RuAF Antonov An-124-100 Ruslan at at Bassel al-Assad Airport, near Latakia, Syria
According to Reuters:
Iraq said on Saturday that its military officials were engaged in intelligence and security cooperation in Baghdad with Russia, Iran and Syria to counter the threat from the Islamic State militant group, a pact that could raise concerns in Washington.
A statement from the Iraqi military's joint operations command said the cooperation had come "with increased Russian concern about the presence of thousands of terrorists from Russia undertaking criminal acts with Daesh (Islamic State)."
The move could give Moscow more sway in the Middle East. It has stepped up its military involvement in Syria in recent weeks while pressing for Damascus to be included in international efforts to fight Islamic State, a demand Washington rejects.COMMENTARY: News of this was first indicated by an anonymous American official last Friday. The next day, Iraqi Joint Forces Command issued statement confirming Russian, Iranian, Syrian and Iraqi military cooperation against ISIL.
From an objective military standpoint, such cooperation is logical. It's also possible maintaining of the logistical air bridge over Iraq to Syria was discussed.
An advantage of the Russians and Iranians in the war against Al-Qaeda and ISIL is possession of a reliable partner inside Syria. That reliable partner is the Syrian Arab Republic, a sovereign state recognized by the United Nations. Unfortunately, the United States lacks a reliable partner at anywhere near such a level inside Syria, with attempts to compose one so far rendering unsatisfactory results.
This move comes not only at a time where Russia has landed a significant military force into Syria, but also at a time where Baghdad is experiencing political crisis and military stalemate.
The move further enhances Russia and Iran's peace process for Syria, which will be the subject of discussion on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session now in progress.
It is even being said the Iranians may be included in discussions aimed at resolving the conflict in Yemen, a development a number of European high ranking officials recently advocated while visiting Tehran, seeking post-JCPOA economic ties.