Thumbing Its Nose at U.S., Russia Sends Military Experts to Iraq

This article is from the archive of our partner .

After the United States delayed a sale of fighter jets to Iraq, Russia sold planes to the Iraqi government. Now they've sent military experts to Baghdad. 

Gen. Anwar Hama Ameen, who heads the Iraqi air force, explained that the secondhand jets would quickly be deployed in the government's fight against the Sunni extremist group ISIS.

In the coming three or four days the aircraft will be in service to support our forces in the fight.” 

Ameen also said that the presence of Russian military experts would be short-lived. Nevertheless, here's how Rod Nordland characterized the development:

The move was at least an implicit rebuke to the United States, where concerns in Congress about the political viability of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s government have stalled sales of advanced jet and helicopter combat planes to Iraq." 

As we noted yesterday, the Iraqi army has launched a major offensive, its first, against ISIS in Tikrit. The battle is still raging with early reports of success contradicted by later reports of just a lot of fighting.

In recent days, support for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had been on the wane with Iran joining the United States and others in the international community  in vocalizing their desire for new, more inclusive leadership in Iraq, even as ISIS pushes across the country.

By inserting itself more forcefully in the conflict, Russia has exploited that hesitation.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.