A new report by aid agency Oxfam International on the global ammunition trade shows that new ammunition supplies are widely available on the Baghdad black market.
Published Thursday, the report says bullets are most likely smuggled into Iraq through neighboring countries or leaked from supplies imported to equip the new Iraqi security forces.
An analysis of bullets bought in Baghdad by Doctors for Iraq, a medical rights organization established by a group of Iraqi doctors in Baghdad in 2003, found that ammunition for 9 mm semi-automatic pistols and for AK-47s originated from factories in China, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Russia and Serbia. There were also pre-2003 Iraqi-made bullets.
Baghdad is perhaps the most publicized example of a global problem: Lax controls mean millions of bullets end up in war zones. The report also details how illicit ammunition has flooded into conflict-ridden countries like Somalia, Sierra Leone and Liberia in the past five years.
Weak controls and poor transparency make it hard to determine how the imported bullets arrived in the country.
When Saddam Hussein was ousted in 2003, there were an estimated 20 million weapons in Iraq. Since then, millions more are thought to have entered the country, Oxfam reports.
The annual global output of ammunition for small arms is now estimated at 10 billion to 14 billion rounds, or 33 million bullets a day, the organization writes.