The picture is startling — tanks from each side of the Cold War fighting side by side against ISIS in Iraq. The American M1A1 Abrams tank is most likely from the Iraqi army, which took delivery of vast amounts of American armaments during the Iraq War. The Soviet T-72 is part of the Shiite militias (read Iran) fighting together with Iraq against the Sunni ISIS fighters. Both armored vehicles were attempting to push ISIS out of Tikrit.
The larger story however, is the lack of American weapons systems being delivered to Iraq in great enough numbers to fill the needs of the Iraqi armed forces. This has forced Iraq to go to the Russians for the arms required to defend the fledgling nation.
Russia Beyond The Headlines, admittedly a Kremlin PR media outlet, reports:
Despite having earlier professed a preference for the American M1A1M Abrams tank, the Iraqi army is now showing renewed interest in the capabilities of the Soviet T-72C vehicle as it ramps up the campaign to liberate its cities from Islamic State militants. According to sources in the Czech media, Iraq is soon to take delivery of a shipment of T-72Cs from the Czech army, adding to arms sent by Russia in 2014 as supplies of U.S. weaponry appear to be dwindling.
To me this is just more evidence of the lack of a coherent strategy by the Obama administration in the Middle East. We have abdicated leadership and hurt American security by allowing Russia and Iran to basically take over the access to the Iraqi government that our soldiers fought so hard for over the last decade. American companies should be winning these contracts and collecting these profits.
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It’s the least Iraq could do after what our military men and women did for that country.
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