Heavy weaponry sold via Telegram

Social media becomes hub for Baghdad arms trade

BAGHDAD — Following the repeated closure and eventual permanent shutdown of the arms sales market in Baghdad’s Sadr City by security forces, vendors have turned to digital platforms to advertise and trade weaponry.

Platforms like Telegram have seen a surge in groups dedicated to the remote exchange and sale of arms. These groups display photos and specifications of various weapons, with negotiations conducted online before arranging a meeting for the transaction.

964media examined a Telegram group called “Weapons Market in Sadr City Only,” which has over 6,000 members. The group offers a range of light and medium firearms, and occasionally heavy weapons, with prices depending on the weapon’s type, condition, and age.

An anonymous group member told 964media, “After the Meridi market closure, this group became our livelihood. We sell everything from rifles to hand grenades, ammunition, and even launchers.”

He added that the group allows postings at specific times, as determined by the group administrators.

Legal expert Hayan Al-Khayyat explained, “The crime of selling weapons is not just about the method used. The critical issue is whether there is a special license to open a firearms shop, as per Article 5, Paragraph 5 of the Arms Law No. 51 of 2017.”

According to Al-Khayyat, those licensed to open a firearms shop must maintain records and submit them for inspection by the relevant authority, as stipulated in Article 19 of the same law. Those selling weapons online without a license face penalties depending on whether the weapon is a firearm or a military weapon, according to existing laws.

Article 24 of the Arms Law No. 51 of 2017 specifies that “anyone who smuggles military weapons or their parts or ammunition, or manufactures them, shall be sentenced to no less than ten years in prison. The penalty is death or life imprisonment if the crime aims to incite terrorism, disrupt public security, or support any rebellion against the government.”

Article 3 of the law reads, “Anyone who carries, sells, or repairs firearms or ammunition without a license faces imprisonment for up to one year and a fine between 500,000 and 1,000,000 dinars for possession without a license.”

Iraqi interior minister announces weapons buyback program in Basra

Iraqi interior minister announces weapons buyback program in Basra

Interior ministry allocates funds for weapon buyback program

Interior ministry allocates funds for weapon buyback program