News24

Kurds in secret weapons deal: Iraq

2012-07-29 17:29

Baghdad - A high-ranking Iraqi official on Sunday said security agencies have uncovered a secret weapons deal between the autonomous Kurdistan region and an unnamed foreign country.

"Iraqi security agencies [discovered] a secret weapons deal between the president of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, Massud Barzani, and a foreign country," the security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"The weapons include anti-armour and anti-aircraft missiles, and a large number of heavy weapons," the official said, without specifying the exact weapons systems.

The official said Iraqi authorities have obtained "all the documents" pertaining to the deal, which is for "weapons of a Russian type made in 2004," and are trying to block it.

"This step is a breach of the law and the Iraqi constitution, because the only side that can [buy arms] is the federal ministry of defence," the official said.

Relations between Baghdad and Kurdistan are at a low ebb over multiple festering disputes.

The two sides are at odds over Kurdistan's refusal to seek approval from the central government for oil contracts it has awarded to foreign firms, and over a swathe of disputed territory in north Iraq.

Barzani has also supported efforts to pass a no-confidence motion against Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki.