Sunday, August 19, 2007
Dragunov, a long-barreled, semi-automatic design with an optical sight. It is derived in part from the much more widely circulated Kalashnikov assault rifle.
... the Dragunov and its clones have become one of the most lethal and effective weapons against American troops and their allies in Iraq.
Venezuela has about 34,000 soldiers in its army and 23,000 in its national guard, according to estimates by Jane's Information Group, which analyzes military forces and regional risks.
...that a purchase of thousands of sniper rifles would fit with the ongoing defense reorganization in Venezuela under Chávez.
The changes emphasize large civilian reserve forces, which bypass the traditional military chain of command and report directly to Chávez, and which could form the core of a domestic guerrilla force if Venezuela were invaded.
"Obviously, what he has in mind is some sort of urban, guerrilla war against an invading force, and the model for that is Iraq," Joyce said.
Washington, which has expressed worry that Chávez's government was buying more weapons than it needed, and could distribute weapons to South American guerrillas or terrorists.
Joyce noted that Venezuela has long been accused of providing weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, a large and heavily equipped Marxist group that the State Department classifies as a foreign terrorist organization