The U.S. Arming of Iraq Is a Mistake -Dore Gold
There are multiple signs indicating that Iraq is increasingly becoming a satellite state of Iran.
There is a considerable Iranian military presence within Iraq, which commands significant political influence. In January 2012, the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards, General Qassem Sulemani, was widely quoted by the Arab press as boasting that Iran today is in control of Southern Lebanon as well as Iraq.
Dr. Amal al-Hazani, a professor at King Saud University in Riyadh, wrote in al-Sharq al-Awsat on Jan. 28 that "even Sunni politicians in Iraq confessed meekly that the Quds Force is the absolute master of Iraqi affairs."
Israel is increasingly concerned with intelligence reports that the Revolutionary Guards are solidifying their presence in Iraq.
The context of the Israeli concern is the Obama administration's decision to go ahead with the sale of 36 advanced F-16 Block 52 fighters, which have the same capabilities as the F-16 fighter jets sold to Israel.
Iraq is expected to need a total of six fighter squadrons to defend its airspace, which could lead to a force of up to 96 aircraft.
With the Iranian penetration of Iraq continuing, no one should be surprised of reports in the future that Iranian pilots are inspecting the Iraqi F-16s in order to develop their own countermeasures to Western aircraft and weapons systems.
If the administration is equipping Iraq to be a counterweight to Iran, then somebody in Washington is making a big mistake.
The writer, a former Israeli UN ambassador, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.