Damascus, Syria (CNN) -- North Korea requested permission from Iraq this week to fly a plane through its airspace to Syria, an adviser to
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told CNN on Friday.
Source - CNN
Al-Maliki rejected the request out of suspicion the plane would be carrying weapons, said adviser Ali al-Mousawi.
The prime minister talked by phone with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Friday afternoon, officials said.
Biden asked Iraq for help in stopping weapons from reaching Syria, according to a statement released by his office, and stressed to the Iraqi prime
minister "the need to prevent any state from taking advantage of Iraq's territory or airspace to send weapons to Syria."
This report came days after the exclusive report by Reuters, where it was stated that Iran was using civilian airliners from IranAir and Yas Air.
Western report - Iran ships arms, personnel to Syria
| ATS thread
If the report mentioned any western country or any country allied with Syria (Assad's regime), this would be yet another water drop in the middle of
the ocean. However, I did think it is rather strange for North Korea to be supplying weapons to Syria.
My opinion was based on the belief that most - if not all - military equipment that North Korea has is russian made, or developed. If it's not
russian, then I assumed it would be chinese (which is more of the same, since the chinese have a very large weapons deal with Russia).
I decided to do some research on the North Korea's ability to produce and export weapons.
It wasn't a surprise to notice that nearly all sources mentioned nuclear weapons - development, production, selling - but unless Syria is trying to
buy a nuclear weapon, or nuclear technology, I was wondering what type of weapons and equipment North Korea could produce that they would be able to
sell to Syria.
Once I was able to find what were the key words with which I should center my research, information started to flow:
Bloomberg - North Korea
Exports $100 Million of Arms Each Year in Breach of Sanctions
North Korea exports $100 million in weapons and missiles each year in violation of United Nations sanctions, according to a UN expert panel’s
report that said Iran and Syria may be among countries that received missiles.
(Chosun Ilbo) - How N.Korea Goes About Exporting Arms
The 75-page report, released today, also cited evidence compiled by the International Atomic Energy Agency, governments and news reports that North
Korea is involved in “nuclear and ballistic missile related activities in certain other countries including Iran, Syria and Myanmar.”
Curbing North Korea's illicit arms trade is difficult since the renegade country launders containers carrying weapons three or four times, a
defector who was in charge of illicit arms deals told the Chosun Ilbo on Monday.
Five departments of the North Korean government are involved in arms exports
The military arms production wing procures materials for the Yongbyon nuclear plant and North Korea's nuclear weapons program. "The General Bureau of
Atomic Energy only produces yellow cake [the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment], while the arms production wing is in charge of the
Yongbyon facility," the defector said. The Second Academy of Natural Sciences exports missiles and also provides after-sales service for exported
products by upgrading performance and exchanging components.
"The main client is the research center of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, while experiments are conducted in unison," he said. Iran successfully
test-fired a rocket on Feb. 3 which is believed to have been powered by the same engine as North Korean Rod ong missiles.
These "laundered" containers are laundered again in Hong Kong, Singapore or other ports. "The containers are mixed with other cargo in those transit
points. They are searched, but not thoroughly," the defector added. "Even if customs or other officials roll their sleeves up and search for weapons,
how can they possibly find the arms among the mountains of other containers headed to other countries?"
North Korea's main weapons production base is Kanggye General Tractor Plant No. 26. Before the Korean War, the plant was based in Pyongyang and
made Soviet-designed PPSh 41 submachine guns but has since been relocated.
Small arms ammunition are hot export items and the Second Economic Committee even built a factory in Ethiopia," the defector said. The rugged AK-47s,
which can operate flawlessly even in the sand-filled battlefields of the Middle East, are extremely popular, he said.
Anti-tank missiles are more complicated to manufacture, so the blueprints are in Russia, while North Korean factories are merely subcontractors.
North Korean arms are believed to be exported to Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines. "North Korean weapons with engines [such as
tanks] are extremely poor quality, but those carrying warheads are not bad," the defector said.
North Korea may have a crippled - to the point of non-existence - economy, and might have a starving country, but it appears that weapon production is
a must-do for them. It is provably one of their main income sources, and they have made a clear point in building cheap, but reliable, equipment.
They don't make any weapons on their own - other than the nuclear warheads, since the missiles keep failing
- but they do have some relative
success selling russian and chinese weapons. The russians don't trust them with their best technology, since their protocols with Russia for the
production of missiles is only as an outsourcing entity. The main production of that type of weapons is still based in Russia, although North Korea
does receive special discounts
when it buys those same missiles and weapons.
After analyzing these documents - and similar articles - I've come to the conclusion that North Korea has placed itself in a comfortable position to
make a profit from selling arms. They are under close scrutiny because of the sanctions imposed by the UN, so they are an optimal arms dealer if the
buyer wishes to remain anonymous. Both countries, while doing the transaction, can hide it from international eyes, and North Korea will do a
tremendous effort to keep it in secret, otherwise, they will lose their income.
However, there is another important part to this reality.
I decided to look at the World map and objectively look at which arms dealers would be more reasonable to contact, instead of North Korea
(with them being in Asia and all that)
After looking at some routes, I noticed that China might play a big center role in this.
80%~ of the territory that North Korea needs to go through in order to sell those weapons to Syria belongs to China
[continues next post]
edit on 23-9-2012 by GarrusVasNormandy because: (no reason given)