Iraq buys S-400 missile systems, US warned Baghdad for possible sanctions
BAGHDAD, (BM) – The Iraqi Parliament’s Security and Defense Committee will push the government to purchase Russian S-400 systems. Committee member Badr al-Ziyadi explained that a deal with Russia was needed to diversify sources of arms supplies, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
In the current conditions, the country’s leadership cannot rely solely on Western aid, according to parliament. True, the purchase issue itself is complicated by a whole range of factors, including the incomplete process of forming the Iraqi cabinet.
Al-Ziyadi said the topic of the acquisition of S-400 was raised in conversation with members of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (AF) of Iraq. Now he should be considered by the Prime Minister, to the post of which Mustafa al-Kadimi was nominated.
True, the politician who headed the National Intelligence Service has a different task now – to get approval and create a stable cabinet of ministers, which will not only not meet resistance from the Iraqi street, but will also arrange the main external players influencing the situation in the country. Thus, according to al-Ziyadi, the final decision on the S-400 can only be made after the new Iraqi government has been launched.
“Permission to acquire such complex systems requires a large financial allocation and a political decision,” al-Ziyadi admitted. “We cannot rely solely on the western camp – we need to lean toward the eastern camp.” Earlier, the parliamentarian complained that defense enterprises from the United States and Israel put pressure on the authorities in Baghdad so that they would not discuss the purchase of military equipment with other states.
“There are companies and businessmen who are trying to prevent Iraq from concluding contracts for the purchase of weapons in developed countries,” al-Ziyadi said. Nevertheless, the parliamentarian promised that the Iraqi leadership would still discuss arms deals not only with the Russian Federation, but also with China and Ukraine.
The US State Department publicly warned official Baghdad about the consequences of expanding military-technical cooperation (MTC) with Moscow and the possible conclusion of a deal on the S-400. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Middle East Affairs Joey Hood said that the acquisition of air defense systems from Russia would lead to sanctions.
“So we advise our partners not to make such purchases,” the diplomat said. The reason for such warnings at the beginning of this year was a publication in the Wall Street Journal, according to which Baghdad is conducting consultations with Moscow because of expectations that the military contingent of the international coalition led by the United States will leave Iraq completely.
The Russian side, in turn, argues that it is not afraid of the risk of imposing US sanctions in response to a possible sale of S-400 to Baghdad. “Americans are threatening sanctions to anyone who intends to develop military-technical cooperation,” said Sergey Ryabkov, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, on the sidelines of the Gaidar Forum. “This is not news, but a reflection of the policy pursued by Washington in order to implement its goal of dominating, eliminating economic competitors who offer partners in the international market products that meet their needs in terms of their parameters, price indicators. We are not afraid of these sanctions, we are ready to confront them.”
After cases of shelling of American targets in Iraq by Shiite militants became more frequent in recent months, the US Armed Forces command ordered the deployment of its own Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM) in the republic. Interestingly, at the same time, an international coalition led by the United States decided to reduce its concentration at some key military facilities in Iraq, delegating responsibility to local security forces.
The Pentagon argues that this relocation process was planned in advance and was not associated with the threat of a new coronavirus or with military tension. US Defense Secretary Mark Esper assured that his country is still working in Iraq working to “contain Iran.”
“It should be borne in mind that the Iraqi Parliament’s Security and Defense Committee has interesting leaders who are determined to strengthen and strengthen the legislative base for intelligence, security training organizations, and the police,” the program coordinator of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs told NG Ruslan Mammadov. “I think that in connection with the S-400 topic, some deputies have certain expectations: if the new Prime Minister approves this request now, he will be able to gain the confidence and votes of the members of the Security and Defense Committee. This is a serious internal history. Now for al-Kadimi every deputy counts. To approve the cabinet is not so simple.”
The expert does not believe that the issue of missile defense is the highest priority for Iraq, especially in the face of falling oil prices and the spread of a new type of coronavirus. “There are many other relevant topics for the political elite and for ordinary Iraqis,” Mammadov said. – There is a need for reforms, despite the fact that the country’s leadership is not yet ready for changes. The new elections, which may take place ahead of schedule, promise to show very interesting results, if only because changes were made to the law on parliamentary elections, and the very representation of political forces runs the risk of being slightly different than it was before.”
Nevertheless, the analyst says that the topic of S-400 has its relevance due to the fact that Iraq seeks to gain sovereignty. “In this regard, control over such systems would allow Iraqis to at least stop risks coming from third countries,” Mammadov said. True, in his opinion, it would be useful for the Russian leadership in a situation with the possible sale of S-400 to official Baghdad to take a wait and see attitude, because the political situation in Iraq has not yet stabilized.
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