The commander of Iraq’s Air Force recently said that negotiations with the United States for 18 F-16 fighter jets worth $4.2 billion is 75% complete. Baghdad put in the request for the planes in March 2010. In July it was announced that ten pilots would begin training on the fighters, and in mid-September three T-6 training planes arrived in Iraq from the United States to be used for further preparation. Baghdad ordered a batch of T-6s in August 2009, and received the first planes in December. Washington is moving ahead with the deal despite the objections of Kuwait and the Kurds, who are both worried that the planes will be used against them. The acquisition of the fighters would be a major step towards Iraq being able to defend itself from foreign threats.
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