Sources: Iraq to Purchase Russian Defense System, Iran Supports Move
Arab sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday that Iraqi national security advisor and chief of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Faleh Fayyad had asked during his last visit to Moscow last month, to purchase either the S-300 or S-400 missile defense system, explaining that Tehran had encouraged Baghdad on this move.
Earlier, Iraqi authorities had denied their intention to purchase the S-400 defense system.
Observers believe that Washington would object Iraq’s current intent to own the S-300 system, similar to a US previous position when Ankara announced a decision to purchase the S-400 system from Russia.
The S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is the most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system that went into service in 2007.
According to the Russia TASS news agency, the system is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range ones, and can also be used against ground objectives, and it can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and an altitude of up to 35 km.
The decision comes weeks after the increase of airstrikes against PMF locations in Baghdad and other provinces that some group officials blamed on the Israeli government.
In this regard, the sources said that some Iraqi Parliament forces are working to remove US troops from Iraq, despite the insistence of Washington to deny any role in the airstrikes.
In a linked development, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently searching for a “gift” by convincing US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin to hold a new US-Russian-Israeli tripartite summit before he engages in local elections next Sept. 17.
The summit aims to contain Iran’s influences in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, particularly after Tel Aviv has revealed satellite imagery showing Iran’s construction of a large military facility in eastern Syria to house thousands of soldiers, store precision-guided missiles, and act as a new border crossing between Iraq and Syria, in addition to a precision missile factory in eastern Lebanon.
Netanyahu plans to travel to Sochi where he should hold talks with Putin and convince to hold a new tripartite summit, in the presence of defense and foreign ministers.
The Israeli Debka website wrote this week that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Lebanon on Wednesday, Sept. 4, that Israel knows about a second, larger Iranian-Hezbollah missile factory and is preparing to bomb it.
The website said Pompeo addressed this urgent message directly to Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.
In this regard, Netanyahu made a surprise trip to London this week and met with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to present Israel’s plans of action in Lebanon in the days ahead.