By Jawdat Kazem | Al-Monitor
The Iraqi parliamentary Security and Defense Committee demanded that the contract for the purchase of United States F-16 fighter jets be canceled in the event that the US refuses to replace the Israeli-made recording devices that they contain.
Meanwhile, Iraq’s Foreign Relations Committee ruled out the possibility of cancelling the deal unless a special law is enacted.
Iskandar Watout, vice chairman of the Security and Defense parliamentary committee, told Al-Hayat over the phone: “The Committee in particular and the Parliament in general refuse the existence of this Israeli device in the F-16 aircraft, and if it is not removed, we will seek to cancel the contract and replace the aircraft with others from different sources.
“The committee will interrogate those responsible for the deal in order to find out the reason why there is an Israeli information recording device in the aircraft to be imported by Iraq,” he added.
Officers in the Iraqi Air Force had revealed the existence of an Israeli-made recording device in the F-16 aircraft manufactured by [American aeronautical firm] Lockheed Martin.
MP Asmaa al-mousawi, member of the Foreign Relations Committee told Al-Hayat that “it is not possible to cancel the deal for the sake of responding to personal demands.
“Discovering the recording device in the US aircraft — the sale of which was agreed upon — is a good thing, and it is in the benefit of the Iraqi Air Force that it has been spotted it while the potential of these aircraft was merely being explored, knowing that the pilots of other countries — which have been importing these aircraft with the same specifications for years — failed to do so,” she explained.
“Iraq can remove those devices from the aircraft, no one can stop it, and the rumors about US pressure aimed at preventing the removal of these recording devices is not true, as the said deal consists of providing the country with aircraft, regardless of how the country will use them or whether it will possibly introduce modifications to their technical and mechanical structure.”
A source in the State of Law coalition told Al-Hayat that “the fuss about the recording devices in the US aircraft is more of a political, rather than a technical issue.”