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According to the French-writing “Zone militaire” (www.opex360.com) website, and according to the French newly-born White paper, the number of Leclerc main battle tanks (MBTs) should decrease down to a hundred only.

These tanks which are phased out of service might be sold on the secondhand market. It could represent a good bargain for a country in need of ground force development. France expects an Iraqi delegation to come for ordnance procurement.

The Iraqi government has already stated that they were willing to buy secondhand “Gazelle” helicopters from the French ALAT (British AAC or American AAVN – means Army Aviation) as they have to replace them by some “Tigre” choppers. Moreover, they would be interested in buying some operationally capable MBTs at a lower price, i.e. Leclercs.

However, the future negociations are deemed to be likely to stall for the Iraqi government does not have much room for manoeuvre. For instance, the delegation might try to have the Iraqi debt cancelled while the French might be paid cash.

Morocco might be interested in buying some Leclerc main battle tanks as well. Rabat is thought to be willing to get a fifty-tank batch even if they had already preferred some F-16s rather than RAFALE fighter a/c before.

Taken from this article (in French): http://www.opex360.com/2008/07/18/des-chars-leclerc-en-irak/

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