Putin offers military aid to Iraq as Abadi visits Moscow

Moscow offers military aid to Iraq in order to cope with ISIS militancy which gradually increases its presence towards Baghdad

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Russia proposed military and other aid facilities to Iraq as Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi visited Moscow on Thursday following the security threats posed by ISIS militants have been undermining the Baghdad’s central authority.

The ISIS militants at the weekend captured Ramadi, the main centre of Anbar province, which is strategically located near by the capital Baghdad and enables the militant groups to take the control of a huge area between Iraq’s northern Mosul province and northeast Syria.

The ISIS group also seized the ancient village of Palmyra on Wednesday as the Syrian government troops withdrew from the region after fierce fighting with the militants, a move which provided the full control of a wider area between Syria and Iraq.

Abadi went to Moscow amid the security deficit caused by the ISIS advancement for which he seemed keen to get Russian support despite what he says “certain forces" had advised him to cancel the trip.

Meanwhile Russian President Vladimir Putin warmly welcomed Iraq’s new PM who was appointed last year to his post after the dismissal of former Nuri al Maliki government by the US and Sunni establishment in Iraq.

Putin stated that Iraq was an "old and reliable partner in the region" and said they were expanding cooperation in the area of military technology with Baghdad, which is technically regarded as a US ally since the American military intervention.

"Our relations are developing very successfully ... Our companies are working in your country and we are talking of investments in the order of billions of dollars," Putin said during the joint press conference with Abadi at the Kremlin Palace.

Since the late Cold War era onwards, Russian political and economic ties with Iraq have been quite powerful until the US invasion of Iraq.

On his part, Abadi said he had wanted to underline the significance of Iraq’s relations with Russia and need for a Russian support against the militancy in his country.

"We are focused on developing ties in all spheres, including military-technical cooperation, economic cooperation and cooperation in the oil and gas sector," Abadi said.

Before Abadi’s arrival in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had said early Thursday Russia was eager to help Iraq to cope with the ISIS threat that makes the country unmanageable in the past one year.

Russia’s move to offer military aid to Iraq just came after when the Pentagon announced on Thursday the US will send 2,000 anti-tank weapons to Baghdad in June to facilitate combating the ISIS, which uses car bomb attacks to advance towards government-held areas.

A senior US State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday the US was planning to send an anti-tank missile system in order to struggle with the ISIS group which used 30 vehicle suicide bombs against the government targets in Ramadi and took control of the city at the end.   

As the oil prices have been decreasing since the end of last year, Russia was seeking closer ties with oil exporting countries bloc, OPEC, in which Iraq is member, in order to effect policy-making process of price determination.

Russia is one of the largest oil producers and not a member of the OPEC which took a decision last year to decrease oil prices despite Russia and Iran’s vehement objections.

Russian energy officials and OPEC countries are scheduled to meet next month in Vienna to negotiate policy-making process and low oil prices that have bitterly harmed Russia’s sanctions-hit economy in the wake of Ukraine crisis.

TRTWorld and agencies