Author Topic: Iraq to press U.S. on drones, F-16s to fight al Qaeda  (Read 322 times)

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Iraq to press U.S. on drones, F-16s to fight al Qaeda
« on: October 25, 2013, 09:24:07 AM »
Via Reuters:

(Reuters) - The Baghdad government wants the immediate delivery of U.S. drones and F-16 fighter jets in order to combat al Qaeda insurgents, who are making swift advances in the west of the Iraq, a senior Iraqi security official said.

Washington agreed in August to supply a $2.6 billion integrated air defense system and F-16 fighter jets, with delivery due in autumn 2014.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who will meets U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington next week, has also requested drones to carry out surveillance of Iraq's desert border with Syria.

But Deputy National Security Adviser Safa al-Sheikh Hussein said Iraq needs them now.

"The first thing the Prime Minister will ask for is to accelerate the processes for the shipment of drones and F-16s," said Safa al-Sheikh Hussein in an interview with Reuters.

"The initial response from the U.S. was positive, but it depends on the delivery time. We want them immediately."

Al Qaeda's Iraqi wing was forced underground in 2007 during a troop build-up ordered by then U.S. President George W. Bush.

But almost two years after the last U.S. troops withdrew, the Sunni Islamist group has regained momentum in its war against the Shi'ite-led government that came to power after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

More at link. Emphasis mine.

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