WANTED! 3 million lost weapons

WANTED! 3 million lost weapons

“Three million weapons, and billions of bullets, hand grenades, landmines and anti-tank artillery are lost! Those who know the whereabouts of these and some very dangerous chemical weapons should inform the authorities immediately!”

Do not be surprised if you see a full page ad like this in a Middle Eastern newspaper these days.
During a decade of war and conflict, military warehouses of Iraq and Syria have been plundered.
According to the U.S. Senate’s investigation team reports, more than 100,000 of the weaponry sent to Iraq is currently unaccounted for. On top of that, if you add the military stocks of the past regimes that have been looted by various groups, the figure in the introduction may even sound innocent.

This is no exaggeration considering the strength of Hezbullah’s arms inventory and the scale gained in recent years. The Lebanon-based group now has more than 40,000 missiles of various range and caliber. To name a few, there are the Katyushas, the Raad, the Zelzal, the Khaiber and the Feth-110 that can carry warheads. With the newly imported Scud missiles from Syria, Hezbullah has recently reached a firing range of 600 km. Sadly, this shopping list does not even include light weapons and over the shoulder missiles. 

Turkey’s land borders are now surrounded by countries that are full of these lost weapons. While the fighting is going on, these countries have also become a training ground for various groups. On our southern border around 100,000 people are residing, of whom we have no idea where they came from and why they are there. This figure also includes people who came to fight for the Syrian regime. For those who wonder why we should care about these numbers, I have a recent story to tell. After the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets, the USA via its intelligence agency, distributed Stinger missiles to the Afghanis. There were caveats of course. After using the missiles, the resistance forces were to bring the cachets to the Americans. When the war ended, the U.S .ended up paying millions of dollars to get the unused missiles and the artillery and even then there were so many missing.

Besides these “ghost weapons,” NATO is working very hard to keep the weapons under control in its territory. There are very tight agreements on the routine checks with serial numbers and accounting of the arsenal in each member country. The aim is to prevent any of these arms from getting into the wrong hands.

Unfortunately, thousands of these weapons that NATO is protecting very heavily are currently missing or lost. Nobody knows, where and when they can be used and against whom. Around Turkey’s borders there are very special people who are trained to use these weapons. To save tomorrow we have to be extra alert and Turkey’s security forces should take necessary precautions. One day we may find an empty cache as criminal evidence or a bomb before it explodes. Better to be safe today than sorry tomorrow.