USA stops Russia from entering Iraqi arms market
Experts believe that the rumors about the failure of the arms contract between Russia and Iraq could be provoked. As Pravda.Ru reported, Western publications referred to a representative of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki who said that Iraq had decided to terminate the multi-billion dollar deal for the purchase of arms from Russia due to concerns about corruption. Iraqi Defense Minister Sadun al-Dulaimi denied this information later.
According to Kommersant, neither the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, nor defense export company Rosoboronexport that was supposed to implement the deal has received a notice of termination of the contract. No adequate information has been received through diplomatic channels either.
However, sources at the government say that there could be a third party involved in the scandal. "The United States has made significant efforts to prevent the transaction, - a source in the Russian government circles said. - I won't be surprised if they try to prevent or complicate it post factum. The Americans have not been in Iraq for so many years to give the arms market of Russia," another expert from the military and diplomatic circles said on conditions anonymity.
According to the publication, the opponents of the transaction primarily appealed to the amount of the deal - 4.2 billion dollars - trying to convince Baghdad that "in view of the range of the delivery the price was much too high."
"There are reports that a number of Russia's competitors in the arms market were hinting Baghdad to corruption. They were supposedly saying that the real value of the agreement concluded with Russia was actually much smaller, and the difference with the sum specified therein would be lost somewhere," said a source close to the Russian defense industry. According to the source, after the release of information about the transaction, "the West started this media war against Russia."
In late September, Director of the Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade, Igor Korotchenko, said that Baghdad was unlikely to buy arms and military equipment from Moscow in the sum of 4.3 billion dollars, because the United States would block Iraq's major purchases of Russian weapons, The View newspaper said.
According to him, the apparent dominance of U.S. companies in the structure of the Iraqi arms imports will be preserved at least for the next five years. For existing contracts the U.S. will receive $3 billion from 2012 to 2015.
A representative of Nouri al-Maliki's government, Ali Mousavi, has already announced that the Iraqi leadership was intended to continue the negotiations with Russia regarding new contract for the supply of arms. The termination of the previous agreements was based on "precaution." On October 9 it was reported that delegations of Iraqi military experts headed by Iraq's Acting Minister of Defense Saadoun Duleymi signed a number of contracts in April, July and August of this year in the sphere of military and technical cooperation with Russia worth more than $ 4.2 billion. Reportedly, according to the contract, Iraq will receive MiG-29M/M2 fighter jets, armored vehicles, air defense systems such as 42 "Panzer-C1" complexes, and 30 Mi-28N combat helicopters.