US pushes ahead with arms deal to Iraq
Deal including $11bn worth of advanced fighter jets and tanks comes with Iraqi mired in worsening political crisis.
Last Modified: 29 Dec 2011 14:17, Al Jazeera
|The United States is pushing ahead with a weapons deal with Iraq despite the near breakdown of the coalition government.
Reports suggest the deal is worth nearly $11bn and includes advanced fighter jets and tanks. The sale comes despite warnings that the country may be falling deeper into sectarian strife after an arrest warrant was issues for the Sunni vice president, Tariq al-Hashemi.
Alexandre Vautravers, editor of Swiss Military Review, told Al Jazeera the United States has no interest in having a military or power vacuum in Iraq.
“The types of weapons which have been sold, F16s, M1 Abrams tanks, these vehicles, these aircrafts, have been designed 20 or 30 years ago,” Vautravers said.
He continued: “It is all extremely relative when you consider this arms deal sale worth about $11bn and you compare this to the $60bn deals with much more advanced aircraft sold to Saudi Arabia recently.”
According to Vautravers, the US accounts for about 56 per cent of all of the arms sales to the Middle East.
“If the US did not sell weapons to Iraq, the weapons would still materialise, perhaps from Russia or China, or perhaps from Iran,” he said.