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As with most such videos delivered by al Qaeda in the past and aired on the Arab networks first and later picked up by Western media, weapons are frequently used as props. This time was no exception, and behind Osama bin Laden's deputy was a weapon nonchalantly positioned against the wall of wherever al Zawahiri taped his message.
At first glance, the weapon passes for a Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle, initially built by the Soviets, but since cloned by several former Eastern Bloc countries, as well as by Yugoslavia, China and North Korea. More than 50 armies in the world have firearms created by Kalashnikov.
But a closer inspection of the weapon reveals it has a little black tube attached under the barrel, quite similar to the ones on the American M-16, which turns it into an M-203 grenade launcher.
The disturbing fact in this instance is that al Zawahiri is making a bold statement in showing off his new hardware. New, sophisticated weapons, such as the one in the video are not the kind peddled by arms dealers in shady backwater Middle East arms bazaars. This weapon appears to be a state-of-the-art modern gun made in either China or North Korea.
Quick research shows the weapon behind al Zawahiri is called a Wz. 1974 Pallad grenade launcher. According to the Kalashnikov Web site, the attachment was initially developed in the late 1960s to replace the not entirely successful Wz. 1960.72 grenade-launching adaptations of the AK. But as is often the case, the plans remained shelved for many years before it was developed and manufactured.
Interestingly, in a dozen conflicts this reporter has covered in the Middle East since the early 1970s, he had never come across such a weapon. Instead, the preferred adaptation used by fighting forces throughout the Middle East, from the Palestinians to the Iraqis, starting from the early 1960s and through the most recent conflicts, has been a grenade attached to a rod that fits into the barrel of the AK47, called "energa."
Originally posted by TrueLies
North Korean made, and now they have more reasons to go after NK because they are supplying weapons to the enemy...
Or so the story will go...
We are not talking about some under foot type organization, we are talking the world's largest and most active and deadliest organization: Al-Qaeda.
Originally posted by 27jd
In that recent documentary released by AQ, the one with the Australian accented terrorist shouting at us all, I recall seeing a few M-16's with grenade launchers as well. Anybody else see that? At any rate, if these weapons were provided directly by N Korea, then the movie Team America was dead on.
Originally posted by deltaboy
....they are sprayed painted in desert camo. thats the technique used by Navy SEALs as well as other special forces to help make their weapons blend with the environment.
Originally posted by worldwatcher
I can answer that question and the gun maker isn't even involved. Parts of the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are the ones who are backing Al-Qaeda. I'm confident that Bin Laden isn't working out an arms deal with Kim Jong-Il, it is his supporters in Pakistan, Saudi and even possibly Iran who is acquiring the weapons and passing it on to Al-Qaeda.
Originally posted by deltaboy
those "M-16s" u saw, were takened from the dead Navy SEALs. maybe if u look at the M4 carbines, they are sprayed painted in desert camo. thats the technique used by Navy SEALs as well as other special forces to help make their weapons blend with the environment.