There’s obviously going to be a lot of snarky commentary about the Army’s decision to sell its most sophisticated counter-IED technology to the Iraqi government. The immediate objection is that the sale to Iraq is tantamount to a technology transfer to Iran, given the latter’s infiltration of the Iraqi government with sympathizers and loyalists. Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time that weapons destined for Iraqi use wound up in the hands of insurgents or worse. But regardless of whether or not it’s handed over or captured, battlefield technology is always at risk of falling into enemy hands. And the Military.com article goes on to identify the variety of ways in which the units have been “secured” (at the cost of a two-year delay in the sale) in order to minimize any strategic advantage they might give to unfriendlies.
Nevertheless, the article does illustrate a major structural weakness in our regional strategy, which is based to a pretty large degree at this point on militarily propping up regimes that for various reasons (whether conflicting interests or internal instability or both) we don’t really trust. It brings to mind the case of Pakistan, where nuclear warhead safeguard technology was not shared for fear of it winding up in the wrong hands. The old formula, My enemy’s enemy is my friend, makes for a pretty lonely feeling when you’re inextricably caught up in a conflict where your enemy’s only real enemy is you.