Skip to main content

Iraq, Russia ink weapons deal

From Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
updated 9:29 AM EDT, Fri October 12, 2012
A U.S. Army soldier walks past weapons that arrived in the last U.S. military convoy to depart Iraq on December 18 in Kuwait.
A U.S. Army soldier walks past weapons that arrived in the last U.S. military convoy to depart Iraq on December 18 in Kuwait.
  • Russia has agreed to sell $4.2 billion in arms to Iraq
  • U.S. Embassy: Iraq prefers "United States as its partner of choice for arms"
  • Analyst: The deal with Russia is a sign that Iraq is looking beyond Washington for weapons

Baghdad (CNN) -- Two days after Russian and Iraqi officials announced a major weapons deal, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad stressed that the United States also has billions of dollars worth of military equipment deals with Iraq.

"We would note that the government of Iraq has consistently indicated a strong preference for the United States as its partner of choice for arms purposes," a U.S. Embassy spokesperson said in a written response to questions from CNN.

On Tuesday, the Russian state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported a $4.2 billion deal to deliver attack helicopters and mobile air-defense systems to Iraq.

One analyst told the news agency the deal was a clear sign that Iraq was starting to look beyond Washington for weapons.

Romney: Hope is not a strategy
Vets suffer while waiting for benefits
Failed power-sharing agreement in Iraq

"It's clear that America's influence on Iraq has been excessive," Ruslan Pukhov of the Center for Analysis of Strategy and Technologies told RIA Novosti. "The Shiite government of this country is starting to conduct itself more independently of Washington, and more looking toward Iran."

Iraq has initiated 467 foreign military sales with the United States worth more than $12.3 billion, the U.S. Embassy said Thursday.

But some Iraqi officials have complained that weapons deals with the United States are progressing slowly.

"We fully support efforts to purchase equipment to meet its legitimate defense needs and we are committed to working with them to fulfill these military equipment orders as quickly as possible," the embassy said.

Word of the deals with Russia comes several weeks after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden asked Iraq for help in stopping weapons from reaching Syria.

U.S. lawmakers travel to Baghdad as Iraq denies role in Syrian conflict

Biden stressed to the Iraqi prime minister "the need to prevent any state from taking advantage of Iraq's territory or airspace to send weapons to Syria."

Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki "expressed the Iraqi government's discomfort with some informal U.S parties of stirring suspicions about Iraq's position toward Syrian crisis," and that Iraq has held a "firm position in rejecting any weapon supplies or violent activity over Iraq's territories or its air spaces," according to a release from his office.

Opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's rule are concerned about the shuttling of arms to his government by entities such as Iran. Iraq borders Syria and Iran.

Read more: Who is arming Syria?

Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.