Somebody please refresh my memory on this. My recollection is that Iraq’s air force is in a pretty primitive state because that’s what we would allow them. I have a vague recollection of their chafing because we wouldn’t let them get jets, just a few helicopters.
It takes a while to create an air force from scratch. Even after we’d withdrawn there’s infrastructure to build, orders to place, and people to train, none of which can be done instantaneously.
But I’m fuzzy on this. Does anybody have better information?