By Missy Ryan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration notified Congress on Monday of plans to sell 24 Apache attack helicopters to Iraq, part of an effort to bolster the military against al Qaeda-linked militants, after addressing lawmakers' concerns that held up the sale for months. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency said on its website it had informed Congress of the possible sale of the Boeing Co-built helicopters to the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is in a standoff with Islamist militants in the western province of Anbar two years after the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The administration also notified Congress of plans to lease Iraq up to six Apaches, which a U.S. defense official said would be used for training purposes until the purchased Apaches were delivered. The cost of the purchased Apaches, and the equipment and support that accompanies them, is worth about $4.8 billion, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said. On Sunday, Iraqi forces intensified air strikes and artillery fire on the city of Falluja. The conflict in Anbar has focused Washington's attention in Iraq as fears grow about spillover from the war in neighboring Syria. The Obama administration is also seeking to expedite delivery of fighter jets, missiles, surveillance drones and other weaponry to Iraq. But the Apache sale was held up for months by concerns from lawmakers about how the helicopters would be used. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, withheld support for those plans because of concerns about how Washington could ensure that security forces under Maliki, a Shi'ite increasingly at odds with minority Sunnis, use the helicopters prudently. A Senate aide said that the committee had signed off on the lease and sale of the helicopters after the State Department "engaged with us extensively this month." "Based upon these discussions, the committee has signed off on the lease and sale of the Apaches," the aide said. The Pentagon agency also announced the possible sale of support equipment for the leased Apaches totaling $1.37 billion and including Hellfire missiles and launchers, and pilot night-vision sensors. In addition to Boeing, principal contractors will be Lockheed Martin Corp, General Electric Co and Robertson Fuel Systems. Menendez had also voiced concern about whether officials were keeping Congress sufficiently informed about efforts to ensure Iraq does not permit Iran to carry weapons to Syria across Iraqi airspace. Many in Washington view Maliki with suspicion because of his close ties with Iran and his strained relations with Iraq's minorities. But Maliki has been a U.S. ally on security, and could win a third term in elections in April. Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Maliki on Sunday, and praised steps his government has made to draw Sunni tribesmen into Iraqi security forces. The administration also notified Congress last week of plans to sell 500 Hellfire missiles to Iraq, part of a package of 'replenishment' supplies that Maliki requested this month. (Reporting by Missy Ryan; Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Grant McCool and Peter Cooney)
Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting
This Description of Ivanka Trump's Face After Talking With Dad Donald Trump on Jan. 6 Will Stay With You
While much has been written about Jan. 6 and Donald Trump’s reaction while it was going down, Bob Woodward’s new book, Peril, is giving readers more insight into what happened behind closed doors. The day was fraught with a lot of drama, and as we know, much of the burden of getting through to the […]
- E! News
Blake Shelton was not too pleased when rumors surfaced that Ariana Grande's success on The Voice might lead to him getting kicked off the show. See what he said when confronting the pop star.
Madonna's daughter Lourdes Leon made her second runway appearance at Rihanna's Savage X Fenty fashion show
The 24-year-old made her New York Fashion Week debut in 2018, and two years later, she's now a part of Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Vol. 3 show.
- The Telegraph
While focus remains firmly fixed on Covid-19, a second health crisis is quietly emerging in Britain. Since the beginning of July, there have been thousands of excess deaths that were not caused by coronavirus.
- Business Insider
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene got into a shouting match outside the Capitol with a Democratic congresswoman over abortion: 'Try being a Christian!'
The far-right congresswoman confronted Democrats on the steps outside the House chamber after the passage of a Democratic bill to protect abortion.
- Charlotte Observer
Property tax records reveal sale price, prominent buyer of NASCAR team’s 22-acre site near Concord airport.
The Republican congresswoman's top aide, Patrick Parsons, says it's "time to move on."
- Yahoo Life
Elizabeth Banks implored her followers to hydrate as she posted an unfiltered selfie to Instagram.
The MSNBC host signed off with one heck of a zinger.
- KABC – Los Angeles
Thunderstorms swept across parts of Southern California Friday, and some places saw lightning and heavy downpours.
- E! News
Meghan McCain shared her controversial opinion after The View's Sunny Hostin and Ana Navarro tested positive for COVID-19 while on set.
- Kansas City Star
Former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has promoted the Arizona election review and secured the endorsement of a Arizona state senator who was involved.
The “deeply unintelligent” family member will “out-racism anybody, out-misogyny anybody” just for affection, said Donald Trump’s niece.
- Touchdown Wire
How can any high school player stop prized recruit Arch Manning? They can't.
- Miami Herald
Forecasters are also monitoring two other disturbances, including one that has a chance of turning into a tropical depression next week.
- The Telegraph
Sometimes, matchplay isn’t so much about knowing how to hit a putt as when to concede one. This was the moral of the Ryder Cup’s opening match, which saw the Spanish duo of Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia become inspired after a backfiring instance of American “mind games”.
- Golf Channel
Bryson DeChambeau, the Tour's leader in driving distance last year, nearly drove his opening tee shot 364 yards onto the green.
- NBC Sports
Emma Raducanu has split from her coach, less than two weeks after winning the U.S. Open as a qualifier.
TV Reporter Interviews Man On Street About Local NBA Team, Doesn’t Realize He’s On The Team: “Did You Go To Any…Games?”
KUTV Salt Lake City reporter Hayley Crombleholme didn’t realize she had a scoop. Crombleholme was sent to the city’s Vivint Arena to get so-called “man-on-the-street” reactions from fans about the local NBA franchise, the Utah Jazz, requiring proof of vaccination from those attending games this coming season. The reporter found someone who fit the bill: […]
- E! News
After Gabby Petito was found dead in Wyoming, people close to her and Brian Laundrie alleged their relationship had many ups and downs. "They always had some drama," one friend told People.