For Sale, Cheap: Saddam's Army Scraps

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 10, 2004 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

For Sale, Cheap: Saddam's Army Scraps

Byline: Nicholas Birch, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

IRBIL, Iraq - Interested in buying a piece of Saddam Hussein's old army at a closeout price? Visit Kamal Jalal's scrap yard just south of the Kurdish city of Irbil.

It might not look like much from the road - a few piles of twisted metal in an ugly wasteland made white by nearby gypsum mines.

But from close up, you can easily distinguish the hulks of a dozen old Iraqi tanks and armored cars. A Russian-made MiG fighter lies on its side amid the chaos, its cockpit gone but control panel intact.

The MiG looks forlorn without its wings, which stand 60 feet away, propped grotesquely against a couple of empty oil drums.

"We started to break this thing up four months ago, but stopped when the ejector seat shot out and killed one of the workers," Mr. Jalal says. "We've been a bit nervous about touching it ever since."

He and his colleagues will get back to it, though.

"That plane set me back $12,000," Mr. Jalal says. "You don't really think I'm just going to let it lie there and rot."

The tanks and armored cars, made of steel rather than the MiG's lightweight aluminum, come much cheaper.

"We buy the tanks from old Iraqi military bases down in Kirkuk and Mosul for $800," says Mr. Jalal's partner, Nizar Abullah, 19. "Each one makes us $100 profit."

Since the end of the war last year, Iraqi Kurds have been snapping up newly available foreign goods. Items as varied as refrigerators and pasteurized cream flood across the eastern border from Iran, while Turkey, to the north, provides goods, including plastic window frames and bomb-resistant concrete blocks.

The Iraqis have to little to offer in return apart from the remnants of Saddam's armies. And they offer these in a seemingly unending flow into Turkey and Iran.

A five-hour truck drive east of Mr. Jalal's scrap yard, officials at the Bashmakh border crossing with Iran say an average of 30 trucks loaded with scrap have crossed the border daily for more than a year.

"At that rate, we should have enough military junk to last us 20 years," jokes customs officer Riyadgar Abdulrahman. "All Saddam spent his money on was tanks and bombs.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

For Sale, Cheap: Saddam's Army Scraps


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?