Can Iraq meet US, Russia halfway?

By Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The conflicts in Iraq and Syria are becoming increasingly convoluted by the day. Russia’s engagement has been an additional complication to the overlapping battles.

This international interference is undoubtedly a major challenge to the regional countries, whose security, political composition and political undertakings are vulnerable, as is the fragile concept of citizenship within their borders.

Iraq is one of those weak countries in the region that did not deal with the developing situation in a way that would protect its interests and distance it from repercussions of the religious conflict raging between the major countries in the Middle East.

The Iraqi joint operations command (covering the army, Popular Mobilization Units and internal security forces) said in a statement Sept. 27 that Iraq has signed security and intelligence agreements in coordination with various countries as part of the fight against the Islamic State (IS). The countries include disparate parties such as Russia, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Germany and France, in addition to members of the US-led coalition against IS, in which 60 countries are participating.

The press office of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Sept. 30 that Iraq, Syria, Iran and Russia agreed to set up a joint information center in Iraq. Russian airstrikes against Syrian opposition forces coincided with that announcement.

On Oct. 1, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced his country was ready to carry out air raids on IS positions in Iraq as well. Lavrov had said May 21 that Russia would meet Iraqi, Syrian and Egyptian demands for Russian support to expel terrorists from their territories.

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