Sunday, August 05, 2007

Iraqi Air Force Commander wants planes back from Iran

Above: In August, 2003, U.S. weapons inspectors discovered dozens of Soviet-built Iraqi air force fighter jets buried in the sand near an airfield west of Baghdad.

Iraq's air force commander said on Sunday he hoped Iran would return some of the scores of Iraqi fighter plans that flew there ahead of the Gulf War in 1991, but conceded many of them were probably beyond repair.

Lieutenant-General Kamal al-Barzanji is eyeing the aircraft, which were flown to Iran to escape destruction, as he slowly rebuilds Iraq's shattered air force with American help.

"Until now we have not brought back any aircraft. This case belongs to the politicians," he told a news briefing in Baghdad.

"But we hope we could bring back some of these aircraft to Iraq," he said, adding that only a few would be salvageable.

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet

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