The Mysterious Half Million Chinese Ak-47s


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rc135
April 17, 2008, 02:33 PM
April 15, 2008 (www.StrategyPage.com ): Two years ago, Italian police had a wiretap on a black market arms ‎dealer, when a call came in from a Libyan army officer, looking to buy 500,000 AK-47s, and 10 million rounds ‎of ammo for them. The Italian gangsters were not used to moving that many weapons, but were game to act as ‎middlemen for such a deal. The gangsters got in touch with Norinco, the Chinese arms manufacturer, and ‎explained the situation. The Chinese were up for it, as long as they got the proper documents signed by Libyan ‎government officials (attesting to the fact that the Libyan government was, indeed, the buyer of these weapons.) ‎The Chinese would be discreet, but they wanted to cover their collective asses.‎

The paperwork was duly supplied, and six sample weapons were sent to Libya for tests. Everything was going ‎well until the Italian police arrested the gunrunners two months ago, as part of another case. The Italians always ‎planned to arrest the gangsters before the deal went through, but were willing to just continue collecting data, to ‎try to find out what Libya wanted with so many weapons. That's still a mystery, because the gangsters never ‎asked, and the Libyans never said anything about who would get the weapons. What was clear was that the ‎Libyans wanted the deal to be done secretly, without any direct Libyan government connection. The gangsters ‎also handled money laundering and the shipment of illegal cargoes (usually drugs), so all those details would be ‎covered.‎

It was clear that the Libyans didn't want the guns for their armed forces (76,000 active duty and 40,000 ‎reservists). These troops are equipped with much more modern arms. After all, the AK-47 is a 60-year-old ‎design, a weapon that even the Russians replaced before the Cold War ended.‎

Technically, there is also a Libyan "People's Militia" that is supposed to have about half a million men in it. But ‎this organization, founded in the 1980s, never really got off the ground. The military and police wanted no part ‎of handing out weapons to so many civilians, most of them with no weapons handling experience. So who were ‎the AK-47s for? Apparently for foreign groups. For the last three decades, Libya has been shipping weapons for ‎rebel groups throughout Africa, as part of its attempt to be both "revolutionary," and to acquire more influence. ‎Libya usually refuses to admit publicly that is was shipping so many rifles, pistols and RPGs to rebel groups. ‎But it was an open secret. Those who received the weapons knew where they came from, and were not quiet ‎about it. But half a million AK-47s? One of the last items the Italian wiretaps picked up were arrangements for ‎some skimming. The Chinese were selling the AK-47s (which they called the T-56) for about $80 each. But the ‎Libyans wanted the final price to be $125 a gun, to cover the costs of payoffs, commissions and bribes.‎


‎“I've gone into hundreds of fortune-telling parlors, and have been told thousands of things, but nobody ‎has ever told me I was a policewoman getting ready to arrest them.” -- NYC Detective

‎“She’ll make a great ex-wife some day.”‎

‎“The outcome of this war has already been decided by the quartermaster.”‎

‎“If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.”‎

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toopercentmlk
April 17, 2008, 02:38 PM
That's interesting, but sounds like a while lot of the same ole going on. I'd pick one up for $125 :)

BamaXD
April 17, 2008, 03:23 PM
Maybe its that I'm fairly new to strategy page and this forum <although I've lurked for awhile before joining> but where are the sources? All the articles have no source. Can someone explain it to me? Not trying to be hostile, but it seems like a guy just reading Tom Clancy novels and getting creative. Most likely, I'm wrong though...

OFT
April 17, 2008, 03:31 PM
That's only twenty rounds per AK. I certainly hope that they bought some bayonets also.

CWL
April 17, 2008, 03:45 PM
My math puts it at 20 rounds per gun as well. Did they want any magazines with that order?

I tend not to believe stories like these since there is no source to the story. Even if it were true, most likely the 500K amount was just a number thrown out for negotiation purposes while the actual number purchased may only be in the thousands. Still seems strange to ask Norinco to buy these guns since E. Europe is still awash in unused AKMs since the fall of the soviet States.

Acheron
April 17, 2008, 03:48 PM
I generally don't trust anything off of Strategy Page. The whole thing sounds like a load of BS, especially considering what OFT and CWL said is correct. 20 rounds per gun is not going to last very long.


With no sources this article is next to worthless.

serrano
April 17, 2008, 03:55 PM
The Libyans!

http://www.imfdb.org/images/3/31/Back-to-the-Future-AK-47.jpg

Am I reading this right? Governments buy guns from Arms Manufacturers through backdoor channels and funnel them to pet causes and revolutions for fun and profit? I Am Jack's Complete Lack of Surprise.

thorn726
April 17, 2008, 04:55 PM
not sure what the point of this is, and the ammo to rifles ratio is weird.

also you did not post a frame out of "back to the future??" too funny

another okie
April 17, 2008, 06:27 PM
Maybe Venezuela is buying them.

bogie
April 17, 2008, 06:31 PM
Imagine what 5,000 (much less 500,000) commited jihadists could do with a few shipments of "machine tools" to major US cities.

Durruti
April 17, 2008, 06:52 PM
Well, if the deal's fallen through, sounds like we should put together a THR group buy. At $125, I'd be in for five or ten. Think we could get up to half a million? :neener:

brigadier
April 17, 2008, 07:40 PM
After all, the AK-47 is a 60-year-old ‎design, a weapon that even the Russians replaced before the Cold War ended.

Are we talking the 47 or the Ak in general. The 47 was replaced in the 1950s. However, AK-74s are standard in the Russian Army to this day though they have started phasing the AK out of the main army about 2 years ago. I also have a friend from that part of the world who, while at a gun store with me, pointed to an airsoft "AKM-74U and said that the police back home carry those." (reffering to the firearm it resembles.
If you need solid evidence, you can see some footage of the Russian civil war in Chechnya AFTER the USSR collapsed:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnlMordko7s

The Chinese were selling the AK-47s (which they called the T-56) for about $80 each.

I thought that was the name for their SKS.

mekender
April 17, 2008, 08:00 PM
well that doesnt sit right with me... there are so many millions of AK style variants sitting in caches all over the middle east that it would be silly for someone to order new ones... also, if the Libyans wanted to get them, it would be fairly easy for them to use the same channels they used to get nuclear material, IED components and the like...

mbt2001
April 17, 2008, 09:23 PM
I ordered them...

Seriously though since when is it illegal to order 500,000 AK's and ammo through a broker? So they wanted it quite, so what....

I mean, what law did they break? It isn't illegal to "broker" weapons. It isn't illegal for the Chinese to ship them and IT WASN'T MENTIONED whether anyone in Libya was breaking the law...

roscoe
April 17, 2008, 09:27 PM
10 million rounds for a half million AKs? That is not a lot of rounds - 20 per rifle, unless my math is off. Not even enough to fill a magazine each.

brigadier
April 17, 2008, 10:14 PM
That actually doesn't sound out of whack to me. First off, how many rounds of ammo do they already have? secondly, limiting the amount of ammo you give your troops is one of many ways to keep your army under your control and still be effective. If they are thinking about arming their half a million man militia, it would make sense to leave each one with a mag full of 20 rounds or so in order to be able to quickly respond and be given more ammo if need be. Again, I am sure the Libyans are already sitting on plenty of ammo.
In light of the possibility of quietly arming their half a million man militia, 20 rounds of ammo per gun makes sense.
Nothing personal against US troops, but after seeing what happened in Iraq, and how much more potent insurgents were then the Iraqi professional military, I can perfectly understand the logic of arming a half a million people and not telling anyone else about it. The 2nd amendment follows the same principal when it comes to foreign invasion.

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