The 35th Brigade of the Iraqi Army's 9th Armored Division has replaced its M1A1M Abrams main battle tanks with Russian T-90s. The US media have claimed that the decision was the result of Pentagon concerns about the Abrams falling into the hands of Iranian-backed militias. However, Russian observers say the T-90 is simply a better tank for Iraq.
Baghdad ordered 73 T-90 and T-90SK command tanks from Russia in 2017, with deliveries starting in February 2018. Last week, 39 T-90/SKs entered into service with the 35th Mechanized Brigade, a battle-hardened unit that had engaged Daesh (ISIS)* at the battle of Mosul and the battle of Kirkuk in 2016 and 2017, respectively. According to the Defense Ministry, the brigade's remaining Abrams have been transferred to the 34th Armored Brigade, which previously operated T-72s.