Friday, November 5, 2010

F-16 Deal For Iraq On Hold Until New Government Formed

At the end of October 2010 an Iraqi spokesman said that the deal to buy 18 F-16 fighters from the United States was on hold. The official announced that the caretaker government now in office no longer had the authority to complete the purchase, which is for an estimated $3 billion. He continued that the negotiations would have to be finalized by the next government. The head of the NATO Mission in Iraq said a few days later that he was confident that the contract would be signed by the end of this year. That may be wishful thinking as forming a new government may drag into 2011. The Iraqi Air Force eventually hopes to buy 96 F-16s by 2020, the year the Defense Ministry plans to be capable of protecting the country from external threats.

The announcement seemed a little odd. The Maliki government has continued to sign major deals since the March 2010 elections. On October 20 for example, Baghdad auctioned off three natural gas fields to foreign energy companies. It was noted on November 1 that the Agriculture Ministry bought seven helicopters for tree spraying from a European company. Why the Defense Ministry can’t complete the F-16 contract is unknown given those circumstances. Perhaps there are different regulations for government-to-government negotiations. No matter what the reason, the purchase of the fighters will eventually be completed, just on Iraqi time, meaning with delays.


Alsumaria, “$3bn Iraq/US F-16 Deal at Risk?” Iraq Business News, 10/25/10

AME Info, Euronews, “Iraq Signs Order for Eurocopters,” Iraq Business News, 11/1/10

Al-Sabah, “U.S. Deputy Commander: Iraq Will Sign Purchase Contract for F16 Fighter Jets by Year’s End,” MEMRI Blog, 10/28/10


Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi said...

Thanks for this Joel.

May I ask if you have read the item below? What are your thoughts on it?

Joel Wing said...

Well having just skimmed over that piece it seems a bit overblown. Especially the Petraeus part. It tries to connect his command of training Iraqi forces with the FRAGO 242 order to ignore abuse, the Wolf Brigade, and the deployment of it and Kurdish forces to Mosul.

First, I don't see any link between Petraeus training Iraqi forces and FRAGO 242 that's about U.S. troops out in the field not doing anything about Iraqi abuses. That would come from a different part of the U.S. command.

Second, I would assume that since Petraeus was in charge of training he was involved with all the Iraqi units whether they were made up of former Saddam era soldiers, newly recruited Badr Brigade members, or peshmerga. At that time the only thing the U.S. really cared about was getting as many Iraqis into uniform as possible. I don't think they cared about where they came from. It wasn't part of a concerted effort to get Shiites and Kurds to suppress Sunnis. Of course, the article also ignores that with a Shiite majority, Iraq was going to end up with a mostly Shiite army and police.

Also the article says why peshmerga got sent into Mosul, the local forces disintegrated in the face of the insurgency. There was no one else to send in at the time but the Kurds. That obviously set off ethnosectarian tensions that remain in the city to this day, but I think it was because there was no other option, not some grand plan by the Americans to suppress the Sunnis.

I could go on about a couple other points, but that's just my first impression.

What are your thoughts?

Maury said...

That was written by a guy who wrote books denying abuses by the Viet Cong and the Pol Pot regime, but accused the US of abuses every chance he got. Considering that Cambodia was a literal killing field under the Khmer Rouge, anything he writes needs to be highly doubted.

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi said...

Joel, my first thoughts were the same as yours: namely, the notion of a plan by the US to set off sectarian tensions seems absurd. Whilst it is true that there were Shi'a soldiers and police sent into Sunni areas, that was, as you say, going to be inevitable to a certain extent. If there are a couple of other points that have caught your attention, I would be grateful if you could elaborate. Someone forwarded me the article in question and I decided to see what you thought of it.

Maury, you are right about the author. He did deny Khmer Rouge atrocities, but later shifted his position when he felt he had a chance to indict the US.

Joel Wing said...

Overall, I think he's taking a bunch of disparate parts and unsuccessfully trying to tie them together into a semi-conspiracy theory.