Aug 16, 2007
And perhaps more importantly, what the hell is Venezuela planning to do with 5,000 sniper rifles?
NYT: A proposed contract between Russia & Venezuela that could transfer 1,000s of sniper rifles to Venezuela has raised concerns in the US about the potential use or regional distribution of the weapons by the socialist-inspired government of Pres. Hugo Chavez. Venezuela is negotiating a contract with Rosoboronexport to purchase about 5,000 modernized Dragunov rifles.
Venezuela has about 34,000 soldiers in its army & 23,000 in its national guard. Because sniper rifles are specialized infantry weapons & not typically issued to large numbers of soldiers, diplomats and military officers and analysts said, a purchase of several thousand Dragunovs would not seem to have a conventional military use for Venezuela’s armed forces.
“Sales like this, & other sales of military equipment & arms to Venezuela, don’t seem consistent with Venezuela’s needs,” David J. Kramer, deputy assistant secretary of state for european and eurasian affairs, said. “It does raise questions about their ultimate use,” he added.