By John Lee.
A recent announcement from the Iraqi government has stated that Baghdad and Tehran are continuing to negotiate additional plans for military aid and the reformation of a national army.
Defense ministers from both nations have already signed a memorandum of understanding regarding this issue, following a visit from Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi to Tehran. Obeidi is a Sunni and his visit to Iran will help ease some of the lingering sectarian tensions in Iraq.
Both sides “agreed to continue cooperation in the defense arena with the creation of a national army to protect the territorial integrity and security of Iraq.”
Iran has played a significant role in supporting Iraq following the rise of the Islamic State both in terms of military advisors as well as possibly air strikes. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has also received aid from Iran to help support the Peshmerga.
Obeidi’s visit to Tehran is a sign o the evolving relations between Iraq and Iran, since Iran’s traditional defence ally in Iraq has been the Ministry of Interior, still largely run by the pro-Iranian Badr Organization. Meanwhile, some Sunni tribes have called for Iranian assistance, an unthinkable situation a few years ago.
(Source: Al Arabiyah)