Obama plans to hand over F-16s to Iranian-infiltrated Iraq government
Last year, the US government delayed the delivery of 36 F-16 fighter aircraft to Iraq, as ISIS threatened to take over the Balad air base where they would be located. But in the wake of Tuesday’s White House visit of Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi, it appears that the deliveries are back on track. Max Boot, writing in Commentary, expresses justifiable doubt as tp the wisdom of handing over advanced fighters to a nation under the thumb of, and infiltrated by Iran:
The reality is that Abadi is far from the most powerful man in Iraq, a title that probably belongs rightfully to Gen. Qassem Suleimani, head of Iran’s Quds Force (snip)
…the government of Iraq is heavily infiltrated by Iranian agents. Does it really make safe under those circumstances to deliver to Iraq three dozen high-performance fighter aircraft? I, for one, am worried that the fighters could eventually wind up in Iranian hands, buttressing an Iranian Air Force that until now has had to rely on aging F-14 fighters from the 1970s and even F-4s and F-5s from the 1960s. Granted, F-16s aren’t top of the line aircraft anymore—they are outclassed by F-22s and F-35s—but as a matter of policy and law the U.S. does not sell arms to hostile states or to states that might transfer them to hostile states.
Paging the House and Senate Armed Services Committees! Congress needs to get involved in this issue urgently to assess whether it makes sense to continue with the F-16 transfer to Iraq—and, if it doesn’t, to block the sale before Gen. Suleimani’s boys are using F-16s to drop bombs on the heads of American or Israeli soldiers.
Hat tip: Less Smith, The Weekly Standard