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Russia Cultivating Iraq Market For Jets, Military Hardware


Russian Deputy Prime Minister Russia Dmitry Rogozin in a visit to Baghdad offered to provide more military aid and step up commercial ties, potentially eroding U.S. influence in the war-torn country.

Rogozin led the largest Russian delegation in years with nearly 100 government and business officials.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said on February 11 that discussions revolved around providing military assistance to defeat Islamic State militants who seized a third of Iraq in 2014.

"We need international support from multiple sources, be it from within the international coalition or outside of it," he said, referring to the U.S.-led coalition aiding Iraq in its fight against IS.

Russia has invested millions of dollars in Iraq's energy sector and last year opened a command center in Baghdad under an intelligence-sharing agreement with Iraq, Iran, and Syria aimed at combating IS.

Russian and Iraqi officials signed wide-ranging measures to more than double bilateral trade and boost Iraq's electricity production, which falls far short of peak demand during hot summer months.

Trade last year was nearly $2 billion. Rogozin said Russia could provide Sukhoi Superjet airliners for Iraq's civil aviation.

Based on reporting by Reuters, Interfax, and TASS
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