In 1981, the nation of Iraq began local license production of the classic Beretta M1951 (Model 1951) semi-automatic pistol as the "Tariq". The product was more or less a direct copy of the proven Italian sidearm in both form and function. Chambered for the 7.65mm or 9x19mm Parabellum cartridges, the pistol retained the traditional Beretta cut-out slide and protruding muzzle as well as solid trigger and wide, ribbed grips. By all accounts, its general performance was broadly consistent with the Italian model.
This production went on until after the U.S.-led invasion destabilized the country and manufacture was halted in 2003 amidst the growing chaos. By 2009, production was allowed to resume and is ongoing today (2015). Indeed the gun makes up the primary sidearm of the reborn Iraqi Police forces and is in circulation with Kurdish units as well though Glocks are increasingly featured in police training.
Manufacture of these guns has been under the Al-Qadissiya Establishment of Iraq since the beginning.
The guns have since become something of sought-after collector's pieces. While appearing every bit as a clone of the Italian product, Iraq Tariqs are marked with Arabic along the left side of the slide and other special stampings (including medallions on the grips) depending on production batch. The right side reads, in English, that they are a copied form of the original ("TARIQ 9mm IRAQ - Licensed by Beretta").
The firearm has never been commercially exported - making them that much rarer in the American gun market and a true find (some brought over by exiting American troops following "Operation Iraqi Freedom"). Observers are quick to point out shortcomings of the design - a Single-Action Only (SAO) function, the heel-mounted magazine release and push-style, grip-mounted button safety (throw-back traits concerning semi-automatic guns). A newer production mark is said to have emerged in 13mm caliber though its numbers are unknown. It is reported that, at least locally, the Tariqs are not well-received pistols despite their availability. Poor quality seems to be the cause of this.