Iraq to inquire in China, Russia, Ukraine to buy air defense systems

Iraq plans to send delegations to China, Russia and Ukraine to discuss the purchase of modern air defense systems, an Iraqi lawmaker said, reported by Tasnim news agency. The U.S. is absent from the list of possible providers.

Iraq to inquire in China Russia Ukraine to buy air defense systems
Buk-M3 air defense system, a potential choice by Iraq? (Picture source: Army Recognition)

"The delegations intend to visit such countries as Russia, China and Ukraine, to negotiate the purchase of modern systems to protect Iraq’s airspace," Badr al-Ziyadi, a member of the Parliamentary Security And Defense Committee, told Arabic-language al-Sabaah newspaper, according to TASS. "The Iraqi parliament is right now forming a joint executive and legislative delegation to visit the developed countries and sign contracts on procuring advanced weapons,” he added.

According to al-Ziyadi, the lawmakers are looking into obtaining weapons in exchange for Iraqi oil shipments, similar to the "oil for reconstruction" agreement signed with China recently. “Many nations have indicated (their) readiness to ship modern weapons to Iraq in exchange for oil. This is the best way to ensure the shipment of good weapons to Iraq without corruption and bribery,” the lawmaker said.

On January 16, Ali al-Ghanmi, a member of the Parliamentary Security and Defense Committee, dismissed US threats to impose sanctions on Baghdad over its procurement of advanced Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems, saying such pressure is far away from realities on the ground. The United States has already warned Iraq of the consequences of extending military cooperation with Russia, and striking deals to purchase advanced weaponry, particularly S-400 missile systems.