Maliki’s Spokesman Quits Over Russian Arms Deal Scandal

Article Summary
Ali al-Dabbagh, spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, has resigned after being linked to an ill-fated Russian arms deal, reports Al-Hayat.

Iraqi political sources confirmed that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has accepted the resignation of spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh for his reported involvement in the Russian arms deal marred by corruption. Meanwhile, an MP from the Sadrist movement revealed the names of the technical delegation that ran the deal.

Political sources reported yesterday [Nov. 29] that Maliki accepted Dabbagh's resignation just days after extending his contract until the end of 2014.

The sources pointed out that the contract extension was part of an agreement that guaranteed a voluntary and "honorable departure" for Dabbagh from the post.

Dabbagh heads the Independent Iraqi Kafaat Gathering, which holds six parliamentary seats. Sources indicate that the relationship between Dabbagh and Ali al-Moussawi, spokesman for the prime minister, is plagued by a power struggle between the two.

Dabbagh's name was mentioned in the canceled Russian arms deal, which raised suspicions of corruption. However, Dabbagh denied having anything to do with the deal and said he had warned Maliki about that a month before traveling to Moscow, which Maliki denied.

During a press conference, Ahrar Bloc MP Jawad al-Shahyla revealed the names of the technical, legal and financial delegation that went to Russia to negotiate the arms contracts.

As announced, the delegation included: "Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi, head of the counter-terrorism unit Lt. Gen. Taleb Shaghati Mishari, Air Defense Commander Lt. Gen. Jabbar Obaid Kazem, Maj. Gen. Muhannad Jawad Hassan from the Secretariat General, Director General of Armament and Equipment Gen. Thia Abdul-Jabbar Said and Brig. Gen. Uday Hassan Jassim, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Abdul Razak Mohammed, Col. Mohamed Majeed Matar and Col. Abbas Fahd Abdul Hussein, all of the Air Defense Command. It also included Brig. Gen. Judge Ghani Hussein Shamkhi from the Directorate General of Armament and Equipment , Brig. Gen. Baker Ahmed Nayef from the Directorate General of Budget and Programs, Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Ahmed Mohamed Mahas from the Army Aviation Command and the interpreter Athir Hatem Mahmoud Hattab.”

Shahyla also mentioned those who joined the delegation later, naming, "Army Aviation Deputy Commander Maj. Gen. pilot Awad Dakhil Abed, Associate Director-General of Armament and Equipment Asaad Najm Abboud, Manager of the Army Aviation Engineering Brig. Gen. Mazen Mohsen Hassan and Col. Haidar Abdul Latif Saleh from the Army Aviation Command.”

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