Iraq PM must not obtain F-16s warplanes:
April 23, 2012
Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Massoud Barzani, the
president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan, said he
opposes the sale of F-16 warplanes to Iraq while
Nuri al-Maliki is premier, as he fears they would be
used against the region.
The United States has agreed to sell 36 F-16 jets to
Baghdad in a multi-billion-dollar deal aimed at
increasing the capabilities of Iraq's fledgling air
force, a weak point in its national defences.
"The F-16 must not reach the hand of this man,"
Barzani told reporters at his residence near the
Kurdistan region's capital Erbil
on Sunday, referring to Maliki.
"We must either prevent him from having these
weapons, or if he has them, he should not stay in
his position," Barzani said.
Barzani alleged that Maliki had discussed using
F-16s against Kurdistan during a meeting with
"During a military meeting, they talked about
problems between Baghdad and Erbil ," Barzani said.
"They told him, 'Sir, just give us the authority,
and we would kick them out of Erbil ,'" Barzani
said. "And (Maliki) answered: 'Wait until the
arrival of the F-16.'"
There are long-running disagreements between
Kurdistan and the central government over disputed
territory and dozens of energy contracts Kurdistan
has signed without the approval of Baghdad,www.ekurd.net
but tensions have recently reached a new high.
Barzani accused Maliki of aiming to "kill the
democratic process" after the head of Iraq's
electoral commission was arrested for alleged
corruption, and previously said Maliki was moving
Earlier this month, Kurdistan stopped oil exports
over $1.5 billion owed to foreign oil companies
working in the region that it says Baghdad has
The central government's top two oil officials
responded by saying Erbil owed Baghdad more than $5
billion in promised exports, and was smuggling the
oil it produced to Iran.
Kurdistan also hosted Iraq's Sunni Vice President
Tareq al-Hashemi after he was accused of running a
death squad and declined to hand him over to the
The region then permitted the fugitive official to
leave on a trip that first took him to Qatar, then
Saudi Arabia, and now Turkey.
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