The shopping list is an interesting one. Iraq’s Shiite government is buying Russian choppers and weapons, but they’re looking to buy American chemical weapons detection tech. It’s not hard to figure out why.
Iraq is in the Shiite axis of Iran and Syria. It expects to be facing off against American weapons from our Sunni allies. More interestingly it expects to have an urgent chemical weapons threat to deal with.
The government of Iraq has approached the United States with a Foreign Military Sales shopping list worth more than $1.9 billion.
Sought by Iraq are nuclear, biological and chemical Reconnaissance ground vehicles, helicopters and maintenance services.
The largest procurement in terms of dollar value would be 50 M1135 Stryker vehicles in the nuclear, biological, and chemical reconnaissance configuration.
The contract, worth an estimated $900 million, would include DECON 3000 decontamination systems, M26 commercial joint service transportable decontamination systems, AN/VRC-89 single-channel ground and airborne radio systems (SINCGARS) with GPS, AN/VRC-90 SINCGARS with GPS, M40A1 protective masks, lightweight personal chemical detectors LCD-3, portable chemical warfare agent detectors GID-3, Multi RAE PLUS Gas Detectors and M256 chemical agent detector Kits.
That is the single biggest item on the shopping list. It’s large scale and extensive. And raises questions about what Iraq is preparing for.
Here’s one possibility. Al Qaeda in Iraq, whose splinter group, the Al Nusra Front has emerged dominant in Syria, has gone into the chemical weapons business at home. Meanwhile the Al Nusra Front may have already gotten its hands on chemical weapons from Assad’s stockpiles.
So Iraq may be preparing for a full-scale Shiite-Sunni civil war featuring chemical weapons.