"The delegations intend to visit such countries as Russia, China and Ukraine, to negotiate the purchase of modern systems to protect Iraq’s airspace," Badr al-Ziyadi, a member of the Parliamentary Security And Defense Committee, told Arabic-language al-Sabaah newspaper, according to TASS.
"The Iraqi parliament is right now forming a joint executive and legislative delegation to visit the developed countries and sign contracts on procuring advanced weapons,” he added.
According to al-Ziyadi, the lawmakers are looking into obtaining weapons in exchange for Iraqi oil shipments, similar to the "oil for reconstruction" agreement signed with China recently.
“Many nations have indicated (their) readiness to ship modern weapons to Iraq in exchange for oil. This is the best way to ensure the shipment of good weapons to Iraq without corruption and bribery,” the lawmaker said.
Ziyadi went on to say that the delegations would also hold talks over completing the installation of modern thermal imaging devices at the border, which will help detect and prevent any terrorist infiltration.
“The inadequate arming of border forces with modern weapons was the result of a mistake in relying on an agreement with the United States which spent enormous sums of money and never fully the finished (the project),” the legislator highlighted.
“This is why the Iraqis must count on themselves and turn to the eastern bloc to equip its army,” Ziyadi concluded.
On January 16, Ali al-Ghanmi, a member of the Parliamentary Security and Defense Committee, dismissed US threats to impose sanctions on Baghdad over its procurement of advanced Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems, saying such pressure is far away from realities on the ground.
“US sanctions on Iraq need the approval of decision-making bodies in that country,” Ali al-Ghanmi said in an interview with Arabic-language Baghdad Today news agency.
The United States has already warned Iraq of the consequences of extending military cooperation with Russia, and striking deals to purchase advanced weaponry, particularly S-400 missile systems.