The head of the Military Industrialization Authority, Muhammad Sahib Al-Darraji, revealed the preparation of a plan for the re-industrialization of the military in Iraq, at a time when he indicated that international companies had discussed the possibility of building a local military industry.

Al-Daraji told the Iraqi News Agency (INA), "The commission, in turn, is transferring technology from the world to Iraq and starting military industrialization inside Iraq."

He added that the authority offered international companies the possibility of cooperation to build a local military industry.

Light and medium weapons

A member of the Security and Defense Committee, Badr Al-Zayadi, indicated that we are heading towards the manufacture of light and medium weapons and their equipment, pointing out that funds will be allocated to the Military Industrialization Authority during the 2022 budget.

He added that the Parliament legislated the Law of the Military Industries Authority, because Iraq possesses competencies, and has previous experience.

In the war industries, but due to the change in the political situation after 2003, the industrial equipment used to manufacture weapons and materiel was eliminated.

Before the fall of the former regime, the Iraqi Military Industrialization Authority included about 33 companies employing about 47,000 workers, but it was dissolved in 2003 by a decision of the civil governor Bremer, with the support of the Iraqi political forces, and its ownership was transferred to the ministries of industry, defense and finance, before it was re-linked in 2020 at the Military Industries Authority.

Al-Ziyadi also pointed out that there is a tendency, after the issuance of the law and its legislation, to re-industrial warfare, because the country spends large sums on purchasing some weapons and materiel that can be manufactured in our country through the return of competencies and engineers, especially in the manufacture of weapons and light and medium munitions.

The military expenditures in Iraq’s budget for the year 2021 totaled 27.617 trillion dinars, or more than 20 billion dollars. It includes operational expenses and arming the Iraqi military institutions represented by the army, counter-terrorism, the Popular Mobilization Authority and the Ministry of Interior in all its forms..

Special budget for military manufacturing

Regarding the possibility of allocating funds to establish factories for those weapons, Al-Zayadi said that there is an economic improvement as a result of the increase in oil prices, and it is possible to allocate a budget for military industrialization, as is the case with the security ministries, and we have the competencies and plans for this purpose.

Involvement of the region in the military industry

In a related context, Kurdish MP Salim Hamza stressed the need for Iraq to have a military industry to defend its security, calling for the Kurdistan region to be involved in the arms industry process, as it is more secure.

Hamza added that the region is part of the Iraqi system, and the “Peshmerga” forces are part of the Iraqi army, and in agreement between the region and the federal government, the region is allowed to obtain some military equipment for self-defense and borders.

Cooperation with Arab countries

In this atmosphere, the director of the Iraq Center for Strategic Studies, Ghazi Faisal, suggested that Iraq would cooperate with some Arab countries that have experience in the manufacture of weapons to revive the weapons factories that were destroyed in 2003.

He said that “the military industry existed before 1991, and to a limited extent after This date, after these factories were subjected to international inspectors, but after 2003, these factories were completely destroyed, as a result of American air strikes,” noting that

most of the weapons that were produced or assembled are of Chinese and Russian origin.

Before April 2003, the Iraqi military factories were producing a limited number of artillery and mortar batteries, their shells, ammunition and some light equipment, as well as surveillance planes, and missiles with a range of about 150 km.

Iraq was prevented under international resolutions related to the 1990 invasion of Kuwait from manufacturing missiles with a range exceeding 150 km.

After 1991, the United Nations forced Iraq, through inspection committees, to destroy most of its arsenal of "Scud" missiles, as well as the destruction of Iraqi armament programs (chemical and biological) and nuclear research, and dozens of factories, under the pretext of dual use.

Faisal added that Iraq was able to establish limited factories after 2003 to manufacture short and medium-range missiles with Russian technology,

pointing out that any country has the right to possess capabilities in terms of manufacturing and armament to avoid import, explaining that

the weapon that will be produced is for the manufacture of light and medium weapons, according to The needs of the Ministry of Defense and the Iraqi security services.

He said that we may benefit from the experiences of Egypt, which has a military industry, as well as Turkey or Saudi Arabia.

He also pointed to the possibility of providing funds for the defense industry because Iraq's annual imports exceed $100 billion, in addition to the high oil prices.

Memorandum of Understanding

The Iraqi Defense Minister, Juma'a Inad, had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Military Industrialization Authority last May, during which the ministry expressed its intention to purchase the Authority's products of military equipment.

At the end of 2019, Iraq opened three lines for the production of armored combat vehicles, mines and drones, in partnership with a private Iraqi company.

Work on these lines stopped in 2020 to resume again with a capacity of 180 combat vehicles.

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