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Forces: Corruption Killing the Iraqi Air Force

November 22, 2005: The Iraqi air force looks impressive on paper. It has 38 aircraft. These include three C-130 transports, 14 small recon aircraft and 21 helicopters. But there are problems. There are only 200 people in the air force, and not enough maintenance personnel. There's also  not enough money for fuel and spare parts. As a result, six of the recon aircraft are grounded because of maintenance problems, as are most of the helicopters (and five are used only for training.) The money problems are thought to be linked to corruption. In this case,  suppliers of maintenance services and parts not offering large enough bribes to Ministry of Defense officials. This is all done in a "business as usual" manner so often encountered in the Middle East.