An international arms watchdog has confirmed that a large percentage of the weapons used by ISIS were initially purchased by the US or Saudi Arabia. They were shipped to anti-Assad forces and Iraqi government militias before quickly being recycled into ISIS possession.
A damning report by the EU-funded Conflict Armament Research has found that the majority of weapons that ended-up in the hands of Daesh/ISIS were purchased from Eastern European stockpiles by the United States or Saudi Arabia and transferred to opposition militias in Syria. In many cases there is clear evidence to suggest that the arms were transferred into ISIS possession in less than a month, as US-backed groups amalgamated into ISIS or the weapons were sold on a thriving black market.
A significant proportion of the weapons examined were unauthorised for retransfer, meaning that they had End User Clauses for US and Saudi military or police use that were quickly violated, not even being shipped to their country of authorised usage in many cases.
One item inspected by CAR in May 2015 was a Bulgarian PG-7T 40 mm rocket. The Government of Bulgaria confirmed that it exported the item to the US Department of the Army through the US company Kiesler Police Supply. The application for the export licence was accompanied by the original EUC issued by the US Department of the Army (with a non-re-export clause) as well as a delivery verification certificate. The rocket ultimately ended up with IS forces near Al Hasakah, before YPG forces liberated the town and sent the rocket to CAR for examination.
Cases like this go on and on with various rocket launchers, explosives and assault rifles of predominantly Bulgarian and Romanian manufacture, but with one US importer coming up every time: Kiesler Police Supply.
According to the report:
Kiesler Police Supply was incorporated in the US state of Indiana in 1975 as Kiesler Hardware & Supply. The company changed its name to Kiesler Police Supply in 1980 in order to begin dealing primarily in firearms and ammunition. On its website, Kiesler Police Supply only advertises itself as providing equipment to US national law enforcement agencies. However, the company has been contracted in the past to supply weapons to Iraq. In 2004, Kiesler Police Supply was awarded a multi-million dollar contract to provide weapons such as AK-pattern assault rifles and ammunition to Iraqi security forces.36 On 4 October 2016, CAR called Kiesler Police Supply to request further information regarding the multiple weapon transfers described in this report. The company declined to comment. On 20 October 2016, CAR emailed and faxed an information request for all the items traced to Kiesler Police Supply. The company has yet to respond to CAR’s request for information.