Controversy Surrounds Alleged Iraq-Iran Arms Deal

Regardless of whether the news of a deal with Iran is true, such a decision is not likely to be to Iraq’s advantage for a number of reasons. First, it would exacerbate the tense sectarian atmosphere, since the Iraqi government has been accused by its Sunni opponents of being led by Iranians and working according to their agenda. Striking an arms deal with Tehran would give additional legitimacy to these claims.

Second, Iranian weapons are reproductions of Russian arms. Thus, Iraq would be better off buying from the original source. It is to Iraq’s benefit to resolve the problems and barriers in arms deal with the major powers, rather than resorting to deals with Iran.

Third, an understanding is likely to irritate the United States, which has an arms contract with Iraq as part of their security agreement. Fourth, a deal would alleviate sanctions pressure on Iran, which the United States is seeking to keep in check using a carrot-and-stick approach.

It seems that news of an arms deal with Iran has been blown out of proportion within the context of Iraq’s sectarian and political conflict. A deal, however, remains on the agenda of the Baghdad government, which faces real problems in equipping the army and providing intelligence support to deal with ongoing insecurity.

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