And, of course, there is an Iran connection to all of this.
Not surprisingly, many of the machine guns ended up with other armed factions, including Christian Babylon Brigades, according to Armament Research Services, another independent monitoring organization. It is entirely possible that many of the weapons changed hands more than once in the fighting with Islamic State terrorists. By March 2016, Type 73s had spread to Syria and Yemen. Again, Iran seemed to be the link connecting everything together.
Between February and March 2016, Australian and French sailors in the Arabian Sea seized small ships — or dhows — smuggling weapons, most likely to militants in Somalia and Yemen. These caches aboard the dhows included examples of one particularly rare firearm, the North Korean Type 73 machine gun.
In November 2016, independent monitoring group Conflict Armament Research released a report detailing the captured weapons and their likely points of origins and destinations. According to the analysis, the shipments showed links between Iran and armed groups Tehran supports in the Gulf of Aden region.
Recommended: The M4: The Gun U.S. Army Loves to Go to War With