Iraq is trying to recover nearly $41 billion after the US has refused to deliver the F16 aircrafts the Iraqi government had paid for, Anadolu news agency quoted an Iraqi official as saying.
A member of the Security and Defence Committee in the Iraqi parliament, Hakim Al-Zamli, said: “The US has not complied with the agreement concluded with the Iraqi government to prepare and deliver the F16 aircrafts and Apache helicopters, as well as other weapons and materiel to combat terrorism, despite receiving more than $41 billion from the Iraqi government.”
He added, “The US is not serious and is deliberately delaying the arming of the Iraqi army to combat terrorism in the country.”
Al-Zamli denied US intelligence reports claiming that ISIS militants in the Islamic State impose a significant threat to Baghdad and described the claims as “exaggerated”. “The US security chiefs know that ISIS elements have tried to enter Baghdad, but their attempts have been foiled,” he said.
The Iraqi government had contracted Washington to purchase 18 F16 aircrafts and 24 Apache helicopters on its behalf within a strategic framework agreement concluded between the two sides in 2008.
The US justifies the delay citing fears that the weapons might fall into the hands of ISIS militants.
Iraq bought Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia last month; ten of them already arrived in Baghdad and have begun implementing sorties in preparation to participate in supporting the Iraqi security forces in their battles against the Islamic State.
Sunni groups led by the Islamic State have seized large areas in northern and western Iraq since 10 June, in addition to the areas they control in the north and east of Syria.
While Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki describes these groups as extremist terrorists, Sunni figures marginalised by Iraqi politics describe what is happening as “a Sunni revolt against Al-Maliki’s unfair and sectarian Shiite government”.