Iraq to Purchase 2,000 Russian Tanks

In a bid to boost combat readiness of its new army, the government is said to be negotiating a massive arms deal with Russia to buy 2,000 battle tanks.

But the T-72 model the government mulls purchasing is an old and outdated version of which the former army had hundreds.

They proved ineffective and highly vulnerable against modern M1 Abrams and Challenger 1 which U.S. and British troops used during the Gulf wars of 1991 and 2003.

Former army officers say some 400 T-72 tanks were knocked out during the 2003-U.S. invasion and the rest were smuggled to neighboring states.

It is not clear why the government is opting for T-72 while Russia has manufactured much better and more battle-efficient models such as T-82 and T-92 which are specifically designed for modern warfare.

Analysts fear the deal like former contracts will lack the necessary transparency and will be mired with commissions and bribes.

One indication is the refusal of the negotiators to obtain parliamentary vetting and approval.

The value of the contract being negotiated is not known but the size of the deal makes it one of the largest ever signed in the Middle East.


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