Iraq's Secret $833M Arms Buy Raises Concern

Purchase from Serbia reveals Baghdad's military woes
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Apr 13, 2008 9:00 AM CDT
Lt. Gen. James Dubik, left, and Brig. Gen. William Troy, right, are seen at Fort Lewis, Wash. in this April 30, 2007 file photo. Dubik heads the US's security advising mission in Iraq   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A secret arms deal highlights Baghdad's trouble arming its troops and securing Iraq, the New York Times reports. Officials signed the $833 million deal with Serbia last month, without approval in Baghdad—and procured faulty or useless planes, tanks, and other arms. Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul Qadir defended the move, saying, “American timelines for delivery were too far away.”

Qadir also scaled down the deal to $236 million after criticism from the US and Baghdad. But sources say the purchase was legal, and US advisers called it progress for Iraq's military—which has to break free of Washington. “We can be very overbearing as a nation," a US commander said.