U.S. not honoring arms deals with Iraq

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By Mohammed al-Salehi

Azzaman, January 6, 2014

The U.S. is refusing to ship weapons worth billions of dollars to Iraq fearing that the government will transfer them either to Syria or Iran, a parliamentary commission has found.

The defense commission at the Iraqi parliament says Iraq has already paid $41 billion to cover arms deals with the U.S. for the supply of sophisticated weaponry including advanced fighter jets.

However, “the U.S. is persistently refusing to send the shipments for fear they will either end up in Iran or Syria,” said MP Hakem al-Zamili, a commission’s member.

He said despite the massive payments made by Iraq, Washington has only agreed to supply the armed forces with light weapons.

Zamili blamed the Defense Ministry for making it possible for the U.S. not to honor its commitments under the deals to arm the country.

Iraqi armed forces are engaged in fierce battles with Qaeda-backed militants, particularly in central Iraq where they are reported to have spread their control over a strategic town and large swathes of territory.

Zamili said the commission was advising the government not to rely on the U.S. and turn to Russia, which “has proved more trustworthy and recently shipped to Iraq advanced helicopter gunships which the army is currently using in its fight against terror.”