Another factor is that both Kurds and Sunni Arabs, who are minorities in Iraq, may push for a continued U.S. presence as insurance against a resumption of the sectarian warfare that ravaged the country between 2005 and 2007.
“Some of the long-term deployments will reflect the long-term uncertainties in Iraq,” said Thomas Donnelly, a defense policy analyst at the center-right American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. “The Kurds will feel more secure and behave better if there is a long-term deployment of American troops in Iraqi Kurdistan.”
He added, “It is also the case that the Sunni community will have a similar calculus.”
The Democrat-led Congress, which has pressed for a full withdrawal from Iraq, could present a roadblock to Iraq’s military procurements.
Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the center-left Center for American Progress and a former assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, said Congress likely would not object to selling Iraq American equipment with one caveat: “I think Congress would say, ‘yes,’ assuming the Iraqis are not in the midst of a full-fledged civil war.”