Russia Seeks to Rebuild Influence in Iraq [View all]
Almost one decade after American troops overthrew Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the Kremlin is seeking to regain some of the influence it enjoyed in the country during the near quarter century of Saddam Hussein’s rule.
Russia’s president and prime minister rolled out the red carpet last week for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who came to Moscow with his defense and trade ministers and a large group of business leaders. The first priority was negotiating a $4 billion weapons deal, and Russian President Vladimir Putin got straight to the point.
“Iraqi specialists are familiar with our weapons systems, which are highly recommended,” Mr. Putin told the visiting Iraqi leader. “And I'm confident that we'll find a mutual understanding in these important directions, which will unquestionably increase not only returns in economic trade, but will also increase trust between the two governments.”
Alexander Golts, a military analyst, said that under Saddam Hussein, 90 percent of Iraq’s arms came from Russia, or from its predecessor state, the Soviet Union. The new weapons package is to include air cargo planes and anti-aircraft guns.