Gen. Anwar Hama Ameen, who heads the Iraqi air force, explained that the secondhand jets would quickly be deployed in the government's fight against the Sunni extremist group ISIS.
In the coming three or four days the aircraft will be in service to support our forces in the fight.”
Ameen also said that the presence of Russian military experts would be short-lived. Nevertheless, here's how Rod Nordland characterized the development:
The move was at least an implicit rebuke to the United States, where concerns in Congress about the political viability of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s government have stalled sales of advanced jet and helicopter combat planes to Iraq."
For Russia its back to the good old days: Supporting a strongman in Baghdad, delivered jets the U.S. had delayed http://t.co/3LCW9InLlO— Kyle W. Orton (@Syrian_Intifada) June 28, 2014
As we noted yesterday, the Iraqi army has launched a major offensive, its first, against ISIS in Tikrit. The battle is still raging with early reports of success contradicted by later reports of just a lot of fighting.
did the Iraqi army drive ISIS from Tikrit? The papers of record offer differing accounts. What say you, all knowing Twitter machine?— Steven A. Cook (@stevenacook) June 29, 2014
In recent days, support for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had been on the wane with Iran joining the United States and others in the international community in vocalizing their desire for new, more inclusive leadership in Iraq, even as ISIS pushes across the country.
By inserting itself more forcefully in the conflict, Russia has exploited that hesitation.
Escalating Iraq-Syria war now pits Iran-Russia-Assad/Maliki v. ISIS, other extremists. US effectively on sidelines. http://t.co/JHspvGykUi— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) June 29, 2014