Iraq

Under ISIL Threat, Erbil Residents Snap Up Black Market Guns

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Gun Bazaar
CCTV

What do you do when psychotic fanatics with a taste for beheading people who piss them off close in on your home and threaten the lives of yourself, your loved ones, and your friends? If you're an unfortunate resident of Iraq, you stock up on guns and ammunition—either to arm yourself to join the local defense forces or just to take care of home and hearth. CCTV America (run by state-owned China Central Television) has an interesting report on a firearms bazaar outside the city of Erbil. Customers include Kurdistan's organized Peshmerga as well as private citizens.

The offerings range from World War 2 surplus to lots and lots of AK variants to pistols of all description. There's plenty of ammunition, too, and business is apparently brisk as the threat of ISIL hovers not too far away. (Lufthansa resumed flights to the city a few days ago, but U.S. forces were blasting ISIL positions near there not long ago.)

Interestingly, special restrictions apparently apply to American sourced weapons—so shoppers have to buy those in the parking lot.

Iraq's firearms black market is nothing new. It's a long-established sector of the economy where prices (as always) vary with demand. And demand varies with the immediacy of the threats faced by people who might need to defend themselves.