Iraq Reopens Negotiations For Purchase Of Russian S-300 Air Defense Systems

With Iraq's airspace being frequently violated by American and even Israeli bombing raids against the country's paramilitary units backed by Iran of late, Iraq has for the last several months considered purchasing Russian air defense and missile systems, including both the S-300 and more advanced S-400, however, it has been met with fierce pressure from the US. 

And now Russian media is reporting authorities in Baghdad have formally resumed talks to possibly acquire the S-300 systems. Head of the Iraqi Parliament’s Security and Defense Committee, Mohammad Reza, has indicated negotiations were renewed following the latest attacks initiated nearly two weeks ago on Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces

"The issue was supposed to be solved several months ago after attacks on Shiite militia al-Ḥashd ash-Sha'bi [Popular Mobilization Forces, PMF] bases in Baghdad and other provinces created the need for such air defenses", the lawmaker was quoted in Russia's Sputnik as saying. 

Russian S-300 anti-air systems file.

It was first revealed in September that Baghdad was mulling the purchase of the S-300. This after a summer in which Israel brazenly launched multiple drone and aerial attacks on PMF bases which at first had 'mysterious' origins, but was later confirmed to have the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) behind them. 

According to Iraqi official sources, those initial purchase talks were quashed when Washington vehemently objected, also at a moment parliament officials and the public were increasingly angered over unilateral US bombing raids against PMF sites conducted without the knowledge or approval of Iraq's government and military. 

At the point when talks were initiated with Russia in September, international reports counted nine strikes in total on Iraq's paramilitary forces — in some cases while they were allegedly operating just across the country's western border with Syria. 

Prior alleged Israeli airstrike on a military base southwest of Baghdad which took place in August. Image source: AP.

This had also fueled speculation that the Trump administration had greenlighted stepped up Israeli attacks on Iranian proxies in the region as an alternative to direct war with Iran.

However, this simultaneously bolstered the ongoing political movement in Iraqi parliament to have US troops expelled once in for all, especially over charges they had invited in and cooperated with a foreign power to attack sovereign Iraqi soil.