SIPRI Arms Transfers Database, Iraq 1973–1990

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The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI, Arms Transfers Database contains information on all international transfers of major weapons (including sales, gifts and production under licence) to states, international organizations and armed non-state groups since 1950. It is the only publicly available resource providing consistent data on arms transfers for this length of time. The database can be used to track transfers of major weapons and to answer such questions as:

  • Who are the main suppliers and recipients of major weapons?
  • How have relations between different suppliers and recipients changed over time?
  • Where do countries in conflict get their weapons?
  • How do states implement their export control regulations?
  • Where are potentially destabilizing build-ups of weapons occurring today?
  • What major weapons have been exported or imported?

The database is available online.


Imports of conventional arms by Iraq 1973–1990, by source[edit]

Values are shown in millions of US dollars at constant (1990) estimated values. "Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact" includes Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania. The majority of these transfers came from the Soviet Union, followed by Czechoslovakia.

Year Soviet Union
and
Warsaw Pact
France China (PRC) United
States
Egypt Others Total
1973 1,321 5 0 0 0 0 1,326
1974 1,471 5 0 0 0 0 1,476
1975 1,087 35 0 0 0 0 1,122
1976 1,161 119 0 0 0 0 1,280
1977 1,062 106 0 0 0 0 1,168
1978 1,827 26 0 0 0 20 1,873
1979 1,108 78 0 0 0 17 1,203
1973–79 9,037 374 0 0 0 37 9,448
1973–79 95.7%   4.0%      0%      0%      0%   0.4% 100%
1980 1,665 241 0 0 12 114 2,032
1981 1,780 731 0 0 46 182 2,739
1982 2,023 673 217 0 71 227 3,211
1980–82 5,468 1,645 217 0 129 523 7,982
1980–82 68.5% 20.6%   2.7%      0%   1.6%   6.6% 100%
1983 1,898 779 745 21 58 773 4,274
1984 2,857 883 1,065 6 0 116 4,927
1985 2,601 700 1,036 9 32 116 4,494
1986 2,663 251 918 9 70 86 3,997
1987 2,719 214 887 30 114 157 4,121
1988 1,202 355 301 125 118 196 2,297
1983–88 13,940 3,182 4,952 200 392 1,444 24,110
1983–88 57.8% 13.2% 20.5%   0.8%   1.6%   6.0% 100%
1989 1,319 113 23 0 47 67 1,569
1990 537 281 0 0 0 33 851
Total $ 30,301 5,595 5,192 200 568 2,104 43,960
Total % 68.9% 12.7% 11.8%   0.5%   1.3%   4.8% 100%

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) makes the following comment of the methodology of this table:

The SIPRI data on arms transfers refer to actual deliveries of major conventional weapons. To permit comparison between the data on such deliveries of different weapons and identification of general trends, SIPRI uses a trend-indicator value. The SIPRI values are therefore only an indicator of the volume of international arms transfers and not of the actual financial values of such transfers.

SIPRI's data are founded entirely on open sources:

The type of open information used by SIPRI cannot provide a comprehensive picture of world arms transfers. Published reports often provide only partial information, and substantial disagreement among reports is common. Order and delivery dates, exact numbers, types of weapon and the identity of suppliers or recipients may not always be clear.[1]

Arms suppliers to Iraq[edit]

The table shows the majority of conventional arms imported by Iraq during the 1970s, when the regime was building up the armies which were to attack Iran in 1980, were supplied by the Soviet Union and its satellites, principally Czechoslovakia. The only substantial Western arms supplier to Iraq was France, which continued to be a major supplier until 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait and all legal arms transfers to Iraq ended.

The United States did not supply any arms to Iraq until 1982, when Iran's growing military success alarmed American policymakers. It then did so every year until 1988. These sales amounted to less than 1% of the total arms sold to Iraq in the relevant period. Although most other countries never hesitated to sell military hardware directly to Saddam Hussein's regime, the U.S., equally keen to protect its interests in the region, opted for and developed an indirect approach. The CIA began covertly directing non-U.S. origin hardware to Hussein's armed forces, "to ensure that Iraq had sufficient military weapons, ammunition and vehicles to avoid losing the Iran-Iraq war."[2] The full extent of these transfers is not yet known, and details do not appear in the SIPRI Arms Transfers Database, which relies entirely on open sources.[1]

In 1996, the Scott Report in the United Kingdom investigated arms sales to Iraq in the 1980s by Matrix Churchill in what became known as the Arms-to-Iraq scandal.

Table of major conventional arms sales to Iraq by country[edit]

Country Weapon designation Weapon description Year(s) delivered Quantity delivered
Austria GHN-45 155mm Towed Gun 1983 200
Brazil EMB-312 Tucano Trainer aircraft 1985-1988 80
Brazil Astros II MLRS Multiple rocket launcher 1984-1988 67
Brazil EE-11 Urutu APC 1983-1984 350
Brazil EE-3 Jararaca Recon vehicle 1984-1985 280
Brazil EE-9 Cascavel Armoured car 1980-1989 1026
Brazil Astros AV-UCF Fire control radar 1984-1988 13
Canada PT-6 Turboprop 1980-1990 152
China Xian H-6 Bomber aircraft 1988 4
China F-6 Fighter aircraft 1982-1983 40
China F-7A Fighter aircraft 1983-1987 80
China Type-63 107mm Multiple rocket launcher 1984-1988 100
China Type-83 152mm Towed gun 1988-1989 50
China W-653/Type-653 ARV 1986-1987 25
China WZ-120/Type-59 Tank 1982-1987 1000
China WZ-121/Type 69 Tank 1983-1987 1500
China YW-531/Type-63 APC 1982-1988 650
China CEIEC-408C Air surv radar 1986-1988 5
China HN-5A Portable SAM 1986-1987 1000
China HY-2/SY1A/CSS-N-2 Anti-ship missile 1987-1988 200
Czechoslovakia L-39Z Albatross Trainer/combat aircraft 1976-1985 59
Czechoslovakia BMP-1 Infantry fighting vehicle 1981-1987 750
Czechoslovakia BMP-2 Infantry fighting vehicle 1987-1989 250
Czechoslovakia OT-64C APC 1981 200
Czechoslovakia T-55 Tank 1982-1985 400
Denmark Al Zahraa Landing ship 1983 3
East Germany T-55 Tank 1981 50
Egypt D-30 122mm Towed gun 1985-1989 210
Egypt M-46 130mm Towed gun 1981-1983 96
Egypt RL-21 122mm Multiple rocket launcher 1987-1989 300
Egypt T-55 Tank 1981-1983 300
Egypt Walid APC 1980 100
France Mirage F-1C Fighter aircraft 1982-1990 72
France Mirage F-1E FGA aircraft 1980-1982 36
France SA-312H Super Frelon Helicopter 1981 6
France SA-330 Puma Helicopter 1980-1981 20
France SA-342K/L Gazelle Light helicopter 1980-1988 38
France Super Etendard FGA aircraft 1983 5
France AMX-GCT/AU-F1 Self-propelled gun 1983-1985 85
France AMX-10P Infantry fighting vehicle 1981-1982 100
France AMX-30D ARV 1981 5
France ERC-90 Armoured car 1980-1984 200
France M-3 VTT APC 1983-1984 115
France VCR-TH Tank destroyer 1979-1981 100
France Rasit Ground surv radar 1985 2
France Roland Mobile SAM system 1982-1985 113
France TRS-2100 Tiger Air surv radar 1988 1
France TRS-2105/6 Tiger-G Air surv radar 1986-1989 5
France TRS-2230/15 Tiger Air surv radar 1984-1985 6
France Volex Air surv radar 1981-1983 5
France AM-39 Exocet Anti-ship missile 1979-1988 352
France ARMAT Anti-radar missile 1986-1990 450
France AS-30L ASM 1986-1990 240
France HOT Anti-tank missile 1981-1982 1000
France R-550 Magic-1 SRAAM 1981-1985 534
France Roland-2 SAM 1981-1990 2260
France Super 530F BVRAAM 1981-1985 300
West Germany BK-117 Helicopter 1984-1989 22
West Germany Bo-105C Light Helicopter 1979-1982 20
West Germany Bo-105L Light Helicopter 1988 6
Hungary PSZH-D-994 APC 1981 300
Italy A-109 Hirundo Light Helicopter 1982 2
Italy S-61 Helicopter 1982 6
Italy Stromboli class Support ship 1981 1
Jordan S-76 Spirit Helicopter 1985 2
Poland Mi-2/Hoplite Helicopter 1984-1985 15
Poland MT-LB APC 1983-1990 750
Poland T-55 Tank 1981-1982 400
Poland T-72M1 Tank 1982-1990 500
Romania T-55 Tank 1982-1984 150
Yugoslavia M-87 Orkan 262mm Multiple rocket launcher 1988 2
South Africa G-5 155mm Towed gun 1985-1988 200
Switzerland PC-7 Turbo trainer Trainer aircraft 1980-1983 52
Switzerland PC-9 Trainer aircraft 1987-1990 20
Switzerland Roland APC/IFV 1981 100
United Kingdom Chieftain/ARV ARV 1982 29
United Kingdom Cymbeline Arty locating radar 1986-1988 10
United States MD-500MD Defender Light Helicopter 1983 30
United States Hughes-300/TH-55 Light Helicopter 1983 30
United States MD-530F Light Helicopter 1986 26
United States Bell 214ST Helicopter 1988 31
Soviet Union Il-76M/Candid-B Strategic airlifter 1978-1984 33
Soviet Union Mi-24D/Mi-25/Hind-D Attack helicopter 1978-1984 12
Soviet Union Mi-8/Mi-17/Hip-H Transport helicopter 1986-1987 37
Soviet Union Mi-8TV/Hip-F Transport helicopter 1984 30
Soviet Union Mig-21bis/Fishbed-N Fighter aircraft 1983-1984 61
Soviet Union Mig-23BN/Flogger-H FGA aircraft 1984-1985 50
Soviet Union Mig-25P/Foxbat-A Interceptor aircraft 1980-1985 55
Soviet Union Mig-25RB/Foxbat-B Recon aircraft 1982 8
Soviet Union Mig-29/Fulcrum-A Fighter aircraft 1986-1989 41
Soviet Union Su-22/Fitter-H/J/K FGA aircraft 1986-1987 61
Soviet Union Su-25/Frogfoot-A Ground attack aircraft 1986-1987 84
Soviet Union 2A36 152mm Towed gun 1986-1988 180
Soviet Union 2S1 122mm Self-Propelled Howitzer 1980-1989 150
Soviet Union 2S3 152mm Self-propelled gun 1980-1989 150
Soviet Union 2S4 240mm Self-propelled mortar 1983 10
Soviet Union 9P117/SS-1 Scud TEL SSM launcher 1983-1984 10
Soviet Union BM-21 Grad 122mm Multiple rocket launcher 1983-1988 560
Soviet Union D-30 122mm Towed gun 1982-1988 576
Soviet Union M-240 240mm Mortar 1981 25
Soviet Union M-46 130mm Towed Gun 1982-1987 576
Soviet Union 9K35 Strela-10/SA-13 AAV(M) 1985 30
Soviet Union BMD-1 IFV 1981 10
Soviet Union PT-76 Light tank 1984 200
Soviet Union SA-9/9P31 AAV(M) 1982-1985 160
Soviet Union Long Track Air surv radar 1980-1984 10
Soviet Union SA-8b/9K33M Osa AK Mobile SAM system 1982-1985 50
Soviet Union Thin Skin Air surv radar 1980-1984 5
Soviet Union 9M111/AT-4 Spigot Anti-tank missile 1986-1989 3000
Soviet Union 9M37/SA-13 Gopher SAM 1985-1986 960
Soviet Union KSR-5/AS-6 Kingfish Anti-ship missile 1984 36
Soviet Union Kh-28/AS-9 Kyle Anti-radar missile 1983-1988 250
Soviet Union R-13S/AA2S Atoll SRAAM 1984-1987 1080
Soviet Union R-17/SS-1c Scud-B SSM 1982-1988 840
Soviet Union R-27/AA-10 Alamo BVRAAM 1986-1989 246
Soviet Union R-40R/AA-6 Acrid BVRAAM 1980-1985 660
Soviet Union R-60/AA-8 Aphid SRAAM 1986-1989 582
Soviet Union SA-8b Gecko/9M33M SAM 1982-1985 1290
Soviet Union SA-9 Gaskin/9M31 SAM 1982-1985 1920
Soviet Union Strela-3/SA-14 Gremlin Portable SAM 1987-1988 500

Political implications[edit]

The Soviet Union and her satellites were the main suppliers of arms to Iraq following the 1972 signing of the Soviet-Iraqi Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation. France was another important supplier of weapons to Iraq during the 1970s. The United States, the world's leading arms exporter, did not have normal relations with Iraq from 1967 (due to the Six-Day War) until 1984.

Soviet-Iraqi relations suffered strains in the late 1970s. When Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, the Soviet Union cut off weapons sales to Iraq and did not resume them until 1982. During the war, the People's Republic of China became a major new source of weapons for Iraq, with increasing sales from France, the U.K. and Egypt.

Sources and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Sources used in compiling the database". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. 
  2. ^ Statement by former NSC official Howard Teicher to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida. Plain text version

See also[edit]

External links[edit]