Russia has agreed to sell civil airliners to Iraq and provide it with continuous military aid to fight the Islamic State, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in Baghdad on Thursday. Rogozin was accompanied to Baghdad by the biggest Russian delegation in a long time.
The Reuters reported that the mission led by a delegation that consisted of about 100 government and Business officials was a move by Moscow to strengthen ties with Iraq. Russia is potentially aiming to wipe off US influence from one of the most critical regions of the world.
According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the conversation involved providing military assistance to defeat the Islamic State that usurped a third of Iraq in 2014.
We need international support from multiple sources, be it from within the international coalition or outside of it,” the Reuters quoted him as saying. Al-Jaafari referred to the US-led coalition that has provided military advice to Iraq and led thousands or airstrikes against the ISIS.
“We need support, training and intelligence-sharing,” he told reporters. “Intelligence plays an important role in the war on Daesh, and we’ve been coordinating for a while now with the Russian side to place this information in the hands of Iraqis,” he added.
Russia also opened a command centre in Baghdad, to share intelligence with Iraq, Iran and Syria to combat the Islamic State. Rogozin said he is hoping that military assistance would enable Iraq to take back the northern city of Mosul along with other areas which are currently under the control of the Islamic States.
He also said that Russia will not use its air group in Syria to expand operations in Iraq.
“All Russian officials concerned have been saying this all along. We act exclusively at the invitation of the Syrian leadership and within Syrian airspace,” Russian News agency TASS quoted him as saying. “There can be no speculations about a wider geographic scope of our actions because for that the corresponding requests from other governments would be required.”