By Mustafa Saadoun for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
Has Russia begun to play a role in Iraq?
Member of the Iraqi parliament’s Security and Defense Committee Hakim al-Zamili announced May 9 that negotiations were underway to buy an S-400 air missile system from Moscow.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said during his meeting April 26 with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi that “the number of Russian companies in Iraq is on the rise.”
Ihsan al-Shammari, head of the Iraqi Centre for Political Thought, concurred. He told Al-Monitor that “Russia is working to compete with multinational companies in central and southern Iraq, particularly in the field of energy.”
The Iraqi government has denied concluding any deal with Russia to supply Baghdad with S-400 anti-aircraft missiles, but confirming Iraq’s right to import weaponry from any country in the world.
“So far, Iraq has not concluded any deal with Russia to import the S-400 air defence system” government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi stated on February 26.
“Talk about this deal is only in the media. This matter is not subject to political, but rather purely military and technical considerations” al-Hadithi said.
“The Iraqi Ministry of Defence is the only authority competent to supply [the army] with weapons and other military equipment needed by the armed forces. It is the only body that determines the nature, type, form and source of weapons Iraq needs”.