Friday, November 19, 2004

Russia May Get Involved in Iraq

Russia is joining the war in Iraq -- sort of. Russia's Defense and Security reports on Friday that Russia is ready to resume deliveries of arms and military equipment supplies to Iraq ("Shock, Awe and Russian Weapons," Vladimir Ivanov, Andrei Terekhov).

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Thursday: "If the corresponding request is received, Moscow will resume deliveries of Russian-made, rather than Soviet-made armaments on [a] gratuitous basis." According to Ivanov, Russia will train Iraqi servicemen to drive the Russian-made military vehicles.

According to Colonel General Yuri Baluyevsky, chief of the Russian General Staff, who met with General James Jones, Commander Allied NATO Forces Europe, the new Iraqi authorities asked the Americans on November 6 to supply two armored divisions with hardware. Since the Pentagon did not want to supply its up-to-date military equipment, the order was shifted to the Russian army.

Alexander Shavarin of the Center of Strategic Studies expects armored military hardware, infantry fighting vehicles and personnel carrier vehicles, and heavy armored vehicles to be supplied to Iraq, along with small arms, mortars, ordinance, and ammunition of various calibers. In Shavarin's view, the familiarity of the Iraqis with Soviet weapons is one reason why Moscow has been given this assignment.

According to Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, former chief of the department for delivery of arms and military specialists abroad, about 200 advisers could be sent to Iraq in the first phase, on a similar basis to the manner in which weapons have been supplied by Russia to Syria and Egypt.

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|| headland, 9:51 AM


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