Author Topic: Obama approves Apache helicopters for Iraq despite leader’s Iran ties  (Read 135 times)

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The administration of President Barack Obama, overcoming concerns in Congress, has approved the export of an advanced attack helicopter to Iraq.

The administration has notified Congress that Washington would oversee the delivery of 24 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to the Iraqi military.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the Apache deal was worth $4.8
 billion and accompany a leasing arrangement for additional helicopters.

Officials said Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, an ally of neighboring Iran, issued several appeals in January 2014 amid the Sunni revolt in Iraq’s largest province, Anbar.

They said the statement reflected more than a year of Iraqi efforts for the Apache, manufactured by Boeing.

“This proposed sale supports the strategic interests of the United States by providing Iraq with a critical capability to protect itself from terrorist and conventional threats, to enhance the protection of key oil infrastructure and platforms, and to reinforce Iraqi sovereignty,” DSCA, an agency of the Defense Department, said.

In a statement on Jan. 27, DSCA said the United States would also sell
 480 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles to Baghdad. The agency said Iraq would
 lease six Apaches for training in a deal worth $1.37 billion.

“This proposed sale of AH-64E Apache helicopters will support Iraq’s
 efforts to establish a fleet of multi-mission attack helicopters capable of
 meeting its requirements for close air support, armed reconnaissance and
 anti-tank warfare missions,” DSCA said.

Congress has until Feb. 10 to try to block the proposed sale, which
 included intensive lobbying by Boeing. Officials said the program would
 return hundreds of U.S. military personnel for a training program in Iraq.

“Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of
 three U.S. government and 200 contractor representatives to Iraq to support
 delivery of the Apache helicopters and provide support and equipment
 familiarization,” DSCA said. “In addition, Iraq has expressed an interest in
 a Technical Assistance Fielding Team for in-country pilot and maintenance
 training. To support the requirement a team of 12 personnel — one military
 team leader and 11 contractors — would be deployed to Iraq for
 approximately three years.”

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