U.S. sold Iraq 'ineffective' choppers: Lawmaker

By Aref Youssef, Wednesday, March 26, 2014

BAGHDAD – An Iraqi lawmaker has accused the United States of selling his country 70 helicopters that lack the firepower needed to deal with armed militants on the ground.

"The U.S. deceived Iraq by selling it 70 Bell 407 and Bell 214ST helicopters that have proven incapable of dealing directly with the enemy in combat due to inadequate technical capacities," Iskander Witwit, deputy head of parliament's security and defense committee, told Anadolu Agency.

"The helicopters were supplied by the U.S. as part of the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program; Iraq purchased them in phases from the end of 2006 until last year," Witwit, a former army officer, said.

"These types of helicopters were not designed for combat or for supporting ground troops," he added.

Several politicians have urged the government to cancel the FMS program, accusing the U.S. of providing Iraq with inadequate equipment and weapons.

Witwit warned that Iraqi troops were currently fighting militants in several parts of the country in the absence of air cover due to the lack of combat helicopters.

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