Saddam's SVD Clone: The Iraqi Al-Kadesiah ( )

by Miles

The Iraqi Al-Kadesiah rifle was named after a battle bearing the same name in 636 AD which marked a key point in the Islamic conquest of what is current-day Iraq and Iran. The naming of weapon systems whether it be small arms or missiles in Saddam’s Iraq was often based on important events in history, religion, or geography so this odd naming scheme comes as no surprise.

When it comes to the 7.62x54mmR Al-Kadesiah, the rifle is a bit of a Dragunov derivative oddity. There is too much difference between it and the SVD that very little if any of the parts are interchangeable between the two weapon systems. In addition to the small differences, the magazine on the Al-Kadesiah actually has the stamping of a palm tree on the outer portions of it, uniquely identifying it as an Iraqi derivative rather than a Soviet or Chinese one. But the biggest difference was in the rear of the receiver where there are a series of rivets that actually hold two pieces of the receiver together. This is very different from any other production Kalashnikov, Dragunov variant or derivative out there today. This also happens to be possibly one of the worst design traits it has. It is supposed to be a precision rifle and this amount of flex that is in the receiver cannot contribute to any solid platform when it comes to accuracy and consistency.

Iraqi Al Kadesiah
SVD Dragonuv
Romanian PSL

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Ageless by Ian Locke


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I've made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at

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2 of 11 comments
  • Biff Biff on Jul 13, 2018

    Tell me again why they never brought in any Dragunov rifles back when they were bringing in Russian AK’s. I still want one.

  • JCitizen JCitizen on Jul 16, 2018

    I don't remember any reported use in Desert Storm; in fact I don't remember any of my buds saying they ran into any accurate sniper fire. It was mostly open country warfare, and the Raqs didn't engage at those distances much - mostly they ran like hell! It was all as good as over in 100 days. Of course if you were in a fast moving armored unit, it was mostly open country shooting.