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Second Batch of F-16s Sought for Iraq: The Pentagon has notified Congress of the proposed sale of an additional 18 new F-16 fighters to Iraq or help reconstitute that nation's fledgling air force. Already, the United States is supplying Iraq with 18 F-16s and associated weapons, equipment, and support services under a foreign military sales arrangement. This potential second transaction, announced on Monday and worth an estimated $2.3 billion, would double that total to 36 new-build F-16s. "The proposed sale will allow the Iraqi air force to modernize its air force by acquiring western-interoperable fighter aircraft, thereby enabling Iraq to support both its own air defense needs and coalition operations," states the Defense Department's release on Monday. "We hope that the Congress will approve another group of F-16 airplanes to Iraq because our air force was destroyed completely during the war that Iraq entered into," stated Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki on Monday during a press conference with President Obama at the White House.