South oil workers moonlighting as weapon designers

To help militias fighting against IS, South Oil Company engineers have designed smartphone-activated rocket launchers and remote-control robots for defusing explosives.
South oil workers moonlighting as weapon designers
Members of the South Oil Company's (SOC) employees' committee deliver weapons and supplies to al-Hashid al-Shabi (Popular Mobilization) militiamen in Jabar Makhool, in northern Salahaddin province, in early April 2016. (Source: SOC employees' committee)

NASSIRIYA - Iraqi oil engineers are moonlighting as weapons developers, inventing remote-controlled rocket launchers and other devices for al-Hashid al-Shabi (Popular Mobilization) militia forces fighting against the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) organization.

The weapons program is a small-scale operation funded by private donations to an independent employees' committee of the state-run South Oil Company (SOC). While the engineers are not mass-producing the weapons, their contributions highlight the extent to which the Hashid militias enjoy massive popular support in Iraq's southern oil provinces.

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