These officials included members of his office. Maliki later decided to dismiss Ali al-Dabbagh, the Iraqi government’s spokesman, for being involved in receiving kickbacks to facilitate the procedures to conclude the agreement between the Iraqi and Russian parties.
The Russian Interfax news agency said on June 17, “Russia will supply Iraq with Ka-52 ‘Alligator’ [helicopters] and Mi-28NE combat helicopters.” It pointed out that “Le Bourget Air Show has concluded the first export agreement to provide Iraq with these helicopters.”
Interfax added, “An agreement was signed between Russia and Iraq in 2012 to buy military equipment worth $4.3 billion, and that by virtue of the signature of the agreement, Le Bourget Air Show officially brought the agreement into force.”
Iraq signed agreements with Russia to buy weapons worth $4.3 billion during Maliki’s visit last year.
Russian reports said that the deal includes the MiG-29 aircraft, 30 Mi-28 combat helicopters and 42 Pantsir-S1s. The Pantsir-S1 is a surface-to-air missile system.
The Iraqi government seeks to arm the ground, air and naval units of the Iraqi army. It has signed contracts with a number of countries that manufacture sophisticated weapons — including the United States — in order to equip the army with armored [fighting] vehicles, advanced tanks, helicopters and fighter aircraft, including F-16 fighter jets.
Nevertheless, the news that Iraq was going to receive Russian aircraft coincided with a report on world military-strength ranking, which ranked the Iraqi army 58th [out of 68].
According to a report published by the Global Fire Power website, “The Iraqi army was ranked 58th, preceded, among the regional armies, by the Iranian army that ranked 16th, Israel 13th, Egypt 14th and Saudi Arabia 27th.”