As Iraq has received a large order of Russian T-90 main battle tanks, General Dynamics has begun to question the use of the fleet of M1 Abrams that were provided prior to this. Nine of the M1 Abrams have landed in Shiite Militia hands, specifically the hands of the Iranian linked and Iraqi government supported Hashd al-Shaabi forces. These are the same forces that in collaboration with Iranian PMU (Popular Mobilization Units) and suspected Iranian Revolutionary Guard, attacked Kirkuk last year. Because of this turn of events, General Dynamics is threatening to leave Iraq and cut business ties. One M1 Abrams was destroyed by Kurdish Peshmerga forces during the attack on Kirkuk last October.
If support from General Dynamics is pulled, Iraq’s fleet of Abrams would eventually fall into a state of disrepair and without the necessary capabilities to repair them Iraq would likely turn to Russia for future armament. Their military needs would likely rely on Russia and China for arms and equipment at this point. Previously, Iraq purchased several Chinese produce CH-4B UAVs (unnamed aerial vehicles). The CH-4B is clearly based off the American designed Mq-1 Predator produced by General Atomics and have been successfully used to combat the Islamic State in the past.
The situation in Iraq is evolving in the wake of the Islamic State and the nation is attempting to drastically ramp up their defensive capabilities. Whether or not General Dynamics chooses to withdraw from their dealings with Iraq remains to be seen but Russia is clearly ready to make a play should it take place. War is a business and the big players are attempting to navigate its adversity and dynamic tempo while keeping inline with individual company based interests.
Featured Image Courtesy of WikiMedia