Exclusive: Iraq’s leader to seek arms, with deferred payment, on U.S. visit

Exclusive: Iraq’s leader to seek arms, with deferred payment, on U.S. visit

Iraq’s prime minister will seek President Barack Obama’s help to acquire billions of dollars in drones and other U.S. arms to fight Islamic State during a U.S. visit next week but wants to defer payment for the purchases, a senior Iraqi official said.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi is grappling with an insurgency by militants from Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that emerged from the chaos in Iraq and neighboring Syria and seized much of northern and central Iraq last year.

He is also facing a cash crunch thanks to a plunge in oil prices that is ravaging Iraq’s state finances. The government is projecting a budget deficit of roughly $21 billion this year.

Visiting Washington for the first time as prime minister, Abadi hopes to convince a war-weary United States Iraq deserves more U.S. manpower and arms three years after U.S. troops withdrew from the country in December 2011, as his fledgling army confronts Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL.

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