The U.S. plans to sell Iraq nearly $300 million worth of guns, humvees, and body armor to outfit two battalions of Kurdish soldiers for the fight against ISIS, the Department of State announced Wednesday.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which handles all weapons sales to foreign governments, notified Congress of the $295.6 million proposed sale to Iraq’s Peshmerga Regional Brigade Tuesday.
The long list of requested equipment includes 4,400 M16 rifles, 36 refurbished howitzers, 232 machine guns, both 50 caliber and general machine guns, 113 humvees, and an unknown quantity tactical equipment, transportation equipment, navigation and radio systems, spare parts and training for all systems.
“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States, by supporting Iraq’s capacity to degrade and defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),” the DSCA said in a statement. “Iraq will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.”
The State Department has to approve all sales of weapons to other countries, and that process sometimes take years to complete. The U.S. approved around $40 billion in sales of military equipment to allies in 2016, down from $47 billion approved in fiscal year 2015.
The U.S. began dramatically increasing weapons and military sales to Iraq since the rise of ISIS. From 2008 to 2013, the U.S. sold an average of $500 million worth of weapons to Iraq.
America delivered $1.1 billion to the Iraqi military in 2014, and $1.7 billion in fiscal year 2015, according to the DSCA.
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