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Investors Iraq News
01-14-2018, 07:28 AM
By Mustafa Saadoun for Al Monitor (http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/08/pmu-iraq-army-national-guard.html). Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.*
Iraq is upping its efforts to restrict the public’s access to weapons, which will be a daunting task given the prevalence of weapons on the market and their wide exchange on social media.
When the country’s top Shiite cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, demanded Dec. 15 that the government escalate operations (http://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1114716/sistani-urges-bringing-arms-under-state-control) to put all weapons under its control, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced a plan (https://www.alhurra.com/a/sistani-says-war-against-terror-is-far-from-over/408440.html) to do just that. At times in the past (https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/security/01/10/illegal-arms-sales-boom-in-iraq.html), sales were blatant and widespread; after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, weapons were sold on the streets in most Iraqi cities. That’s no longer the case — but now dealers have the internet.
Facebook and other social media platforms have become hubs for the weapons trade (https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/10/iraq-personal-weapons-trade-rise-war-islamic-state.html). Although arms dealing is illegal in Iraq, dealers started using social media when the Islamic State (https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/12/isis-weapons-us-russia.html) invaded the country.
When Mohamed Akram wanted to buy a weapon, he searched Facebook. After about an hour, he was able to purchase a Kalashnikov rifle from a group that otherwise focuses on car sales (https://www.facebook.com/groups/462017797249470/about/). Although the name of the group has nothing to do with weapons, it actually promotes their sale along with shoes, personal-care items and miscellanea including hair tonic.
“Many people recommended that I search on Facebook (http://almadapaper.net/ar/news/539738/%D8%AD%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%AB-%D9%88%D8%AD%D8%AF%D9%8A%D8%AB-%D8%AF%D9%83%D8%A7%D9%83%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%B9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%AD-%D9%88%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D8%B3) and look for available weapons,” Akram, who lives in the al-Hurriya neighborhood north of Baghdad, told Al-Monitor. “I didn’t find any other way to buy weapons, [but] many people buy from these groups.”
Anyone can ask to join such groups, and once the group administrator approves a request, a new member can buy and sell weapons.


Source: Iraq-BusinessNews.com. (http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2018/01/14/iraq-cracks-down-on-online-gun-sales/)

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