Russian military expert questions reports on annulment of $4.2 billion arms deal with Iraq

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Nov. 10, 2012, 5:12 p.m. | Russia — by Interfax-Ukraine

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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Ruslan Pukhov, the director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, questioned reports citing Iraqi government officials as saying that Baghdad had cancelled a $4.2-billion arms sale contract with Russia.

"It is wrong to say that $4-billion contracts have been annulled, because no such contracts exist," Pukhov said. "Only agreements for dozens of millions of U.S. dollars have been concluded," Pukhov told Interfax on Saturday.

"The matter could involve minor military-technological cooperation deals between Russia and Iraq," he said.

At the same time, statements by Iraqi officials to the effect that Baghdad could phase out military-technological cooperation with Russia reflect a complicated internal political situation in that country, he said.

"Iraq today is a not wholly independent state. It significantly depends on the U.S., where many are displeased with the resumption of military-technological cooperation between Moscow and Baghdad. It is obvious that these statements were prompted by unfair competition methods on the weapons market," Pukhov said.

He also suggested that Iraqi Kurds could have lobbied the decision on winding down military-technological cooperation with Russia.

"The situation is developing in such a way that a Kurdish settlement has been created on part of the Iraqi territory, based on which Kurdistan could possibly be established in the future. It is clear that representatives of Kurds in the Iraqi government do not want Baghdad to be armed with weapons that could be used against Kurdish population," Pukhov said.

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