US Stops All Arms Deliveries to Iraq

Last delivery of missiles was made in November

The Trump Administration has suspended all weapons deliveries to Iraq, including the delivery of Sidewinder and Maverick missiles, which were part of a $1.8 billion contract signed in 2016. The last shipment was delivered in November.

A US Air Force spokesman confirmed the pause, citing security concerns. Iraq has yet to comment on the matter.

This reflects growing US tensions with Iraq, and the Iraqi government’s interest in getting US troops out of the country. The US is threatening sanctions on Iraq for even suggesting expelling them, and military aid cuts are planned. This is likely part of the US cutting their military relationship to try to make Iraq more dependent on them.

It’s also likely that limiting anti-aircraft missiles for F-16s is a priority for the US, because of the growing number of airstrikes against Iraqi government and paramilitary targets, especially in western Iraq. Since at least some of those airstrikes are likely by the US, it’s not surprising they’d want to limit Iraq’s ability to respond or attempt to control their airspace.

Why they’d also withhold ground-attack missiles is less apparent. These were used heavily in striking ISIS, and while ISIS clearly isn’t a factor right now, it is unusual for the US to refuse to sell unnecessary weapons when they don’t pose a direct threat to US forces.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.