According to a statement from Iraq’s Defense Committee leader Hakim al-Zamli, the government has formally authorized Russia to carry out airstrikes against ISIS convoys that have crossed into Iraqi territory from Syria, a move he says is key to weakening supply lines.
The move comes amid a solid week of US officials warning Russia away from any involvement in Iraq, and threats to punish Iraq if they dared to accept any help from Russia, insisting Iraq had to choose between the two potential partners in the war.
It’s unclear, however, if this authorization is a direct violation of US demands, since it appears to be limited just to operations in the immediate area around the border. Given how much of ISIS territory in Iraq is along the Syria border, however, it may be a subtle distinction.
It may be sufficient, however, to avoid any public US retaliation, as it is clear the Obama Administration never seriously intended to end the war just because they weren’t getting their way, and can likely spin this as a concession from Iraq.