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Russian pilots may aid in battle against Islamic Caliphate

By Dustin M Braden- 01 Jul '14 11:37AM
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  • SU-25
  • (Photo : Wikimedia Commons) In a sign of how seriously the world is taking the emerging threat from the Islamic Caliphate, it appears that Russia will be sending support to help aid the Iraqi government in a manner similar to aid that has already been pledged by the likes of the United States and Iran. Pictured: SU-25

In a sign of how seriously the world is taking the emerging threat from the Islamic Caliphate, it appears that Russia will be sending support to help aid the Iraqi government in a manner similar to aid that has already been pledged by the likes of the United States and Iran.

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It is possible that the aid Russia has promised is actually more direct than anything that has yet to materialize out of the United States or Iran. While both the United States and Iran have pledged material and advisers, Russia has supplied pilots to run sorties over ISIS targets, according to The Daily Beast.

It had previously been reported that Iraq had purchased used Russian SU- 25s. At the time of the jets' arrival in Iraq, Iraqi military spokespersons said that the Russian pilots who accompanied the jets would leave after getting them operational.

Citing diplomatic sources, The Daily Beast claims that the Russian pilots will be staying even after the jets are operational and could very well end up flying combat missions on behalf of the Iraqi government.

In addition to the purchase of the SU-25s, Iraq has also announced plans to acquire a group of Russian MI-35 and MI-28 attack helicopters. Iraq also recently received 75 Hellfire missiles from the U.S. government because its supply had run out, although the Iraqi Air Force has only two aircraft, Cessnas, which can currently fire them.

The purchase of Russian military aircraft was made necessary not only by the rapid gains of the Islamic Caliphate, but also the foot dragging of the U.S. Congress.

The Iraqi government had been waiting to receive Apache helicopters and F-16 fighter jets, but Congress repeatedly delayed the delivery over concerns that the Iraqi government would use the weapons against Sunni Iraqis.

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