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No to Arming Iraq - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Talk of the Iraqi government seeking to buy advanced weapons including fighter jets and helicopters should be a provocative issue for the people of Iraq and its political components before other Arab countries and Iraq’s neighbors in particular.

The Iraqi government’s wish to buy the weapons from Washington might have been easily accepted and justified if for the sake of supporting the armed forces on Iraq’s borders and to help them to secure the country’s borders against infiltrators from terrorists to drug dealers.

It would have been acceptable if the weapons that Iraq wants were related to restoring internal Iraqi security and bolstering the security apparatus including the police force, traffic police, investigation and intelligence in a professional manner, besides purifying those apparatus of militias, which infiltrate the security forces of Iraq.

As for supplying Baghdad with sophisticated fighter weapons worth billions of dollars; this is a terrifying matter. How and when would the Iraqi forces use them? The Gulf States do not pose a threat to Iraq and will not invade Baghdad, nor do I believe that the Syrians have the intention to occupy Iraq.

Does the Iraqi government intend on using these weapons against the Turks if they re-enter Iraqi territory in pursuit of the Kurds? Of course not! So why all these advanced weapons? We all know that the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki will not use those weapons against Iran of course, so what is the reason for these weapons!?

The Kurds have reason to fear this deal as do the Kuwaitis. Even the Arabs have reason to be concerned especially those who Baghdad still asks to cancel the debts that it has acquired. How will Iraq justify its request for countries to drop the debts whilst it embarks upon spending all the money it has on fighter weapons?

Many believed that al Maliki’s government was in need of money in order to rebuild the country’s devastated infrastructure, and this is more important to the average Iraqi citizen in any province than acquiring weapons, so that the people’s suffering could be alleviated.

It must be said that Iraq is in need of political rehabilitation, which would make its citizens, before its neighbors, feel confident and secure that they are working with a politically-mature state in terms of its institutions, parliament and military, not a state where the decision to go to war is made overnight.

It is common knowledge that Baghdad has been violated disgracefully by the Iranians and the militias, security groups and others that are obedient to them. Moreover, Iraq is a country that is suffering from sectarian apportionment and the exclusion of large sectors of society, so what are the components of this army that will be entrusted with the mission of defending Iraq since the country is divided and is yet to launch real reconciliation?!

Since the government of Baghdad is aiming to buy fighter jets, it should first begin with recovering Iraqi fighter planes seized by Iran and this is the right of every Iraqi. Baghdad should also launch an inquiry into the spate of assassinations that killed a number of Iraqi pilots after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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