According to Iraqi MPs familiar with the situation, Prime Minister Hayder Abadi is “under tremendous pressure” to formally request military aid against ISIS from the Russian Federation, despite US threats to end all aid to the government if they do so.
The MPs were quoted as saying an “official request” was made to Abadi by the ruling Iraqi National Alliance, the bloc of Shi’ite political parties to which the premier belongs. There have also been reports of key militia figures calling for Abadi to start courting Russia.
When Russia launched its first airstrikes against ISIS in Syria a few weeks ago, Abadi said he would “welcome” Russian help against ISIS, though Russia has so far not received any formal request to that end, and thus has limited their operations to Syria.
US General Joe Dunford was in Iraq last week to warn Abadi against any such move, and insisted yesterday that Iraq “doesn’t want Russia’s help,” though this seems to be more wishful thinking on the Pentagon’s part than any real statement of Iraq’s policy.
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