The Obama Administration says it is planning a complete U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq for later this year, but the Iraqis are buying U.S.-made defense articles. And that is a good thing.
According to a notice in today’s Federal Register, the Defense Department published a 36(b) notification that it proposes to sell $82 million in defense articles and services to Iraq:
The Government of Iraq has requested a possible sale of 44,608 M107 155mm High Explosive Projectiles and 9,328 M485A2 155mm Illumination projectiles; also included are, M231 Propelling charges, M232A1 155mm Modular Artillery Charge System Propelling charges, M739 Fuzes, M762A1 Electronic Time Fuzes, M82 Percussion primers, M767A1 Electronic Time Fuzes, 20-foot Intermodal Containers for transporting ammunition, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, logistics, and technical support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $82 million.
There is no way we can reasonably pull out all U.S. troops by the end of the year, nor should we. The Obama Administration announcement is for election year planning and preparation optics. U.S. troops and advisors will remain in the country for years to come, as it should be (but that number should be higher, much higher, but the subject for another post).
U.S. weapon and service transfers to the Iraqi military will need to continue so that Iraq can defend itself from the likes of Iran and others. Let’s hope the Iraqis can keep U.S. weapons and know-how away from the Iranians. This will become much more difficult to accomplish as U.S. troops are replaced with advisors. I doubt the Obama national security team has thought much about this.
Read the 36(b) notice here.