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Iraq Wants 36 F-16s?
Tuesday, 23 September 2008 14:58
by Tom Chartier

Oh great. If this isn’t a case of “military intelligence” I don’t know what is. As reported in Reuters the Iraqi Government… as if such a thing really exists… is interested in buying thirty-six Lockheed Martin Corp. F-16 fighter planes from the U.S. What the hell for?!

Yes, I know. That’s a dumb question. With few exceptions most governments like to have an arsenal of cool toys for mass destruction. It gives them a sense of self-importance. So, who can really blame the Iraqis for wanting more US made ordnance?

However, the Iraqi request seems as logical as the Mad Hatter’s tea party. Unlike some overly aggressive or paranoid nations Iraq has already suffered its worst nightmare. What the Iraqis need before a couple billion dollars worth of F-16s might be such things as… uh… electricity, running water, proper sewage treatment, schools, hospitals, morgues and graveyards. And lets not forget jobs and some form of infrastructure.

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So just what do they plan on using thirty-six F-16s for anyway? Is the al-Maliki executive branch planning on a pre-emptive strike on Iran? Ludicrous since despite all the Bush posturing, the ruling Shi’ites of Iraq are not about to mess with their Shi’ite Iranian allies. Besides, neither country wants a repeat of the 1980-88 Iran/Iraq War.

Are these F-16s to defend against Israel? Not likely. For one, Iraq has been rendered impotent, just what Israel wants. Also, for any mid-eastern country to launch a strike on Israel would result in brutal retaliation. History as shown this to be true for the sixty years of Israel’s existence.

So… whom then does the al-Maliki government want to bomb, maim and kill? Could it be the pesky, oil rich Kurds in northern Iraq and the “insurgent” Iraqi Sunnis? I fear this is the intent. Iraq has had plenty of ethnic cleansing so far but do they now want to kick it up a notch and finish the job?

Were this a sane world the intelligent military brains in the Pentagon should be laughing their heads off at Iraq’s request. ‘Sell you guys F-16 fighter jets? What do you think we’re stupid?’

Well, this is not a world of sanity and reason and we don’t want to tip over the military-industrial complex grenade cart now do we? Can’t you just see the cogs in the Pentagon noggins cranking away on their squeaky wheels at the prospect of a big sale? Forget about the long-term ramifications of selling US made weaponry to an unstable Middle Eastern country. Who cares if most Iraqis might have a beef against the U.S. “liberators” who have brought so much death and destruction? There are profits to be made now! Worry about cleaning up the mess later.

And let’s not forget, US military sales to Iraq have a habit of getting lost once they arrive. Sure, F-16s are not M-16s and therefore probably won’t be showing up on the black market. But the fact remains that the US cannot be sure who will end up using these thirty-six F-16s in the long run or for what purpose.

Or is this all part of the back door dealings between the US and the Mayor of Baghdad’s Green Zone Nouri al-Maliki?

The recently leaked US/Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) makes one wonder.

As reported by Maya Schenwar for Truthout.org: “A leaked version of last month’s draft of the proposed US-Iraq status of forces agreement (SOFA) suggests that the Iraqi parliament may not be consulted before it is signed, despite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s promises to do so. The pact would govern the future US presence in Iraq. The draft indicates no intent to set a deadline for withdrawal of ‘noncombat’ troops from Iraq. It also grants immunity from Iraqi law to US military personnel, no matter where they are located.”

Despite the fact most Iraqis want the US occupiers out now and most Americans also want out now, the US/Iraq SOFA seems to be another Bushian style ruse designed to maintain those permanent US bases in Iraq. Al-Maliki has learned a few tricks from King George, one being the unitary executive theory… ignore Congress, or in al-Maliki’s case Parliament and just go ahead and illegally declare the SOFA law.

Then there is that request to purchase those F-16s oddly coming at the same time as the back door SOFA dealings. It may just be “business as usual.” As these types of weapons deals can take a year or two to complete, we may ever know if it goes through. But I’m not sure it’s a deal either Iraq or the US can afford.
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