October 9, 2012 U.P.I.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reportedly flew to Moscow Monday for talks on defense and trade amid signs Russia is trying to make inroads in on Iraq's multibillion-dollar rearmament program, which has been dominated by the United States.
The word is that Baghdad, nearly a year after the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq, Maliki will sign a $5 billion air-defense contract with Moscow.
It's not clear whether Baghdad's seeking to pressure Washington to speed up the delivery of arms or is genuinely seeks an alternate major power source of supply.
On Friday, Pravda reported, "Russia may join the ranks of major exporters of weapons to Iraq."
It said Maliki may sign "a contract for $5 billion for the sale of MiG fighter jets, Russian helicopters, anti-aircraft missile systems, armored vehicles and other weapons."
Russian sources said these include an unspecified number of MiG-29M/M2 interceptors, up to 30 Mil Mi-28N all-weather anti-armor attack helicopters, NATO codename Havoc, and 41 anti-aircraft missile units.