Russia, Iraq sign $4.2 billion arms deal
Russia confirms $4.2 billion
in arms deals with Iraq, and become Iraq's
second-biggest arms supplier.
Iraqi Premier Nouri al-Maliki (R) met in
Moscow Tuesday his Russian counterpart Dmitry
Medvedev (L). Russia confirms
$4.2 billion in arms deals with Iraq.
9, 2012. Photo: AFP
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Russian media said Iraq had purchased 30 Mi-28
attack helicopters as part of the deal. Photo: AFP
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki delivers a
speech during his lecture at the Ministry of Foreign
affairs in Moscow.
October 9, 2012.
Russian media said Iraq had purchased 42 Pantsir-S1
surface-to-air missile systems. Photo: Ria Novosti
October 9, 2012
MOSCOW, — Russia on Tuesday announced signing
more than $4.2 billion in arms deals with Iraq,
making it the largest weapons supplier of the
violence-torn Middle East nation after the United
The groundbreaking deals were disclosed a day ahead
of talks between visiting Iraq Prime Minister Nuri
al-Maliki and President Vladimir Putin that offered
Russia a rare chance to build up its dwindling
contacts in the Middle East.
A joint statement issued after Maliki's talks on
Tuesday with his counterpart Dmitry Medvedev said
the contracts were agreed during delegation visits
this year and totalled "more than $4.2 billion."
Russian media said the deliveries -- agreed over the
preceding few months and not in a package expected
to have been unveiled this week -- covered 30 Mi-28
attack helicopters and 42 Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air
Further discussions were also said to be under way
for Iraq's eventual acquisition of a large batch of
and helicopters along with heavy weaponry.
The joint statement said the deals were secretly
discussed as early as April and revisited against in
July and August during visits to Russia by Iraqi
delegations that included Defence Minister Saadoun
Russia is seeking to take its ties with Iraq to a
new level and win almost certain support for its
controversial position on Syria during the powerful
Shiite prime minister's first visit to Moscow in
nearly four years.
The battles ripping apart Syria threaten to unseat
Moscow's sole unwavering Arab ally Bashar al-Assad
and make it all the more crucial for Russia to forge
regional alliances elsewhere.
Maliki came to Moscow voicing a position on the 19
months of bloodshed that was almost an exact
reflection of Russia's.
"We support neither the Syrian opposition nor the
government in Damascus," Maliki said in a speech at
the foreign ministry guest house.
"Iraq and Russia should cooperate on regional
relations so that we can find a peaceful solution to
the existing crisis," Maliki told Medvedev.
The Putin meeting in particular should offer Russia
an opportunity to create a new partnership and
rekindle ties that have lagged since the toppling of
the secular Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein in the
2003 US invasion.
The United States became the main foreign player in
Shiite-majority Iraq as the country in turn went on
to forge its own new relationship with Iran --
leaving Moscow on the outside.
The more recent toppling of pro-Kremlin regime in
Libya and rise of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt have
left Moscow viewing Syria as its last major Middle
East outpost and a vital remaining access route to
the Mediterranean Sea.
Maliki for his part will be returning home secure in
the knowledge he has enlisted a brand new supplier
of weapons that -- unlike the United States -- makes
no political demands of him.
"As far as our arms-purchasing policies are
concerned, we do not ask for anyone's advice first.
We do not intend to be a part of someone else's
(export) monopoly," Maliki stressed in reference to
the United States.
"We have good relations with the United States and
Iran. We do not want to live surrounded by constant
conflict. We buy weapons based on the needs that we
feel we have."
Maliki is travelling with Iraq's oil and trade
minister as well as the chief of its investment
commission -- two officials in a perfect position to
approve new investments from Russia's state energy
holdings Rosneft and Gazprom as well as the private
Both Russian giants enjoyed lucrative deals in the
country before those were restructured following the
2003 fall of the Saddam regime.
Dmitry Zaks, afp
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