Friday, August 28, 2009
Crew of Al-Maliki's private plane are Iranian and assigned by Quds Force
An Arabic language website disclosed that the crew of Al-Maliki’s plane were Iranian and dispatched by the Quds Force.
According to Watanee website, American officials did not permit the Iranian crew to leave Nouri Al-Maliki’s plane during his latest visit to the United States.
The report added: “This plane has a crew of six persons who are Iranians and hold Iranian passports. This prompted American officials to return them to the Airplane and deny them permission to stay at one of the hotels considered for the Iraqi delegation.
“Without success, Maliki tried to convince the American officials to allow the crew to leave the plane, but in view of U.S. firmness, his efforts failed to succeed.
“The crew of Maliki’s plane, which he uses for his foreign travels, was sent by Iran to Iraq after Maliki became prime minister. This step was taken due to Iran’s fear of security infiltration into an Iraqi crew, which, in turn, created disagreements and protests by many Iraqi pilots who were more qualified.
“A source close to the Iraqi delegation that accompanied Maliki in his trip to U.S. described the Iranian crew’s morale as miserable, adding that they were terrified of being arrested by the American officials. This was the case since the six crew members were hand-picked by Qasem Soleymani, the Commander of Quds Force, for this mission which was described by the source as an intelligence mission.
“The Iraqi airline industry officials were quite surprised when they saw the senior Iraqi official’s persistence in receiving help from the Iranian pilots despite availability of highly qualified and experienced Iraqi pilots in the aviation world.”