Iraq is currently negotiating with Russia to acquire the S-400 air defense missile systems but could face a possible U.S. veto, according to Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jaafari.
“We want to purchase any weapons that will strengthen the security of Iraq and the country’s Armed Forces. At the same time, we respect regional and international commitments. There are a number of obstacles on the path [of buying] S-400 systems. The Iraqi side is still negotiating, and when the final decision is made, it will be considered,” Jaafari told Sputnik.
Ammar Taamah, a member of the Iraqi parliament security and defense committee believes that buying military equipment from various countries “ensure the best defense and highest combat capability of its army.”
“If the Iraqi army possesses weapons from different countries, the military will be able to choose the most suitable kind of arms for a particular situation. In addition, by competing with each other, manufacturers will offer their best conditions and prices,” Taamah told Sputnik.
Hakim Al Zamili, head of the Iraqi parliament’s security and defense committee, told Al-Ghad press daily that Iraq has the right to defend its territory from air attacks.
“Iraq has the right to own cutting-edge weapons to defend its territory and air space from air attacks… Terrorism targets our country abundant in places sacred for every Iraqi. There are signs and warnings that extremists might use aircraft for attacks on those shrines, which cause lots of worries and anxiety in the country… America is a developed country, not less than any other. However, the World Trade Center was attacked by planes… So Iraq intends to possess such a system as S-400 to defend the land, shrines and air space. We are serious about that…. [The U.S.] is unwilling to equip Iraq with arms and to supply it with systems that will ensure comprehensive protection in its territory and air space…but wants Iraq to be an open arena for realization of [US] plans. That is why, Iraq needs to have own [anti-aircraft] systems, it is our right to obtain them.”
The fact that Iraq would face a U.S. veto is pure hypocrisy since two if its allies are operating the S-400 missile systems: Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Even Qatar is interested in acquiring the S-400 missile systems, proving its effectiveness. Those three countries have been buying billions of dollars of American-made equipment and the United States never vetoed the S-400 procurement.
So why Iraq? In fact, by acquiring the S-400 missile system, Iraq would have a far-better chance of dictating America’s presence in its country, especially when it comes to air operations thus lessening America’s geopolitical influence in the region.
It feels like if the United States is not willing to let Iraq buy S-400 missile systems, it will deal a great blow in the American military-industrial complex’s sales and influence in Baghdad. Adding to that, by vetoing the sale of the air defense missile systems, America would indirectly declare that the S-400 is a very effective weapon that could pose serious problem to its air force in the future. Ultimately, Iraq would turn towards Russia and China to fill the gap left by the absence of American-made weapons.