GAO: Iraq Should Spend Surplus on Arms

Pentagon Says US Should Still Foot the Bill

Though Iraq is nominally “sovereign” since the 2008 Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signing the debate over how Iraq’s government should best spend its surplus seems to be going on exclusively in Washington.

The Government Accountability Office (and to be clear this is the GAO for the US government) seem keen on seeing them spend much of it on security, including weapons sold, one can only assume, by US arms dealers. Iraq is struggling to rebuild a military and air force after the 2003 US invasion.

The Pentagon has objected, citing Iraq’s “instability” and insists that the US government must continue to foot the bill for a large portion of these arms sales.

Absent from all of this is that the design for the US-armed Iraqi Army was developed under US occupation and with heavy US influence. Nowhere is it questioned whether Iraq needs the large air force the US envisions them having, which seems to be mostly an excuse to sell American planes that will sit on the ground and occasionally need to be repaired with US-sourced parts.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of