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Iraq scraps $4.2 billion arms deal with Russia

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.

MIG 29 jets from the Royal Malaysian Air Force fly past during a display at the Singapore Airshow in Singapore on February 14, 2012. Some 900 exhibiting companies from over 50 countries including 60 of the top 100 global aerospace companies participated in the event. AFP PHOTO/ROSLAN RAHMAN (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

MIG 29 Jets

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)