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Can Iraq Acquire Russian S-400 Missiles With Looming Threats Of US Sanctions?

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The Iraqi armed forces are keen to upgrade their defence capabilities and interested to acquire S-400 missiles from Russia.

Iraqi forces have already mastered the Dzhigit pedestal launcher (PL) which is intended for single and salvo launches of the Igla-type surface-to-air missiles (SAM).

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The pedestal launcher can be mounted on the ground, in the trench, in a vehicle body, and on a ship’s deck.

Using the design features of the Igla-type SAMs, the Dzhigit offers an innovative ability ─ a salvo launch of two missiles against one target in addition to sequential single launches which helps to enhance the kill probability.

The pedestal launcher can be knocked down into some parts and carried over to the desired firing position.

The report posted on YouTube by the defence department of the Arab Republic speaks about the air defence battalion in the Iraqi command.

The unit is equipped with special equipment that allows you to effectively operate the weapons entrusted on them. Also, fighters have the opportunity to hone their skills with the help of a special simulator that resembles a real battlefield.

On the presented video frames you can see paired “Dzhigit” launchers weighing about 130 kg. Russian-made OPUs are housed in the bodies of American pickups, armed with the Iraqi army.

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MANPADS mounted on the OPU “Dzhigit” are capable of destroying targets flying at altitudes up to 6,000 meters. MANPADS Igla-S is equipped with Mowgli-2M thermal imaging, designed for detection of targets in night conditions.

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Now, Iraq wants to upgrade its defence capabilities. Earlier, there were reports that Baghdad had resumed negotiations with Moscow on the purchase of the S-300 Favorit long-range anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM). This was announced on January 2010 by the head of the Defense and Security Committee of the Iraqi parliament, Mohammad Reza Ali-Haider.

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“I do not know frankly the stage where the negotiations have reached, because I am not involved in them. All I know is that there is approval from the Iraqi leadership for such negotiations,” Ali-Haider stated in an interview.

Earlier, Igor Kurushchenko, a member of the General Council of the Russian Ministry of Defense, stated that Iraq could augment its air defence capabilities with the help of the Russian S-400 missile system.

Kurushchenko emphasised that the assassination of  General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), in an airstrike ordered by US President Donald Trump, clearly meant that Baghdad needs to improve its air defence capabilities.

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Negotiations between Iraq and Russia at some point had to be suspended due to the position of the Trump administration, which threatened sanctions on Iraq. The U.S. State Department had cautioned Iraq and other countries approaching Russia for defence systems that such moves would violate the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which involves an arms deals embargo.

According to Ali-Haider, there are already some Russian systems in Iraq’s air defence, but the country wants to acquire modern air defence systems. Last year, Iraqi officials spoke of Baghdad’s interest in acquiring the more advanced than the S-400 air defence systems. The Iraqi government has decided to purchase S-400 from Russia, Haider Mansour Hadi, the Iraqi ambassador to Moscow, said on May 15.

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Speaking to Sputnik News, Hadi said if there were any objections from Washington over the purchase of S-400, they could be settled through diplomacy, reemphasising that Baghdad maintains good relations with Washington.

He said the decision to go ahead with the purchase is based on Iraq’s right to exercise its sovereignty and to protect the country from external threats. He, however, said Baghdad has not yet decided on the deal.

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Ambassador Hadi’s statement came after a meeting of the Russian-Iraqi intergovernmental commission on trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation which was held in Baghdad on April 23–25. A source in the Russian Ministry of Defense then said that we are talking about two regimental S-400 units.”

Penned By NTicku

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