Despite Maliki Crackdown, US Still Selling Arms to Iraq

Iraqi PM hasn't followed through on his end of agreement
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2011 10:19 AM CST
Despite Maliki Crackdown, US Still Selling Arms to Iraq
The Iraqi flag waves while federal Police parade in Baghdad, Iraq, Nov. 22, 2011.   (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

The US is charging ahead with an $11 billion arms deal with Iraq, and has even delivered some of the promised fighter jets, tanks, and weapons—even though Nouri al-Maliki has blatantly failed to follow through on an agreement intended to ensure he would not marginalize his Sunni rivals. Indeed, Maliki has moved aggressively to cement his power since the US left Iraq, leading some diplomats to express concern about the sale, the New York Times reports.

Many fear that Iraq’s army is turning into a Shiite force—it is dominated by Shiite militias, and units have reportedly been flying Shiite flags instead of Iraqi ones. “It is very risky to arm a sectarian army,” says the country’s finance minister, a Sunni. “The result will be a formal militia army.” The Pentagon says it’s trying to help Iraq defend against “foreign security threats.” But there’s a risk Maliki could ally himself with Iran—the “foreign threat” Washington likely had in mind. (More Nouri al-Maliki stories.)

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