Russia seems to be increasing its supply of lethal arms into the Iraq mess as a means to hasten the U.S. withdrawal, and for Russia to gain more regional influence over the huge oil assets of Iraq. It appears to be a new form of a Cold War as much as a regional conflict for Russia and Iran to replace American influence in the region.
Russia could at least make a good attempt to prevent the worsening of relations with the United States, but certainly is not at this point. Lethal arms continue to flow to both Iran and to insurgents in Iraq, only worsening the security situation in Iraq and taking the lives of many U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians. The situation is becoming remarkably similar to the Vietnam War with a steady flow of arms from the then Soviet Union to the Hanoi government.
Officially, the Russian government publicly claims to oppose the transfer of lethal arms to insurgent organizations, however a long history of Russian arms dealers supplying "black market" arms has existed with Putin's government largely ignoring the problem and failing to crack down on any such dealers. And Russia does provide Iran with extensive arms sales, obviously knowing full well that many of these arms must be finding their way into Iraq because many are specially used to defeat American armor.
One of the most frightening of these weapons is a Russian armor piercing grenade that is based off a WWII German design known as the "Potato Masher". This grenade has a small parachute attached so that the bomb stabilizes and then lands on the tank or armored vehicle with lethal results. This makes a perfect weapon for use by urban insurgents in Iraq. Russia cannot help but know that a flow of these into the hands of the Sunni Al Qaeda, Shiite militias and other insurgent groups is specially designed to defeat American armor in policing Iraq.
The 2003 war in Iraq was always about the huge oil assets of the nation. Iraq is estimated to have 220 billion barrels of undiscovered oil, a nearly 98 year supply for the United States demand, and the world's largest reserves known on Earth. Not only the United States and Britain had strong reasons to have wanted the 2003 war to gain some control over the oil assets of Iraq, but with a possible withdrawal from Iraq by both nations in the near future, both Russia and Iran realize that it's time to push the situation along as both can reap the oil benefits of Iraq after the U.S. is gone. The new push by Iran and Russia to flow more lethal types of weapons into Iraq seems intended to promote their regional foreign policy to replace American influence in Iraq.
As the American role in Iraq may soon end due to political pressures in the U.S. and political failures in Iraq, both Russia and Iran are only more likely to fuel more conflict with a steady supply of lethal arms meant to hasten the American withdrawal. Like sharks in the water smelling blood, both Iran and Russia expect to be big winners in the region very soon.
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