Cop killer bullets were once debated in public, but there hasn’t been much about it lately. Cop killer bullets is merely another name for any bullet that can pierce body armor. However, in wartime, both body armor and the steel plates that protect vehicles is a bit thicker than that in civilian use.

Yet yesterday, when the London Telegraph showed a HS50 Steyr sniper rifle that shot armour piercing bullets and has helped kill scores of US soldiers, the press was….absent.

Googling “Steyr” rifles, I got exactly two news organizations that covered the story: Fox news and KFXC news in Minot, North Dakota which picked up the story from Captain’sQuarter’sBlog.

Well, it’s good to know Fox and Blogs are on the story, because the only thing in the NYTimes is a story quoting one Democrat who pooh pooh the evidence because it was supplied by the Bush administration, and several others who said maybe the Iranian government didn’t know the weapons (including the specialized sniper weapon) was being sent to Iraqi “insurgents” so Bush needed to be careful about claiming such things.

Indeed, MSNBC’s headline would make you believe that because some experts are cautious in showing direct Iranian government involvement, that there is no link at all: So what does the headlines say? “U.S. general: No evidence Iran is arming Iraqis, Pace contradicts claims by other’ U.S. military, administration officials

But if you actually read the story, that’s not what the general said. Here is the actual quote:

“…Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said U.S. forces hunting down militant networks that produced roadside bombs had arrested Iranians and that some of the material used in the devices were made in Iran. That does not translate that the Iranian government per se, for sure, is directly involved in doing this,” Pace told reporters in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. “What it does say is that things made in Iran are being used in Iraq to kill coalition soldiers.”…

So presumably they could have bought them on the internet for a lot less than the 10, 000 UK pounds that is the price quoted by the Telegraph. LINK2

A Steyr HS50 rifle, Austrian supplied rifles, arms trade, Iran equipping Iraq insurgents The problem is that US troops have found at least 100 rifles in recent raids. Even in the US, paper work and serial numbers would enable you to trace the weapons, but European laws are even more strict in these matters. And indeed, they were traced: To a shipment of 800 rifles sent last year to the Iranian police last year, who claimed they needed them to use against drug smugglers, which StrategyPage claims was a legitimate need.

But at the time, both US and UK governments protested to Austria, where the rifles were manufactured and sold, to no avail. And, according to the Telegraph, within 45 days of the shipment, US soldiers were being killed by snipers using these rifles.

But of course, Diane Sawyer was assured by President Ahmadinejad that they had nothing, nothing to do with it.
What’s interesting about the Telegraph story is the details and background information.

One: The UK Bases in Basra have been hit with Iranian-made Katyuska rockets for the first time.

Two: American officials also claimed that surface-to-air missiles have been supplied to Iraqi groups and now threaten coalition air movements. (since the article was published, several helicopters have been shot down). In addition to this, US commanders have found weapons there have been a few attacks with the highly lethal EEP’s and similar weapons LINK, which that penetrate armour plating and then explode LINK . These which are essentially “supre IED’s” require some expertise to use correctly, and unlike ordinary IED’s could only have been manufactured in a highly specialized factory.

Three: UK government backed US claims of Iran supplying weapons to Iraqi groups, pointing out: “We certainly believe that if the Iranian government wanted to, it could address these concerns but we don’t see any signs that it is.”

Four: The Iranian government is making daily threats against the US, and Sunnis in neighboring Arab lands are increasingly worried about the threat. Strategy Page has an analyses HERE  and HERE, which notes how the Iranian “officials” arrested in Iraq last week were military types coordinating radical Shiite militia attacks in Iraq. This raid has only been superficially covered by the US papers, and the implications, like the weapons, has been largely ignored by the US press.

Four: Israel is taking it seriously, and has just had a successful test launch of it’s anti missile middle, the Arrow.

Five, the EU goes on in oblivious to anything but it’s own hopeful policy of restarting talks with Iran.

So what does this all mean?

What everyone knows: that much of the “insurgency” in Iraq is funded from elsewhere, and that Iran is funding Shiite militias, most of whom are merely thugs protecting civilians or murdering Sunnis in revenge, but some of whom, with money, training, weapons, and expertise of Iranian military experts, are going against UK and US troops.

Of course, I could be wrong.

After all, maybe those 100 rifles, 12% of last year’s shipment of these expensive weapons, were merely stolen from the Iranian police and then sold to “insurgents”. Stuff like that happens all the time here in the third world.

Nah, no smoking gun here, folks, just move along.
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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines with her husband. Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket

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