Iraq Favors Strengthening Military Ties with Russia

Iraqi army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Othman Al-Ghanimi, and Russian Ambassador Maksim Maksimov met to discuss closer military ties between Baghdad and Moscow.

According to AP, Ghanimi commended the role of Russia in helping Iraq defeating the Islamic State (IS). He also thanked Moscow for providing the Iraqi army with “advanced and effective equipment and weapons that had a major role in resolving many battles”.

The parties agreed on closer coordination so to prevent the resurgence of the Islamic State, according to a ministry statement cited in the report.

Maksimov extended an invitation to al-Ghanimi to visit Russia and meet with his counterpart “within the framework of strengthening cooperation between the two sides,” the statement said.

The discussions around stronger military ties between Baghdad and Moscow come amid a phase of uncertainty in the relations between Iraq and the United States after the latter killed Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani and Iraq’s senior militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis early in January near Baghdad airport.

The killing to military figures triggered a wave of angry reactions by the Iranian-backed Shia factions at the Iraqi parliament, who passed a rushed resolution to demand the government to ask the US and other foreign troops to leave Iraq. Source

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