When Tony is held captive, he discovers that the Ten Rings has a huge stock of weapons by his company. After he escapes he doesn't question if his company is double-dealing under the table until he sees the pictures taken from Gulmira and watches the hot news.

Why would Obadiah sell the most sophisticated weapons of Stark Industries to the terrorists? As we can see, the Jericho missiles are even shown on TV in Tony's basement. Wouldn't it make Obadiah an easy target?

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    They are a weapons manufacturer...that's what they do. Sell weapons to people who want them. Although, I really think it was intended to set up the moral dichotomy between Stark and Obadiah for the audience. But there may be another answer that explicitly explains the reasoning, such as using the bad press of shady weapons dealing to undermine Starks credibility with the public and political system. Jan 30, 2017 at 15:27
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    My thought is that he presumed the stockpile he saw and destroyed during his escape was captured gear (a lot happens in war, and he had other priorities like surviving). He didn't catch on until they got outfitted yet again far quicker than they should have. As for why Obadiah would... well, he had two goals which correspond to two shipments (1) get rid of Tony and (2) recover Tony's cave prototype suit. There's not much in the movie to back that up though... I'll try to turn it into an answer...
    – Radhil
    Jan 30, 2017 at 15:30
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    It's not just a moral dichotomy. It is too much of a risk for Obadiah, esp in MCU. Any conventional weapons would do just fine for these terrorists.
    – Kinzle B
    Jan 30, 2017 at 15:30
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    escalting the weapons terrorists have would increase world wide deployment to stop them which would mean world wide ammunition sales would go up up up, and whose selling to the world? obadiah.
    – Himarm
    Jan 30, 2017 at 15:37
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    @KinzleB I really think it comes down to Obadiah being so covetous of power that he will do anything, no matter the risk, to get it. Out-universe, sure - selling weapons to terrorists is a big bad move, yet it still happens. Maybe not to the same scale as an F-35 but it absolutely does happen with smaller systems. Is the CEO of Lockheed doing the selling? I would hope not and I get that that is the point you are trying to make. Which brings us back to the character of the executive - Obadiah is a bad guy. Jan 30, 2017 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


Obadiah wants what Tony has.

There is a fair bit of speculation in this, because we don't really get to see all the background on what the Ten Rings is up to besides that they seem to get an awful lot of gear. No other random faction seems to get its hands on Stark weapons that we see, so we're not really sure if Obadiah was double-dealing all around, and he appears to be treating it casually enough that he should have gotten caught much faster if he was.

What we do know is that Obadiah arranged with them the attack on Tony's convoy – we see the video they send him (that Pepper finds), telling Obadiah he should have told them who they were killing and that Tony will now work for them. This probably corresponds to the first stockpile they get that Tony destroys – he gets them the weapons to do the job and a fair bit besides as payment, and once Tony's gone he gets to take the company without a man-child to look after.

Except that in the aftermath, Tony invents this invincible walking tank suit. It's a weapon sellers dream – total protection, utter domination in a fight, flexible and mobile. Armies can't print enough money to buy that (proven by the second movie, where lots of people try). Now he's got something even better to hunger for.

So my belief, given Obadiah's later actions, is that the Ten Rings getting resupplied with Stark weapons so quickly is a second bargain. Obadiah wants Tony's suit tech before anyone else. He has a dubious ally in the area, but if he can string them along enough with more gear, they can help him track it down. As soon as he has it, he has enough of a military team that he can clean up the entire group, take the suit, and wipe clean any lingering evidence that he ever dealt with them. Anything else he can spin – lots of things happen in a war, and what bits the news reporter catch can be explained as stolen weapons (which I kinda think Tony presumes on his escape – he has a lot on his mind surviving and all, or the size of the stockpile might've caught his attention a lot faster).

  • I think I figure it out. Obadiah is confident that he can recover the Jericho missiles once he has those terrorists killed. Therefore, he's willing to take the risk and then undo it as quickly as possible. however, the pictures still got taken, to his disappointment.
    – Kinzle B
    Jan 30, 2017 at 15:57
  • @KinzleB - pretty much, yeah
    – Radhil
    Jan 30, 2017 at 15:58

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