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Will Russia reinforce Iraq's air defenses?

Iraqi authorities are considering moves to reinforce the country's air defense systems with Russian help following alleged Israeli strikes.
A view shows Russian S-300 missile systems during military exercises at the Ashuluk shooting range near Astrakhan, Russia June 19, 2019. REUTERS/Sergey Pivovarov - RC1E9B979F40
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A series of alleged Israeli strikes on Iran-linked targets in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq have sent shockwaves across the region and beyond. The attacks on Iraq in particular are unprecedented, with long-term effects yet to be revealed. The immediate effect, however, is that both the general public and the elites of Middle East nations have raised the need to protect their skies more effectively. Currently, air defense systems are hindered by more than a lack of innovative equipment. They are also hindered by their overdependence on external powers, especially the United States. Shortly after the strikes, it didn’t take long for Russia to move closer to Iraq in terms of military-technical cooperation.

Iraqi media reported Aug. 27 that, in a meeting between Iraqi parliamentary speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi and Russian Ambassador to Iraq Maxim Maximov, the Russian diplomat said Moscow was ready to support Iraq’s initiative in the UN Security Council to expand the capability of Iraqi air defense structures.

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