US Generals Seek Increased Coordination With Russia in Iraq, Syria

Deconfliction Talks Aim to Prevent US, Russian Planes Getting in Each Other's Way

US generals have been pushing for increased military coordination with Russia for some time, and are pushing for a new round of deconfliction talks with Russia centered on Iraq and Syria, hoping to limit the risk of US and Russian planes entering the same airspace and getting in each other’s way.

Officials, the Pentagon is selling it as necessary to protect the pilots from mid-air collision from just happening to smack into Russian planes mid-air, though officials say they’ve had previous incidents where they had to abandon planned strikes because Russia was already carrying out attacks in the same area, and that they might be more efficient working together on what’s getting bombed.

This is complicated by ongoing NATO efforts to reduce cooperation with Russia in every way possible, which is severely limiting the amount of information sharing the two nations are participating in within Syria. Officials concede that the new deconfliction would risk looking like further collaboration.

Which is kind of the point, as some of the Pentagon leadership has been complaining the situation has gone too far, noting that the US and Russian militaries always had direct communication available during the Cold War, in a way that has recently become politically unpopular.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.