Yahoo News reports: Little noticed among the disturbing tableau of images coming out of Iraq in recent weeks is a changing of the guard evident at the Baghdad International Airport (BIAP). As the crisis has deepened, U.S. contractors, U.S. Embassy personnel and most of the U.S. service members from the embassy’s Office of Security Cooperation have abandoned the threatened capital. The exodus has coincided with Russian contractors and support personnel pouring into BIAP to help launch the 25 Russian SU-25 warplanes that Moscow is rushing to Iraq in its hour of need.
Thus in June U.S. contractors employed by Bell Helicopter, Beechcraft and General Dynamics Land Systems have all pulled their support personnel out of Iraq, depriving Iraqis of maintenance and repair for their U.S.-manufactured Bell ARH-407 armed reconnaissance helicopters, Beechcraft T-6 military trainer aircraft and M-1 tanks. Given the deteriorating security situation, a knowledgeable source says that virtually all U.S. contractor personnel have left Iraq.
“When the crisis worsened U.S. corporate leadership made a decision to pull all their guys out of Iraq, and the U.S. government took a hands-off approach that left those decisions up to each company,” said the U.S. source in Baghdad. “We’re discovering that U.S. companies in this crisis don’t have a high tolerance for risk. Unfortunately, the Russians are much more tolerant of risk.” [Continue reading…]