8.10.15

Iraq may ask for Russian airstrikes

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Iraq May Request Russian Airstrikes Against ISIS

Key MP Says Russia Likely to Have Bigger Role Than US

by Jason Ditz at antiwar.com

Citing frustration with the ongoing situation in the ISIS War, Iraqi parliament defense and security committee chairman Hakim al-Zamili today said he believes that Iraq will be asking Russia, in a matter of a “few days or weeks,” to start launching airstrikes on ISIS in Iraqi territory. He added Russia’s role would likely be larger than the US role.
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Russia began launching strikes on ISIS in Syria, at the behest of the Syrian government, last week, and at the time indicated they were open to expanding the strikes into Iraq, if the Iraqi government requested it. Iraqi officials have since talked up the idea several times.
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Russia’s primary interest in fighting ISIS is supporting their long-time allies in Syria, but with ISIS spanning both countries it would likely give them more flexibility in targeting. This was the justification last year for the US when they expanded strikes from allied Iraq into Syria, where they are openly hostile to the government.
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The US will likely see any Russian expansion into Iraq as stepping on their toes, and that’s likely the idea from the Iraqi perspective, as top Iraqi officials have expressed repeated annoyance at the US for its attempts to “manage” the ISIS war, and are probably keen to use Russia as a bargaining chip for pushing the US for more aid.