Iran, Russia, Syria to work with Iraq against ISIS

Iraq says its security forces are receiving support and military cooperation from Russia, Iran and Syria to thwart ISIS threats to Baghdad

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov observe troops in action during a training exercise at the Donguz testing range in Orenburg region, Russia, September 19, 2015.

Iraq has said its military officials are involved in intelligence cooperation with Russia, Iran and Syria to thwart ISIS threats to Baghdad.

The pact of such countries may alarm Washington, various media outlets argue.

The US no longer recognizes the legitimacy of the Syrian President, Bashar al Assad who has been receiving support from both Russia and Iran throughout the four year long Syrian civil war that has killed over 240,000 people and displaced millions.

"With increased Russian concern about the presence of thousands of terrorists from Russia undertaking criminal acts with Daesh (ISIS)," said a statement released by the Iraqi military's joint operations command on Saturday.

"Baghdad coordination centre" which will confront the dangers of the militancy, is reported to be led on a rotating basis by officers from the four countries mentioned, starting with Iraq, Russian news agency Interfax quoted a Russian military diplomatic source in Moscow as saying.

Russian presence in Iraq comes shortly after the expansion of Russian military involvement in Syria. Russia has been pushing the international community to accept Assad's involvement in the war against ISIS, a move that the US rejected.

The Russian Defence Ministry declined to comment on the "Baghdad coordination centre" reports.

Four years after the withdrawal of US troops from war-torn Iraq, US’ Cold War rival Russia arrived on Iraqi soil to help Abadi’s government thwart ISIS threats. Iraq's army has failed repeatedly to thwart the ISIS threat last year, in spite of the $20 billion worth of US military aid and training the country received.

Anti-ISIS coalition and Syrian political solution

An existing US-led coalition battling ISIS is operating in both Iraq and Syria in an effort to uproot the militancy, the US has refused to include Assad’s regime in the coalition, and the Russian contribution to the coalition is yet to be decided, even though Moscow may “theoretically” join the coalition, only if Assad is involved.

John Kerry, US Secretary of State, will undertake a new effort at the UN General Assembly this week in New York to try to find a political solution to the Syrian civil war, however international forces continue to reject Assad’s involvement in the ‘political solution’.

Both White House spokesman Josh Earnest and State Department spokesman John Kirby have strongly reiterated that the US sees Assad as a president who "has lost legitimacy" to lead Syria and that a "political transition away from Assad" should occur.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Saturday that Syrian President Bashar al Assad may not play any role in the political transition Syria needs, because of the agony his forces caused Syrian people, hence his involvement “would not be credible to the Syrian people”.

French government also expects Russia to clarify its military intentions in Syria in the coming days.

"(Assad) is responsible for the current chaos. If we were to say to the Syrians that the future lies with Assad, then we will expose ourselves to failure," Fabius said at a news conference.



TRTWorld and agencies