The advances by ISIS, which captured the Iraqi city of Ramadi last weekend and on Thursday was tightening its grip on the historic city of Palmyra in neighboring Syria, have exposed the shortcomings of Iraq's Army and the limitations of U.S. air strikes.
In going ahead with his visit to Moscow (21-23 May) despite the worsening security crisis, Abadi said he had wanted to underline the importance of his country's ties with Russia, adding that he had disregarded “certain forces” advising him to cancel the trip.
“We are expanding cooperation in the area of military technology,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the start of talks with Abadi in the Kremlin, hailing Iraq as an “old and reliable partner in the region”.
“Our relations are developing very successfully ... Our companies are working in your country and we are talking of investments in the order of billions of dollars,” Putin added, without elaborating.
Russian companies were involved in the Iraqi economy for decades during the rule of Saddam Hussein and strongly opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 which ousted the dictator and ushered in a prolonged period of turmoil.
The Iraqi government plans to purchase weapons and military equipment from Russia, Iran and China within its plan to diversify arms supplying sources, Salim Shuki, an Iraqi lawmaker from the “Civilian” bloc, told Sputnik.
“Iraq plans to diversify its arms supplying sources and considers buying arms from Russia, China and Iran. The issue has taken shape due to the United States’ delays in the implementation of the agreement on strategic security cooperation. The country also wants to strengthen its armed forces to fight against ISIS,” the lawmaker said.
Source: Reuters; Sputnik