As pointed out in a previous entry, the Middle East has been, and will continue to be a giant proxy playing field for Moscow against the West. Because the West is so naive as to place almost all attention upon the Middle East distraction, Moscow now enjoys the benefit of reclaiming its former empire as well as extending its influence throughout the Islamic world.
WASHINGTON – The Iranian-backed regime of the Shia Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, recently has been taking steps to orient his government more toward Moscow and rely less on Washington or any other Western influence, according to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The move helps to improve Moscow’s relations with Iraq as well as Iran as it continues to defend Iranian ally Syria. The goal is to preserve the relationship as well as recast its own influence in the Middle East.
The extension of Russia’s influence in the Middle East also allows Moscow to assert more leverage in the region against the U.S.
In recent weeks, Maliki concluded a $4.2 billion dollar arms deal with Moscow that includes some 30 Mi-28 attack helicopters and 42 Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air missile systems while discussions continue for Iraq to acquire MiG-29 fighter jets and armored vehicles.
The signing of such a deal followed a recent visit Maliki made to Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
For the U.S., Russia’s reassertion of its influence in Iraq is intended to check any effort by Washington to do the same, more so now because influence especially in the wake of the Arab Spring is very low among the new Islamist governments emerging from it.
“Over the past decade, Russia has benefited greatly from U.S. involvement in the Islamic world, especially since it diverted Washington’s focus on cultivating influence among former Soviet states,” the open intelligence group Stratfor said in a report.
“This led to a resurgence of Russian influence in parts of its former empire and allowed Moscow to bolster defenses in other parts,” the report said. “However, the end of the Iraq War – along with the impending U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan – means that U.S. attention on the Middle East is dwindling.”
Full article: Look at what we won in Iraq… (WND)