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SEPTEMBER 2020

Iraq and Russia Negotiation on Purchase of S-300 Missile Defense System

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Iraq and Russia Negotiation on Purchase of S-300 Missile Defense System

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Iraq resumed talks with Moscow on the purchase of a S-300 missile defense system, the head of the Iraqi parliament’s defense and security committee, Muhammad Ridha told RIA.

He further emphasized that the contract on the purchase should’ve been concluded long ago.

“A few months ago, after attacks on the Shiite militia bases of Al-Hashd al-Shaabi in Baghdad and other provinces, the need for these weapons arose and the responsible party resumed negotiations on the S-300 contract,” Ridha said.

He didn’t specify what stage the negotiations were at, but he said that the Iraqi leadership had authorized it.

“We expect US opposition in this matter,” Ridha added.

He noted that earlier negotiations were suspended due to the position of Washington, which threatened sanctions against states that purchase Russian systems and weapons.

According to Ridha, there are already some Russian systems in Iraq’s air defense, but the country wants to acquire modern systems. In his opinion, the share of Russian weapons should exceed 50%, since it they are much cheaper than American-made ones.

In August there was a series of airstrikes on the bases of the militia Al-Hashd al-Shaabi. Reportedly, the attacks were carried out via Israeli drones.

There were no official confirmations or claims from militia leaders or other Iraqi officials, nor did Israel confirm any of the information. According to the version released immediately after the explosion, the cause of the tragedy was a violation of ammunition storage instructions.

Al-Hashd al-Shaabi was created in the summer of 2014, after ISIS militants captured the Iraqi city of Mosul. The militia claimed that it consisted of more than one hundred thousand people. Separate units participated in battles in Syria on the side of the Damascus’ government forces.

This is another example of Iraq’s distancing from the US, which is completely expected, following Washington’s recent actions in the country. After all, the US struck the positions of Kata’Ib Hezbollah, which is a part of the Popular Mobilization Units and a part of the Iraqi military. It further assassinated Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on Iraqi soil.

Even prior to this calls for the US forces deployed in the country to leave have been rather common, as such it is no surprise that any threats of sanctions by Washington are simply disregarded.

In addition, Turkey purchased Russian S-400 missile defense systems, tested them successfully and plans to use them, all despite the United States’ continues attempts at pressure. It is fully expect for Iraq, and other countries to begin freely purchasing the cheaper (and often arguably superior) equipment that Russia sells, since the US hegemony appears to be waning.

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