EXETER, England On April 23, a U.S. State Department spokesperson told reporters that the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Iraq would go ahead, despite the request of Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani that the contract be frozen. I dont think theres any change in our policy, spokesperson Victoria Nuland said. Barzani told the newspaper Al-Hayat that he was worried that the Iraqi army, under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, would use the F-16s and advanced tanks to push the Kurds outside of Erbil. Barzani also noted that Kurds do not have any power within the Iraqi army, despite the fact that both the Iraqi chief of staff and the head of the air force are Kurdish. Ali al-Shalah, a lawmaker from Malikis State of Law Coalition, told Aswat al-Iraq that the reported discussions between the Iraqi military and Maliki to kick out Kurds from the Salahaddin Resort were unreasonable and just media talk." Shalah added that his bloc wants to resolve issues through dialogue according to the suggestions of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. Ihsan al-Awadi, an MP also with the State of Law, told the newspaper Al-Akhbaar he believes Barzani wants to obstruct the delivery of the F-16s so that the Iraqi military remains weak and he can continue to occupy Kirkuk. States Department spokesperson Nuland reiterated that the U.S. does not want to be involved in intraregional affairs between various Iraqis. I think you know where we are on this, that we want to see the disagreements they have with each other settled through dialogue and through a roundtable process theyve all pledged to join. But that still needs to get off the ground. There are also worries in the U.S. about Malikis growing ties with Iran after a two-visit to the country in April. Republican Senator John McCain, who enjoys good ties with Iraqi Kurdish leaders, asked the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs during a senate hearing if he was not worried that Maliki is greeted in Tehran with full honors. Senator McCain also highlighted the increasing tensions between Baghdad and Barzani. Former vice chief of staff of the United States Army, Gen. Jack Keane, also expressed worries about the growing ties between Maliki and Iran. During a hearing of the subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia on March 21, he suggested that Iraq is now aligned with our number one strategic enemy in the region, Iran. Keane proposed to change the United States relationship with Iraq and pointed to recent military sales, including the F-16s, despite the fact that Iraq is operating against U.S. interests in Syria and Bahrain, aligning itself with Iran and deposing political opponents.