April 23, 2012
At a news conference yesterday, Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani revealed his opposition to the sale of F-16 jets to Iraq by the United States. Barzani said he warned the U.S. government that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki could use the jets against the Kurds. The deal to buy the three-dozen F-16 fighters was sealed last year and delivery is expected in October.
Iraqi Kurdistan has a semi-autonomous administration that is mostly separate from Baghdad’s. The two governments, however, are often at odds with each other, particularly when it comes to the north’s vast oil reserves. Barzani has accused Maliki of building a new dictatorship in Iraq and claims knowledge of military gatherings where Maliki and his officers have discussed eliminating the Kurdish government.