The Corner

Iraqi Arms Purchase from China

The Washington Post is reporting (h/t Drudge) that Iraq is purchasing $100 million in arms from China. Permeating the report is the assumption that the U.S. process is at fault, and that the Iraqi authorities were only looking for the most favorable bureaucratic process from their perspective.

It is curious that neither of the Washington Post reporters appear aware that the Iraqi ambassador to Beijing who likely played a key role in the deal is also Iraqi President (and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan head) Jalal Talabani’s brother-in-law (their wives are sisters). Of course, with the Iraqi process opaque, it is impossible to know for sure, but such family dealings are often quite remunerative and would likely never pass the conflict-of-interest test outside the region.

It’s all well and good to consider Iraqi Kurds our natural allies, but until the corruption issue is addressed, it would be unwise to place too much faith upon any strategic partnership.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.


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