13:17 16.01.2020URL short
US diplomat said the United States would impose sanctions against Iraq if Baghdad proceeds with plans to purchase the Russian S-400 air defense system. But could the US impose its will? Analysts respond.
Advisor to US Secretary of State for Middle East affairs, John Hood, announced that the US could impose sanctions on Baghdad if it acquires Russian S-400 air defense systems.
However, analyst heard by Sputnik Arab believes that Americans cannot stop Iraq from acquiring the S-400:
"Americans cannot stop Iraq. They can enforce existing sanctions," said military analyst Ivan Konovalov.
Relations between Iraq and the United States have deteriorated since the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, who was eliminated on Iraqi territory during a US military operation.
In response, the Iraqi parliament passed a motion asking the government to request the withdrawal of foreign military forces from the country.
AP Photo / Qassim Abdul-Zahra
US Soldiers and Journalists Inspect Debris at Iranian Bombing Site at Ain Al-Asad Airbase, Anbar, Iraq, January 13, 2020
Donald Trump reacted to the Iraqi measure by threatening to block Iraqi access to US-funded oil and cash resources.
"Americans could hardly prevent the purchase of the S-400 system by blocking Iraq's dollar accounts. Iraq could proceed to make its transactions in national currencies, just as India, China are doing and are preparing to do Turkey." said Konovalov.
"They may try to increase pressure in a targeted manner in Iraq, but if they do, they would have to permanently remove their troops from the country … In that case, the 2003 invasion would have been in vain," he explained.
AP Photo / Karim Kadim
US Armed Forces Attend Training in Iraq
Iraqi strategy expert Washiq al Hashimi, on the other hand, believes that the issue should be considered very carefully, as all arms purchases carry a political component.
"The issue of buying weapons is complex. If US troops leave the country, we would have problems with US F-16 aircraft, because there was no contract with Russia," Hashimi said.
According to the analyst, although the Iraqi army is large, Iraq has not yet fully resolved the issue of arms suppliers and maintenance services, especially its Air Force.
"The debate over the purchase of Russian S-300 and S-400 systems is not from today. This has been discussed in the past, but due to US pressure, the deal has not materialized," he concluded.
Iraq reportedly expressed interest in buying S-400 air defense systems following the escalation of tensions between that country and the United States earlier this year following US attacks and special operations on Iraqi territory.
If Iraq insists on its plans, it could be subject to US sanctions. Washington is threatening sanctions with other countries interested in acquiring Russian systems, such as Turkey, India and China.