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Al Kadesih: Iraq’s Exceptionally Rare Dragunov Copy

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The Al Kadesih (also sometimes spelled Al Kadesiah or Al Qadisiyah) is an Iraqi copy of the SVD Dragunov DMR/sniper rifle. It is not an exact copy, though, as it uses an AK-style stamped receiver and trunnions in combination with the fire control system and short-stroke gas piston of the SVD.

The rifles were made at the eponymous Al-Quadisiyah Establishment in Iraq, a small arms factory set up with Yugoslav assistance to make small arms. That factory produced a copy of the Yugoslav M70 called the Tabuk as well as other weapons. Rather than completely reverse-engineer the SVD, they adopted the M70/AKM design to do the job. Production appears to have run from 1988 until 1991, with another batch made in 2003 before the US invasion. The total number made is unknown, but certainly only a few thousand. The rifles appear to have been as much for presentations and gifts (gold plated ones, specifically) as for combat use, and they are very rare to see in combat photos.

For more details, check out the Silah Report article on these rifles:

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