Iraqi military officials are reporting that efforts to buy advanced missile systems from the United States have been rebuffed, with the Pentagon reportedly refusing to approve them for anything but “last generation” technology.
The decision reflects a growing wariness among US officials to arm the Maliki government too well, even at the cost of losing those big ticket sales for well connected US arms makers. Even the F16s the US agreed to sell to Iraq before the end of the occupation will be, it is assured, much flimsier than, for example, the F16s that the US is selling to the United Arab Emirates.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s attempts to centralize power under his control has many concerned that sectarian and ethnic clashes could break out, and Kurdistan’s President Barzani said last week he believed Maliki is just waiting to get more weapons from the US before attacking Kurdistan’s Peshmearga fighters.
In practice the whole creation of an Iraqi Air Force, pushed by the US as vital to their pullout, seems needless, as Iraq doesn’t seem likely to be in a war against any of its neighbors, and instead is fighting insurgent factions on the ground.
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