Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] said [press release] Tuesday that the Islamic State (IS) is in possession of a “large and lethal” arsenal due to decades of reckless arms trading and the poorly regulated international flow of weapons into Iraq. AI reports that the IS military campaign has relentlessly targeted civilians with small arms, artillery, huge numbers of improvised explosive devices, and possibly with chemical weapons. After analyzing thousands of verified videos and images, Taking Stock: The arming of Islamic State [AI report] reveals that IS fighters are using arms mainly looted from Iraqi military stocks which were manufactured and designed in more than 25 countries, including Russia, China the USA and EU states. The report calls for stricter controls from supplier states and the Iraqi authorities to avoid the further armament of IS and to prevent continued abuses of human rights.
The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has perpetrated war crimes on a massive scale in Iraq and Syria. Earlier in December, Iraqi government officials ordered Turkey to withdraw hundreds of troops [JURIST report] deployed near Mosul, the largest city currently controlled by IS militants. Iraqi President Fouad Massoum stated that the deployment was a “violation of international norms and law” and may be considered a hostile act. IS recently claimed responsibility for a series of coordinated attacks in Paris [JURIST report] that killed more than 120 individuals. Last month President Obama ordered [JURIST report] an assessment of whether intelligence reports from US Central Command were changed before formal submission to present a more optimistic picture of the American military campaign against the IS. In September members of Iraq’s Yazidi community met with International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and urged the court to open a genocide investigation [JURIST report] into IS actions in Northern Iraq. Also in September France launched its first airstrikes [JURIST report] against an IS training camp in Syria and acknowledged that combating IS is now the main objective in both Iraq and Syria.