Pentagon: US to Send Artillery, Thousands of Assault Rifles to Iraq

Maliki Wants Another 100 Hellfire Missiles

It was only yesterday that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued a request to the US for additional assault rifles and artillery, and the Pentagon has already confirmed the request has been granted, and “several thousand” assault rifles with ammunition will be delivered in a matter of weeks.

The Pentagon also confirmed ongoing talks with the Iraqis on the artillery deliveries, as well as training for Iraqi soldiers, which will reportedly be done in Jordan. The US set up a training camp in Jordan to train Syrian rebels, and it appears this will be repurposed to train Iraq’s military.

Absent from the initial reports on the request, Pentagon officials say Maliki also requested another 100 Hellfire missiles, above and beyond the missiles already approved for delivery. This will require Congressional approval.

The Obama Administration has been pushing heavily for Congress to sign off on any and all arms shipments to Iraq because of al-Qaeda, but there is increasing concern that the Maliki government’s heavy-handed use of military against civilian protesters is creating a lot of additional problems, and that arms shipments like these will come to late for the current fight with al-Qaeda and will end up used in future crackdowns.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.