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Thursday, October 28, 2010     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Iraq being offered surplus U.S. military equipment

BAGHDAD — The United States is quietly delivering large amounts of surplus military equipment to Iraq.


Officials said Iraq has been offered everything from U.S. Army surplus ready-to-eat rations to main battle tanks. They said the equipment was deemed unsuitable for either transfer to the American military campaign in Afghanistan or the return to bases in Europe and the United States.

"One of the decisions for the Iraqi government will be what type of heavy equipment to purchase," U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. Stephen Lanza said.

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In a recent briefing, Lanza said some of the equipment sent to Iraq could include additional M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks as well as Bradley infantry fighting vehicles. The Iraq Army, which has already ordered 140 Abrams, has been trained to operate both combat platforms at the Besmayah Training Area.

"All the combat systems are being executed through Foreign Military Sales [program]," U.S. Brig. Gen. Gustave Perna, the military logistics director in Iraq, said. "So the equipment that we're leaving behind right now is excessed to the United States government as determined to process and help enable the Iraqi security forces conduct logistics within their formations."

Officials said Iraq was slated to receive 8,500 Humvee combat vehicles left behind by the U.S. military. They said more than 6,000 of the vehicles have already been delivered to the Iraq Army and security forces.

The U.S. military has also offered the Iraqis reconnaissance and intelligence systems. Officials said such deliveries would be offered as part of a cooperation agreement between Baghdad and Washington in wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq by 2012.

Officials said the biggest decision by Iraq was the procurement of the U.S.-origin F-16 multi-role fighters. They said the 18 F-16 Block 52+ aircraft requested by Baghdad would form a major element in cooperation between Iraq and the United States after 2012.

"Those are decisions on foreign military sales that the leadership of Iraq will have to decide in terms of what is in their best interests in the country," Lanza said. "Additionally, they will also have to decide what kind of agreements they're going to make for security post-December, 2011."

The Iraq Air Force, with 104 aircraft, has ordered the Russian-origin Mi-17 utility helicopter. At the same time, the Iraq Navy has acquired Italian-origin patrol ships.

"But our disposition and transfer of property will not meet every single capability and desire of the Iraqi security forces," Lanza said. "But it will help them build capability and capacity until our mission ends in December of 2011."

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