American made F-16s to Iran (via Iraq)

The Middle East is changing, and many Israelis in the defence establishment claim with growing rigour that Washington does not understand what is going on.

One recent example is the proposed sale of Lockheed Martin F-16s to the Iraqi air force – the White House is about to approve the sale of a second batch of 18 F-16s to Iraq.
Earlier this year, Iraq ordered its first squadron of F-16s.

The deal will also include weapons systems such as Raytheon’s AIM-9L/M Sidewinder and AIM-7M Sparrow air-to-air missiles, conformal fuel tanks and targeting pods.

The question raised by the Israelis is simple – everyone who knows anything about the situation in Iraq after the US pulls out understands the country will become an Iranian-controlled area very soon.

Teheran has a plan – and it started to implement this when the first signs of the US pulling out became obvious.

Now the Iranians are not even trying to hide their plan. So the question, as put by one of the Israeli experts, is “why not sell the F-16′s directly to Iran? They will end up in the hands of the Iranian air force anyway.

This is a blunt way of describing the process that has already begun, and raises many questions and worries.

A number of moves made by Washington in recent months may support the claim that the US administration does not understand the situation. The strange capture of the US RQ-170 UAS by Iran – and the subsequent televised request from US president Obama to get it back – are just two examples. Before this, the list includes the desertion of president Mubarak in Egypt.

So, Iraq will be taken over by Iran. In Israel these changes are fully understood, and create concerns that will require greater intelligence efforts by satellites and other aerial systems – and preparations for the worst.

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