Just a month after signing a large arms deal with Russia, Iraq has backed out of the agreement. The deal had been originally signed when Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Malik led a delegation to Russia in October.
Comments published by an Iraqi lawmaker and the prime minister's spokesman on Saturday indicated that the massive deal was no longer going to take place.
"The deal was canceled," the prime minister's spokesman, Ali Mussawi, was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying. "When Maliki returned from his trip to Russia, he had some suspicions of corruption, so he decided to review the whole deal."
If the deal had gone through as planned, it would have made Russia the second-biggest weapons supplier to Iraq, trailing only behind the United States.
Russian media reports indicated the deal was for MiG-29 jets (like those pictured above), attack helicopters and air defense systems.
Hakem al-Zamali, a member of the Iraqi parliament's security and defense committee, told the government-owned newspaper Al Sabah newspaper that a new deal to replace the old one was already in the mix, but this could not be confirmed. Reportedly, the new deal is for more sophisticated equipment than the original deal.
mz/sej (AFP, dpa)