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The Iraqi air force confirms its interest in the Rafale during the Ababil-1 exercise

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For several months now, the Rafales of the Air & Space Force [AAE] deployed in Jordan as part of Operation Chammal regularly come up against the Iraqi Air Force’s F-16IQ during “Partner Nation Integration” type missions.

However, in November 2020, Juma Enad Saadoun, then Iraqi Minister of Defense, was welcomed at the air base [BA] 113 from Saint-Dizier, where he was presented with the Rafale and the Mamba air defense system [ou SAMP/T pour Sol-Air Moyenne Portée – Terrestre]. During an interview given to the state television Al Iraqiya, the following January 6, the official confirmed Baghdad’s interest in the Dassault-Aviation fighter-bomber.

A year later, it was suggested that the Iraqi Ministry of Defense was planning to order 14 Rafales, thanks to an envelope of 3.36 billion. This was also to finance the purchase of ammunition, logistical support as well as the training of pilots and technicians. Then rumors suggested that a contract had been finalized… But they were obviously not based on anything concrete…

That said, the Ministry of the Armed Forces visibly still hopes for an Iraqi command… In addition to the so-called “Partner Nation Integration” missions, at least three Rafales from the 30th Fighter Wing have landed on one of the airbase’s runways. “General Ali Flaih”, in Iraq, to ​​participate in the Ababil-1 exercise, the first of its kind organized by the Iraqi air force.

The AAE pilots were welcomed by the Iraqi Air Force Chief of Staff, General Shihab Jahid Ali, as well as Rear Admiral Emmanuel Slaars, Commander of the Indian Ocean Maritime Zone [ALINDIEN] and French Forces in the United Arab Emirates [FFEAU]. According to the Iraqi Defense Ministry, the two officers took the opportunity to “discuss a certain number of common interests and means of strengthening Franco-Iraqi cooperation in the air domain”.

In addition, on May 25, the same source reported on the visit to Iraq by General Stephane Mille, Chief of Staff of the Air & Space Force [CEMAAE]. And there again, there was talk of military cooperation between Paris and Baghdad, particularly in terms of air defense. Has the subject of the Rafales been discussed?

In any case, there is a “willingness” of the Iraqi air force “to include French Rafale planes” within its combat aviation. This is indeed what his spokesman, General Yahya Rasoul, confirmed to theIraqi News Agency, May 23. And to insist on the fact that the Rafale is a “state-of-the-art aircraft, with high capabilities”.

“The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani [le Premier ministre irakien, ndlr] ordered to complete the capacity building of the Iraqi armed forces, including the air force. Therefore, Iraq is open to many countries, including France,” General Rasoul also said.

As a reminder, during an official visit by Mr. Al-Sudani to Paris last January, France and Iraq signed a strategic partnership agreement in order to “strengthen bilateral relations and establish a formal and permanent framework for the diversified and comprehensive relationship in various areas of cooperation”.

If you want some motivation, then here is your way: Frases Positivas

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