Bill Gertz, writing in the Washington Times, said today that China is supplying large quantities of weapons to both Iraq and Afghanistan, through Iran:
New intelligence reveals China is covertly supplying large quantities of small arms and weapons to insurgents in Iraq and the Taliban militia in Afghanistan, through Iran.
Some arms were sent by aircraft directly from Chinese factories to Afghanistan and included large-caliber sniper rifles, millions of rounds of ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades and components for roadside bombs, as well as other small arms.
According to the officials, the Iranians, in buying the arms, asked Chinese state-run suppliers to expedite the transfers and to remove serial numbers to prevent tracing their origin. China, for its part, offered to transport the weapons in order to prevent the weapons from being interdicted.
U.S. Army specialists suspect the weapons were transferred within the past three months.
The Bush administration has been trying to hide or downplay the intelligence reports to protect its pro-business policies toward China, and to continue to claim that China is helping the United States in the war on terrorism. U.S. officials have openly criticized Iran for the arms transfers but so far there has been no mention that China is a main supplier.
There is no question about the fact that Iranian-supplied weaponry is making our task more difficult in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The question is one of degree. I don’t have a good sense of whether this is a major factor or a small one. Likewise, it would take more information to determine whether China’s contribution is material or not.
Still, why put up with even a trickle of Chinese weapons to our enemies? The economic growth on which China’s leaders have staked their country’s future is dependent on China’s relationship with the U.S. Somewhere in our government’s vast bureaucracy there are people who could suggest ways in which we could make it unprofitable for China to supply our enemies.
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