Iraq to officially request Russian military action against Daesh
Iraq is planning to officially ask Russia for airstrikes against Daesh in a bid to purge the Takfiri militant group from the territories it controls in the west and north of the Arab country.
“We might be forced to ask Russia to launch airstrikes in Iraq soon. I think in the upcoming few days or weeks Iraq will be forced to ask Russia to launch airstrikes and that depends on their success in Syria,” the head of the Iraqi parliament’s defense and security committee, Hakim al-Zamili, said on Wednesday, urging Moscow to play a bigger role than the United States in fighting terrorists in Iraq.
Baghdad has long criticized the ineffectiveness of the aerial military campaign by Washington and its allies against alleged Daesh positions in Iraq. However, Moscow’s recent military intervention against the terrorists in Syria has raised hopes of a similar move in Iraq.
“We are seeking to see Russia have a bigger role in Iraq. … Yes, definitely a bigger role than the Americans,” Zamili said.
The senior Iraqi legislator also expressed hope that a newly-established security and intelligence-sharing command center which includes Iran, Iraq and Syria and Russia and is set to begin work in Iraq, could make the anti-Daesh battle more effective.
“We believe that this center will develop in the near future to be a joint operation command to lead the war against Daesh in Iraq,” he added.
Russia has been pounding the positions of Daesh and other militant groups in Syria for a week, a move which has clearly irritated the United States and other Western governments. Washington accuses Russia of targeting the so-called moderate militants in Syria, but Moscow denies the charges, saying it chooses its targets based on intelligence provided by the Syrian army. Russia has also sought to play down the significance of US-fabricated distinction between militants in Syria.
Earlier in the day, Russian officials said they would consider an airborne operation against Daesh Takfiri terrorists in Iraq if they received a formal request from the Arab country on the issue.
Valentina Matviyenko, the Russian Federation Council speaker, said Russian leaders would be open to study “the political and military expediency” of an operation in Iraq in case of official request by Iraq.