Guess Iraq if finding out about black and back channels to do what they need to do, apparently this is story that might turn into a good book, United Arab Republic,Malta, Libya, Russia and Italy all involved to some degree.. maybe they are trying to replace the 190K weapons they lost, we are probably paying for this also. http://washingtontimes.com/apps/pbc...0813/FOREIGN/108130055/1001&template=printart By Charles J. Hanley - PERUGIA, Italy (AP) â€” A chance discovery at Rome's busy Fiumicino Airport led anti-Mafia investigators to a huge black-market transaction in which Iraqi and Italian partners haggled over shipping more than 100,000 Russian-made automatic weapons into Iraq. As the secretive, $40 million deal neared completion, Italian authorities moved in, making arrests and breaking it up. But key questions remain unanswered. For one thing, the Associated Press has learned that Iraqi government officials were involved in the deal, apparently without the knowledge of the U.S. Baghdad command â€” a departure from the usual pattern of U.S.-overseen arms purchases. Why these officials resorted to "black" channels and where the weapons were headed is not clear. Iraqi middlemen in the Italian deal, in intercepted e-mails, said the arrangement had official U.S. approval. A U.S. spokesman in Baghdad denied that... In Baghdad, the Interior Ministry wouldn't discuss the AK-47 transaction on the record. But a senior ministry official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, acknowledged that it had sought the weapons through al-Handal. Although this official refused to discuss details, he said "most" of the 105,000 weapons were meant for police in Iraq's western province of Anbar. That statement raised questions, however, since Pentagon reports list only 161,000 trained police across all 18 of Iraq's provinces and say the ministry has been issued 169,280 AK-47s, 167,789 pistols and 16,398 machine guns for them and 28,000 border police. A July 26 Pentagon report said 20,847 other AK-47s purchased for the Interior Ministry have not yet been delivered. Iraqi officials complain that the U.S. supply of equipment, from bullets to uniforms, has been slow. A Pentagon report in June may have touched on another possible destination for weapons obtained via secretive channels, noting that "militia infiltration of local police remains a significant problem." Shi'ite Muslim militias in Iraq's civil war have long been known to find cover and weapons within the Interior Ministry.