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Democratic Aides, White House Clash Over Arms to Iraq

Aides to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) “are sharply criticizing the Obama administration, dubbing its inability to engage constructively on sending weapons to Iraq as ‘shocking,'” Defense News reports.

“Administration officials jabbed Congress on Thursday for what they described as an unwillingness among lawmakers to give the Iraqi military the right weapons to fight al-Qaida.”

“Menendez is concerned over how the US-made Apache helicopters might be used by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. His aides say he and senior committee staff have asked Obama administration officials multiple times since last spring to describe how the helicopters’ use would be tracked to verify that Iraqi security and military forces were using them responsibly. What’s more, the Foreign Relations Committee chairman also has requested that before he stands aside and allows the attack helicopter lease-purchase deal to go forward, the Obama administration and Maliki’s government must force aircraft flying from Iran to Syria over Iraq to land and be inspected.”

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