Not Quite Yet on Iraqi F-16s?

Iraq’s defense ministry has reportedly put off plans to acquire F-16 fighters. “Iraq is determined to rebuild its airpower capabilities, but the plan is postponed,” said Ali al-Dabbagh, an Iraqi government spokesman, reported Bloomberg Tuesday. He added, “The plan was postponed, but not canceled, as we will rebuild our armed forces in the next few years when there will be more liquidity.” The news wire report came on the same day that the Wall Street Journal reported that Iraq had quietly entered negotiations with the US government for the F-16s and may seek to double its buy to 36 aircraft. The Pentagon notified Congress last summer of the potential $4.2 billion foreign military sale of 18 F-16s and associated equipment to Iraq. Officials with F-16 manufacturer Lockheed Martin were confident earlier this year that the deal would eventually move forward.