A congressional panel has approved the White House’s arrangement to sell 24 Apache helicopters to Iraq, including maintenance and parts for $6.2 billion.
The Army Times reported, “A group of senators led by New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had raised concerns over the human rights record of the Shia-led government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki toward the country’s Sunni minority.”
“The deal will come in two parts. First is the sale of the helicopters themselves, announced today in a public filing by the Pentagon to Congress, which would be worth $4.8 billion.”
“The two deals would require hundreds of Americans to ship out to Iraq to oversee the training and fielding of the equipment.”
“The training part of the deal, which involves the lease of six Apaches and assorted equipment to train Iraqi pilots, is estimated to be worth $1.37 billion. This portion of the sale would require that “1 U.S. Government and 67 contractor representatives” would be based in Iraq “on an as-needed basis to provide support and technical reviews,” today’s release said.”
The deal required that hundreds of contractors to be based in Iraq for three years to ensure the proper training and maintenance. With the recent increase in violence with al Qaeda linked militants, Iraq’s government has requested 480 Hellfire missiles, 30mm machine guns and Hydra rockets.
The Army Times continued, “On Jan. 23, Iraq also requested 500 Hellfire missiles that would cost an estimated $82 million, and the US government expedited the delivery of 75 Hellfires to Baghdad in December.”
“In the public announcement of the requested sale, the DoD wrote that the deal provides Iraq “with a critical capability to protect itself from terrorist and conventional threats, to enhance the protection of key oil infrastructure and platforms,” while also meeting Iraq’s stated desire to establish “close air support, armed reconnaissance and anti-tank warfare missions.”