It was a week ago when we learned that in yet another diplomatic masterstroke, Russia's Vladimir Putin took advantage of the vacuum in relations between the US (which now wants its heretofore puppet prime minister in Iraq removed) and the Iraqi PM (who has been increasingly vocal against US allies in the region, namely Saudi Arabia, and US demands for a coalition government) and offered his "complete support" to the Iraqi leader. Yesterday the Iraqi leader has decided to take Putin up on his offer (especially since as we reported previously the Iraqi air force is currently made up of all of two "equipped" Cessna jets) and has announced he has bought used Russian jets which he will use instead of US fighter planes in his war against ISIS.
As BBC reports, citing Maliki, "Jets from Russia and Belarus will hopefully make a key difference in the fight against ISIS in Iraq." He expressed regrets over Iraq's contract with the US, saying their "jets are taking too long to arrive."
"God willing within one week this force will be effective and will destroy the terrorists' dens," he told BBC Arabic.
Mr Maliki says Iraq has ordered Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia, possibly similar to the one pictured.
In the meantime, the prime minister took another chance to poke the US in the eye, which despite sending "weaponized consultants" or whatever Obama calls troops and special CIA agents these days, has so far failed to deliver on its promised fighter jets to the civil war-torn country. Maliki criticized the process of purchasing US jets as “long-winded,” adding that the radicals could have been repelled if Iraq had proper air defense.
"I'll be frank and say that we were deluded when we signed the contract [with the US]," Maliki said. "We should have sought to buy other jet fighters like British, French and Russian to secure the air cover for our forces; if we had air cover we would have averted what had happened," he went on.
Maliki said Iraq bought second-hand jet fighters from Russia and Belarus "that should arrive in Iraq in two or three days." He was speaking to the BBC's Arabic service in his first interview for an international broadcaster since Isis - the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant - began its major offensive.
The prime minister also confirmed that Syrian forces had carried out air strikes against Islamist militants at a border crossing between Iraq and Syria. He said Iraq had not requested the strikes but that it "welcomed" them. "They carry out their strikes and we carry out ours and the final winners are our two countries," he said.
Ironically, this also means that, at least optically, the US is now alligned with Russia as well as Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia in the "all against one" fight against ISIS which continued to consolidate its territory in Iraq and Syria.
What it really means is that Obama has asked, and is about to get $500 milllion more to arm ISIS and its al-Qaeda peers in Syria, which in turn the Iraq air force will now use Russian jets to bomb.
What is the definition of a proxy war again?