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Move Over, America: Russia Responds to ISIS By Sending Warplanes to Iraq

Sukhoi Su-25. Photo credit: Toshi Aoki-JP Spotters via Wikimedia Commons 

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, continues to prove that it's a threat to be reckoned with. And while America agreed to send Iraq 300 "military advisors" -- or Special Forces -- to help with this threat, Russia one-upped America and sent in military experts and Sukhoi Su-25 fighter planes. Here's what you need to know.

Escalating chaos
As I detailed last week, there are a number of reasons behind the ISIS uprising, but a large factor is the divided, "Shia-controlled" government, as well as ISIS's desire to establish an Islamic caliphate, and caliph, in Iraq and Syria. 

Regrettably, last Sunday, ISIS came one step closer to its goal by renaming itself the "Islamic State," declaring statehood as an Islamic caliphate, and proclaiming that the group's new caliph is Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi. Luckily, ISIS declaring statehood and actually becoming its own Islamic caliphate are not one in the same, as it has yet to defeat the Iraqi military.

But of concern is the fact that thanks to the Islamic State, the Iraqi government, and the country, are on the brink of collapse. At the opening session of the Iraqi parliament on Tuesday, Shiite leaders failed to nominate a replacement for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. This caused Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers -- who want a replacement for Maliki -- to walk out of the session, thus ending it in "chaos," according to the Los Angeles Times. 

Russia takes on the fight against terrorism; America ups the ante
The good news for Iraq is that Russia is taking this threat very seriously, and has already delivered Russian warplanes and military experts to help Iraq fight against Islamic State militants. Moreover, The New York Times reports that Russia's move is an "implicit rebuke" to America, which has been slow to respond to the Iraqi government's request for aid. 

AH-64E. Photo credit: Boeing

That's not to say America hasn't responded. Whether in response to Russia's increased involvement or not, this last week, America agreed to sell Iraq a number of Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT  ) F-16s, and Congress stopped stalling the sale of up to 24 Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) AH-64E Apache helicopters -- the helicopter deal alone is estimated to be worth $4.8 billion. Additionally, The Hill reports that the Pentagon notified Congress of its plan to sell 200 Humvees to Iraq for $1 billion, and Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren stated: "We have one of the largest FMF and FMS programs [with Iraq], [which] includes approximately $15 billion worth of equipment and training. ... We've sent them, recently, 300 Hellfire missiles, millions of rounds of small arms, thousands of rounds of tank ammunition, and 10 Scan Eagle surveillance [drones] are on schedule for delivery for later in the year." 

What to watch
As I previously wrote, there are two main forces that could prompt increased American involvement in Iraq: "sunk cost," basically a situation in which you've put so much money into an investment -- like Iraq -- that walking away seems unacceptable, or painful; and the continued destabilization of the Middle East.

Unfortunately, last week's increased destabilization has done exactly as predicted. The turmoil in Iraq is already proving beneficial to defense companies like the those listed above, and it could prove to be even more beneficial if America is drawn into another Middle Eastern conflict -- between 2000 and 2010 the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were largely funded through emergency spending bills, which exceeded $980 billion. The bad news is that there's no way to know how involved America will become -- however, increased troop deployment, as well as the recently agreed-upon F-16 and Apache weapons sales, aren't the best signs. Consequently, this is something to watch. 

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Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (26)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On July 05, 2014, at 10:33 AM, jfelano wrote:

    America has planned this whole middle east "civil war" or whatever you want to call it, so of course they aren't going to give them weapons to fight our allies ISIL/Al Qaeda.

  • Report this Comment On July 05, 2014, at 11:48 AM, GeaugaTruck wrote:

    It's a sad day when Russia does the right thing while Obama just twiddles his thumbs.

  • Report this Comment On July 05, 2014, at 1:08 PM, volcan357 wrote:

    If there is a Sunni vs Shia war why couldn't the USA for once stay out of it and let other people do the fighting? Don't we have enough problems at home to worry about? The only people in Iraq worth supporting are the Kurds.

  • Report this Comment On July 05, 2014, at 4:05 PM, Xodus11 wrote:

    @volvan357 - Don't you know that most of the Kurds are in fact Sunni? I do agree with you that they are probably the ones worth supporting the most, but realize that the Kurds aren't always separate from sunni/shia. That's just their ethnic group.

  • Report this Comment On July 05, 2014, at 10:16 PM, Audley626 wrote:

    Leading from behind, in this case, has less to do with what our militarily is currently doing, as it does in our utter failure in securing any long term influence in the region. We have virtually handed that over to Iran and RussiaWe should nave NEVER allowed ourselves to being caught so flat footed, in respects to the invasion of Iraq by ISIS.forces. We had plenty of opportunities to nip it in the bud, long before ISIS became a threat to the region. The notion that the Iraqi military forces were going to stop the surge of these animals, should have been dispelled, back in February, when ISIS forces began capturing city after city in northern Iraq, while overrunning every attempt by the Iraqi Military to stop it. At that point, U.S. air power alone would have been enough to stop 90% of it. But Obama and his State Department were apparently so disengaged with other things (like Obama arranging his tee times) that it took ISIS being at Baghdad's front door, before they realized how dire the situation had become. And now we're like chickens, running around with our heads cut off, not knowing what to do, while our adversaries (Russia and Iran) are doing what this administration should have been doing months ago. And believe me, this administration knows that it has screwed up big time, as it wouldn't have otherwise been sending in as many military "advisors" as it is, this late in the game. To compound the problem even more is that making that move, is as well, too late.

    This is the kind of foreign policy blunder that will only serve to build the aspirations and goals of those that we have long considered our enemies, while further diminishing our own.

  • Report this Comment On July 05, 2014, at 10:53 PM, StockgeniusII wrote:

    U.S. foreign policy should just let Russia, Iran and Syria take care of IS instead of having John Kerry threaten them to stop hurting ISIS.

    I guess the U.S. foreign policy in Mideast is divided. ISIS is an ally in Syria but is not in Iraq!

    Does John Kerry read the news of the Mideast? They now have an Islamic State!

    All Kerry want to do is talk to Saudis on the subject who are funding IS!

  • Report this Comment On August 29, 2014, at 10:10 PM, nobody2323 wrote:

    honestly take all the good ones out of iraq then leave the rest tiried of those guys being idiots

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Katie Spence

Katie Spence has been a financial journalist for The Fool since 2011. She specializes in defense companies, “green" technology, autos, and robots. Follow her on Twitter for breaking news in the defense, auto, and robot industry.

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