One of the important pieces of news to come out of Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi’s visit to the White House Tuesday is that Iraq will be receiving delivery of F-16s. At Commentary, Max Boot asks if this is such a wise move, “Why Are We Giving F-16s to an Iranian-Infiltrated Government?”
As Boot explains, “the government of Iraq is heavily infiltrated by Iranian agents,” and Abadi himself is an Iranian ally, selected by Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani to replace the former prime minister, also an asset of Tehran’s, Nuri al-Maliki.
“Does it really make safe under those circumstances to deliver to Iraq three dozen high-performance fighter aircraft?” asks Boot.
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.