U.S. to send arms to Iraq
Iraq is facing intense violence as militants attempt to take over multiple Iraqi cities. (AFP/File)
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The United States is accelerating plans for massive weapons shipments to Iraq as the nation is struggling with a resurgence of al-Qaeda violence.
The arms supplies, including Hellfire missiles and Scan Eagle unmanned drones, are expected to be airlifted to the country in the near future, The Independent reports.
The weapons are part of a $15 billion contract between Washington and Baghdad under which the Iraqi forces have already received around 80 missiles and a dozen of drones.
On June 10, al-Qaeda affiliated militants seized control of parts of Iraq’s northern areas, including the nation’s second largest city, Mosul.
“Mosul is a shock. Places like Falluja and Ramadi were always going to be a problem, being in the Syria corridor, but Mosul, we are talking about the second city, and that can’t be allowed to stay in AQ hands,” said a senior officer, who served extensively in Iraq and left the US army four months ago, according to The Independent.
“It’s a question of sending the kit needed now; there would be tremendous opposition in Congress to sending even mentors or advisors back there, but what happens if Baghdad itself gets threatened?” the officer added.
US officials were adamant that no troops would be deployed back to Iraq. However, CIA agents have been helping the Iraqi armed forces during recent fierce fighting with militants, according to intelligence and diplomatic sources.
In the last two months, the Pentagon has dispatched a small special forces group to Jordan to train Iraqi military units.
The swift capture of Mosul by militants has some experts worried that US weapons might end up in the wrong hands if al-Qaeda invades other parts of the country.