US approves $3 billion sale of tanks, armored vehicles to Iraq
The US State Department has approved possible sales of tanks and armored vehicles worth approximately $3 billion to Iraq, where Islamic State extremists have been active, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has revealed.
"The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq for M1A1 Abrams tanks and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $2.4 billion," the DSCA said in a press release Friday.
Another press release, issued by the agency on the same day, said that the US State Department has also approved "Foreign Military Sale to Iraq for M1151A1 Up-Armored High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles [Humvees] and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $579 million".
Sunni volunteers from Mosul take part in military training as they prepare to fight against militants of the Islamic State on the outskirts of Dohuk province December 8, 2014.
According to the DSCA, the two sales will "contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States" and also directly support the Iraqi government and serve the interests of the people of Iraq.
According to the US State Department, around five US government and one hundred contractor representative till travel to Iraq "for a period of up to five years for delivery, system checkout, program support, and training", as a part of the process to fulfill the contract for the Abrams tanks and other munitions. The deal for the Humvees will not require American personnel.
The DSCA assured that the US provision of weapons will not alter the basic military balance in the region, but will better enable the Iraqi military to mobilize and defend itself.
The United States partnered with the Iraqi government and over thirty other nations in September to oppose the Islamic State, a radical Sunni group also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), that currently controls significant portions of the Iraqi and Syrian territories.