MOSCOW --- Iraq has taken delivery of the first batch of T-90 main battle tanks and possibly BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles as well.
Earlier in February, the Russian Ambassador to Iraq, Maxim Maksimov, confirmed that deliveries of the T-90 tanks would be occurring soon. The delivery occurred late last week, when the shipment of tanks was delivered to Umm Qasr, in southern Iraq, as confirmed by images released from the port.
The number of tanks delivered has not been confirmed, but in mid-2017, manufacturer UralVagonZavod released its annual report suggesting that 73 T-90S/SK tanks would be supplied to Iraq in 2017. Izvestia reported that this is only the first batch and that subsequent deliveries would occur.
Iraq may ultimately acquire hundreds of T-90s.
In addition to the tanks, Iraq may well have taken a delivery of a batch of BMP-3s. The web resource 'Mena Defense' reported over the weekend, "The Iraqi army has recently received a batch of about 10 BMP 3 armored vehicles, which have been concomitant with the delivery of T90S and SK tanks. Iraq received last week a first batch of 10 T90 S and SK on the 73 ordered."
The new military hardware will be used to support the Iraqi military's ongoing efforts against the Islamic State, which has largely been routed from the population centers it captured in 2014 and 2015. Nevertheless, the group remains a threat to Iraqi security and has continued to carry out asymmetric operations against Iraqi forces.
As a result of fighting with the Islamic State, the Iraqi military has lost a significant amount of military vehicles, either to destruction or capture by the insurgents. Furthermore, the U.S. has reportedly cut off support services for Iraq's M1A1 main battle tanks after several of these emerged under the control of Hashd al-Shaabi, an umbrella group of pro-government militias nominally subordinate to the Iraqi Ministry of Interior.
The status of American support for the M1A1s is unclear; requests for comment were not responded to.