January 6, 2015: Strategy Page
Iraq is buying another 170 American M-1A1 tanks. In 2008 Iraq had ordered and received (by 2010) 140 M-1A1 tanks, 21 M88A1 armored recovery vehicles and 60 M1070 tank transporters (which can also carry supplies or other vehicles.) Iraq was not be the first Arab country to operate the M1 tank. Egypt, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia already operate over 1,600 of them, and Egypt has built hundreds of them (mainly using components imported from the U.S., but with some locally made parts). Iraq receives the M-1A1 version. All the other Arab users have at least some of the latest model (M1A2 SEP).
The Arab users of the M1 have been very happy with their American tanks. This satisfaction increased when they saw how the M-1 performed in Iraq. While most Arabs deplored U.S. operations in Iraq, Arab tank officers and M-1 crewmen were quietly pleased that their tanks appeared invulnerable, and able to assist the infantry in any kind of fight. Iraqi army officers have spoken to fellow Arab officers who have used the M-1, and were told this was the way to go.
Corruption in the Iraqi Army led to Iraqi M-1 crews being poorly trained and led. So far Iraqi troops have lost (or abandoned) at least 40 M-1s to enemy action or panic. At least one Iraqi Mi1 was destroyed by a Russian ATBM (anti-tank guided missile). The Iraqis promise they will do better with their new batch of M-1s.