Iraq has resumed talks with Russia regarding its purchase of S-300 air defense systems, days after attack on its air bases hosting American troops.
"Iraq has resumed its talks on the purchase of Russian S-300s. We should've purchased them already. I'm not sure which stage the talks are currently at, but they have definitely been approved by the Iraqi government," RIA Novosti reports, citing Mohammed Ridha, head of Iraq’s parliamentary defense and security committee.
In the interim of January 7 & 8, Tehran launched missile attacks and struck Iraqi bases housing US military personnel to avenge the death of Iranian top general, Qasem Soleimani.
The US reportedly tried to prevent Iraq from buying Russian systeems. "I expect the US to oppose this deal, because it was Washington that caused the previous negotiations to be broken off," Ridha said.
“Several months ago, following attacks on bases belonging to the Shiite militia, the Popular Mobilization Forces, in Baghdad and other provinces, the need for this weapon arose, and the responsible party resumed negotiations on the S-300 contract. We are expecting opposition from the US in this matter,” he explained.
Ridha pointed out that the proportion of Russian military hardware in Iraq could exceed 50% because they are "more reliable and cheaper." Among these include older air defense systems it wishes to replace.
In May last year, Iraqi Ambassador to Russia Haidar Mansour Hadi said that Iraq intends to buy Russian S-400 “Triumph” anti-air missile systems, but did not specify a time frame for the deal. These have been bought by Turkey and India in the recent years.
Iraq is sending a team of delegates to Russia, China and Ukraine to negotiate barter trade- accept weapons from them in exchange for Iraqi oil. Baghdad has listed air defense systems such as S-300s and S-400s, as the primary item of procurement, especially after the heavily fortified "Green Zone" in the capital city of Baghdad hosting US Embassy and other important buildings was struck by Iranian missiles and rockets over the past few weeks
Iraqi officials have expressed fear of an economic meltdown if Washington imposed sanctions that it had previously hinted at, including freezing oil-revenue linked bank accounts in the United States in which Baghdad holds an estimated $35 Billion. Oil revenues constitute up to 90% of the states budget and are held in US
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