|In 1993, a journalist reporting from a Mojahedin base in Iraq saw ‘about’ 35 aging tanks, armored personnel carriers, Chinese automatic rifles, and Russian multiple rocket launchers”.|
By Moscow and By Baghdad
Throughout its presence in Iraq, the PMOI continually denied receiving arms from Saddam Hussein. However, once again, facts are there to show that only the now fallen Raiis could have given his “friends” the materiel and logistical support for their struggle.
The American Government is categorical:
“Many of the weapons they received were purchased in the Soviet Union. In 1993, a journalist reporting from a Mojahedin base in Iraq saw ‘about’ 35 aging tanks, armored personnel carriers, Chinese automatic rifles, and Russian multiple rocket launchers”.
In May 1988, the New York Times described the Mojahedin forces as “basically a light infantry unit, with Soviet armoured personnel carriers and artillery”. The Mojahedin Army follows Soviet-style tactics. This is a protocol that puts it on the same footing as the Iraqi Army.
During the Summer of 1988, while the attack inside Iran was going on, the Iraqis gave the Mojahedin major war booty, including small caliber weapons, motorized artillery, tanks and other arms taken from the Iranian forces.
Another reporter who visited the Mojahedin in August 1994 noted that “the arms deployed were... mainly of Russian origin”. He indicated that it was possible that they came from the Iraqi stockpile. That was at the time that the National Liberation Army of Iran claimed that its materiel had all been captured in Iran. However, their limited military means would not have been adequate to such a large seizure.
On this subject, a documentary on the France 2 television network is very clear on the origins of the war materiel used by the Mojahedin. In Glowing Coals, a film by Michel Honorin, the camera fully recorded the PMOI bases on the Iranian border. In camouflage uniform, the fighters were training for the final, general offensive, one that never came. They were rolling under barbed wire mesh. “The spikes,” added the narrator, “are a bit masochistic... Men and women, with weapons slung on their backs, parade by, drive tanks and fire cannon...”
The helmets worn are standard Iraqi Army issue. The rest of the materiel shown on the screen is Soviet-made. While the United States provided the Shah with his arms, Moscow sold much of its military production to its ally, Saddam Hussein. The sausage like helmets of the tank crews, the AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifles, Dashaka machine guns, RPG-7 rocket launchers, the pickup trucks mounted with double-barreled antiaircraft cannon, the BTR troop carriers, Katyusha truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers, the T-72 assault tanks, the MI combat helicopters all came from the USSR.
But they certainly came over the Iraqi border. It is hard to imagine that Saddam Hussein would tolerate a parallel arms market in his own country. These are the same kinds of weapons found all over Afghanistan where the resistance used them after taking them from their enemy: the Soviets.