The governments of Iran and Russia have announced a joint effort to enhance their military operations against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL). Militaries from both countries will be working with Iraqi commanders.
“Over 60 military experts from Russia and Iran created a joint operations headquarters in the Al Rasheed Hotel in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad,” said a report handed to an Iranian news agency.
According to RFERL:
The unnamed Iraqi sources went on to say that more than 60 Russian and other experts were currently in Baghdad and staying at the Royal Tulip Al Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad’s Green Zone. The experts specialize in the training of officers and Iraqi pilots as well as the use of Russian military equipment, including the helicopters that Moscow recently supplied to Baghdad. Earlier this month, Russian media reported that Iraq had received a third consignment of Russian Mi-35M helicopters.
Iran and Russia grew closer after the United States placed sanctions on Moscow for its treatment of Ukraine. In August, the two countries signed deals that included energy and goods. On October 16, Iran and Russia conducted a joint naval exercise in the Caspian Sea. There has been no confirmation that the exercises were meant for a future fight against the Islamic State.
However, an alliance between Russia and Iran to fight against ISIS has been in the works for weeks. Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Security Council in September that he “would consider working with international partners” against the Islamic State.