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A MiG-29M-2 of the Russian Air Force flying over Ramenskoye Airport in Moscow
A MiG-29M-2 of the Russian Air Force flying over Ramenskoye Airport in Moscow
Ivan Safronov, Yelena Chernenko

MOSCOW - It has only recently emerged that Russia and Iraq have been secretly working on major arms deals. During Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki's visit to Moscow in October, it was revealed that Iraq had already signed a contract to purchase 30 Russian-built military helicopters and 42 rocket launchers for $4.2 billion, with plans to purchase additional Russian fighter planes.

However, this past Saturday an advisor to Al-Maliki announced that the Russian-Iraqi contract was cancelled. “When Al-Maliki returned from Russia, he was suspicious about corruption in this contract. That is why he decided to re-examine the whole deal,” Ali Musavi, the advisor, announced, adding that there was an investigation underway.

Immediately after the suprise announcement, Iraqi military officials tried to smooth things over, with Defense Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi holding a press conference denying the details of Musavi’s announcement. He suggested that there might have been a misunderstanding because of delays in the delivery of information to Iraq’s anti-corruption committee. But he stressed that the deal was still on.

Regardless of such assurances, Moscow is demanding an official explanation from Baghdad. “We are already in the middle of negotiations with our Iraqi counterparts, clarifying their position, including the contradictory announcements on Saturday,” a Russian government source told Kommersant. “We did not receive any notification of a change in plans on Baghdad’s part.”

According to Kommersant’s sources, neither of the government agencies responsible for handling the contract were notified about a possible cancellation of the contract, nor did the information make its way through government channels.

U.S. return on investment?

Kommersant’s sources said that there could be complications in the contract, but that they would come from a third party. “The United States has spent significant effort to disrupt the deal,” said one source close to the Russian government. “I would not be surprised if they tried to break it up or complicate it after it's done.”

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Coronavirus

The Main COVID Risk Now: Long COVID

Death rates are down, masks are off, but many who have been infected by COVID have still not recovered. Long COVID continues to be hard to diagnose and treatments are still in the developmental stage.

Long COVID feels like a never-ending nightmare for those who suffer from it.

Jessica Berthereau

PARIS — The medical examination took longer than expected in the Parc de Castelnau-le-Lez clinic, near the southern French city of Montpellier. Jocelyne had come to see a specialist for long COVID-19, and exits the appointment slowly with help from her son. The meeting lasted more than an hour, twice as long as planned.

“I’m a fighter, you know, I’ve done a lot of things in my life, I’ve been around the world twice… I’m not saying this to brag, but to tell you my background," says the 40-year-old. "These days, I’m exhausted, I’m not hungry, I no longer drive, I can’t work anymore, I have restless legs syndrome.” She pauses before adding sadly: “I can’t read anymore either.”

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