Iraq to ask US for billions of dollars in arms to fight Islamic State; will go to Iran if turned down

There are thousands of signs depicting Iran’s supreme leader gently smiling to a population once mobilized against the Islamic Republic in eight years of war (picture from 2012). Source.

Iraq’s prime minister will seek President Barack Obama’s help to acquire billions of dollars in drones and other US arms to fight Islamic State during a US visit next week but wants to defer payment for the purchases.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi is grappling with an insurgency by militants from Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that emerged from the chaos in Iraq and neighboring Syria and seized much of northern and central Iraq last year.

He is also facing a cash crunch thanks to a plunge in oil prices that is ravaging Iraq’s state finances. The government is projecting a budget deficit of roughly $21 billion this year.

Visiting Washington for the first time as prime minister, Abadi hopes to convince a war-weary United States Iraq deserves more US manpower and arms three years after US troops withdrew from the country in December 2011, as his fledgling army confronts Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL.

“ISIS is everybody’s problem now,” said the senior Iraqi official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “You can’t run away from the problem if it comes to Canada or goes to France,” he said in reference to attacks by people influenced by Islamic State or al Qaeda in those countries.

The senior Iraqi official hinted Baghdad could turn to Tehran if it did not get the aid it wants from Washington….

Share