Would Iraq Really Purchase the S-400 from Russia?


Would Iraq Really Purchase the S-400 from Russia?

Mark Episkopos

Security,

Or is this national security fake news? 

Is Russia really trying to sell their flagship S-400 missile defense system to Iraq? Not so fast.

A string of reports alleged earlier this week that Russia is seeking to export the S-400 to Iraq. To be sure, it’s a timely and compelling narrative. The Trump administration’s decision to order a lethal airstrike against top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani has cast doubt over the future of continued U.S. military presence in the Middle East, culminating in the recent Iraqi parliament vote for the expulsion of U.S. troops from Iraqi soil.

It’s not unreasonable to assume that Washington’s peer competitors would try to fill the potential military vacuum left by a US withdrawal from Iraq, and a prospective decision by Baghdad to import the S-400 would send a clear message about Iraq’s geopolitical reorientation in the post-Soleimani world.

There is only one problem: to date, no evidence exists to support the notion that the Russian government is taking concrete steps to sign an S-400 export contract with Iraq. All of the speculation on this subject is premised on one statement given by a prominent Russian defense commentator, Igor Korotchenko, to Russian state news outlet RIA: “Iraq is a partner of Russia in the field of military-technical cooperation, and the Russian Federation can supply the necessary funds to ensure the sovereignty of the country and reliable protection of airspace, including the supply of S-400 missiles and other components of the air defence system…”

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