The Iraqi government press-secretary pointed out that official Baghdad has not signed any agreement on buying Russian weapons yet. What the final document will look like will be determined by the commission specially set up for revising the previous agreement. A new delegation will be sent to Moscow to sign the new contract.
At the beginning of October, during Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s visit to Moscow, the sides signed a package deal in the field of military and technological cooperation worth $4bln 200mln. At present, the news from Iraq is very contradictory. Yesterday, a prime minister’s spokesman announced the cancellation of the deal. Several hours later, Iraqi Defence Minister denied that information. He assured that the contract was being fulfilled and called the previous statements the result of misunderstanding which occurred because the information about the contract had not reached the Iraqi anti-corruption committee in time. Chairman of the Public Council of the Russian Defence Ministry Igor Korotchenko also sees misunderstanding among the Iraqi political elite. He spoke about this on the air of The Voice of Russia.
“Various political groups are struggling either for or against fulfilling this contract. Washington is putting powerful pressure on the Iraqi government because the US does not want Iraq to buy such an enormous worth of Russian weapons."
Iraq is buying Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft missile systems and 30 MI-28N Havoc combat helicopters worth $4bln 200mln. The deal was to become the largest one after the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. The US definitely looks displeased with these developments.
Iraqi opposition MPs are urging the government to give this situation a second thought. They believe that the country is facing serious economic and political problems and this is the wrong time to spend fortunes on weapons. However, the opponents of the deal also have weightier arguments prompted from abroad. The US remains the guarantor of security for many representatives of the Iraqi political establishment, expert in Oriental studies Sergey Demidenko points out.
“Certain forces in Iraq need the US more than the US needs Iraq. At present, Americans are minimizing their activities in the Middle East, both political and military. They do not need Middle Eastern oil as much as they did 20 years ago. Iraq will have a hard life without the US. The entire state system in Iraq was established by Americans and it will not be able to run smoothly without the US financial and political aid.”
Announcer: One of the reasons for the scandal about the expensive contract could have been Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s suspicions of corruption among Iraqi state officials. Baghdad has already started an investigation of this situation. Moscow is going to request an official explanation of the future of the Russian-Iraqi contract soon.