Iraq threatens to cancel sale deal with US over F-16 supply delays
The Iraqi Government is reportedly threatening to cancel a defence agreement with the US over the latter's delay in the supply of fighter jets.
Unnamed sources close to Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told The Sunday Times that he is planning to cancel the strategic framework agreement (SFA) signed with the US in 2008.
"If Maliki revokes the agreement, Obama will see both Russia and Iran step in to fill the gap, especially where military contracts and logistics are concerned," one source said.
The US said in June that the deliveries will be delayed as the contractors supporting the fighter aircraft had to be relocated after the Isis militants attacked an air base.
The delays prompted Iraq to order Sukhoi Su-27 fighters from Russia; five landed in Baghdad last month and flew missions in support of ground forces in Tikrit.
Five more aircraft are expected to be delivered over the weekend, reported the newspaper.
Meanwhile, Iraqi parliament security and defence committee member Hakim Al-Zamli told Anadolu Agency that Iraq is trying to recover nearly $41bn it had paid the US for the delivery of F16 jets, Apache helicopters, and other weapons and materiel to combat terrorism.
"The US is not serious and is deliberately delaying the arming of the Iraqi army to combat terrorism in the country," Al-Zamli said.
The US has been delaying the delivery of 36 F-16 fighters and 24 Apache helicopters to Iraq, citing fears that the weaponry might fall into the hands of militants.
Image: Iraq received the first F-16 aircraft from the US in June 2014. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.