Iraq seek help from Russia

Iraq seek help from Russia

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Iraq may request Russian air strikes against Islamic State on its soil soon and wants Moscow to have a bigger role than the United States in the war against the militant group, the head of Parliament’s defence and security committee said on Wednesday.“In the upcoming few days or weeks, I think Iraq will be forced to ask Russia to launch air strikes, and that depends on their success in Syria,” Hakim al-Zamili, a leading Shia politician, told Reuters in an interview.The comments were the clearest signal yet that Baghdad intends to lean on Russia in the war on Islamic State after US-led coalition airstrikes produced limited results.Russian military action in Iraq would deepen US fears that it is losing more strategic ground to rivals in one of the world’s most critical regions.Russia is weighing in behind President Bashar al-Assad with air strikes in Syria while its ally Iran holds deep sway in Iraq, including military advisors who help direct the battle against Islamic State.Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said he would welcome Russian air strikes on Islamic State militants in Iraq and powerful Iranian-backed Shia militias hope for a partnership with Russia to counter US influence.”We are seeking to see Russia have a bigger role in Iraq. … Yes, definitely a bigger role than the Americans,” Zamili said.Shia militias, long mistrustful of the United States, see Russia’s intervention as an opportunity to turn the tables.”The Russian intervention came at the right time and right place and we think it will change all rules of the game not only in Syria but in Iraq also,” said Muen al-Kadhimi, an aide to Hadi al-Amiri, the most powerful Shia militia leader.”The government has been relying heavily on an untrustworthy ally, which is the United States, and this fault should be fixed.”

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