Iraq Armed Forces

Eagle1

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German, Dutch military suspend training operations in Iraq amid U.S.-Iran tensions
May 15, 2019 / Updated 22 minutes ago

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany and the Netherlands said on Wednesday they were suspending military training operations in Iraq as the United States warned of increased threats from Iran-backed forces amid an escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran.

A German defence ministry spokesman said Berlin had no indications of its own of any impending attacks on Western interests by Iran and said the training programmes could resume in the coming days.

A Dutch government source also announced a suspension of military training operations, citing an unspecified security threat.

Germany has 160 soldiers involved in training Iraqi forces trying to contain Islamic State militants. The Netherlands has 169 military and civilian personnel in Iraq, including about 50 in Erbil, where they are helping to train Kurdish troops.

Dutch news agency ANP said Dutch forces had been ordered to remain indoors since Sunday.

Earlier on Wednesday the U.S. State Department ordered the pullout of some employees from both its embassy in Baghdad and its consulate in Erbil.

The order came as tensions build up between the United States and Iran. Washington has applied new sanctions pressure on Tehran and sent additional forces to the Middle East, saying there is an increased threat from Iran to U.S. interests there.

Reporting by Tassilo Hummel and Sabine Siebold; Additional reporting by Anthony Deutsch and Toby Sterling in Amsterdam; Editing by Madeline Chambers and Gareth Jones


 

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Iraq to buy S-400 missile systems from Russia
May 16, 2019




Iraq intends to buy S-400 anti-air missile systems from Russia, announced Iraqi Ambassador to Russia Mansour Hadi on 15 May at a press conference, DW reports.

The decision was made during a session of the Russian-Iraqi Commission for Trade, Economic and Scientific Cooperation held in Baghdad on 23-25 April.

Hadi noted that, although the Iraqi government has stated its intention to purchase S-400s, no concrete agreements have yet been reached with Russia.

This step by the Iraqi government could lead to complications in Baghdad’s relations with Washington. When asked whether the US could force Iraq to back down from the deal, Hadi merely pointed out that “diplomatic channels exist for dealing with these problems with the Americans”.

The US has opposed Turkey’s decision to buy Russian aerial defense systems. The US and NATO have repeatedly warned Turkey that the S-400 cannot be integrated into the alliance’s anti-air and anti-missile defense system. At the start of April, Washington announced that it would stop providing Turkey with equipment for F-35 fighters until Turkey pulls out of the S-400 deal.

In November 2018, CNBC reported with reference to sources in US intelligence that several countries had expressed interested in buying S-400s: Algeria, Vietnam, Egypt, Iraq, Qatar, Marocco and Saudi Arabia. In February, US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said that a response from the US could be expected if Iraq or other countries decided to buy Russian weaponry.



 
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