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The New Arab

Russia 'to help Iraq battle Israeli air strikes'

Russia may be trying to convince Iraq to buy its weapons [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 August, 2019

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Despite endorsing Israeli airstrikes on Iraq, Russia's ambassador said Moscow will help Baghdad defend itself against Israel's strikes.

Russia has reportedly pledged support for the Iraqi air forces as Israel bombards military bases of Shia militia forces.

Iraq's parliament announced Moscow's assistance to Iraq on Tuesday after his meeting with the Russian ambassador in Baghdad.

Mohammed Halbousi said the meeting with Maxim Maksimov, was "to strengthen joint cooperation in various fields, as well as strengthening the role of parliamentary diplomacy".

Local media in Iraq quoted the Russian ambassador as saying Moscow is keen to support Iraq in the UN Security Council in order to increase its air defence capabilities.

This comes a week after both Russia and the US reportedly gave Israel the green light to bomb Popular Mobilsation Forces, a coalition of Iran-linked militias known in Arabic as Hashd al-Shaabi, targets in Iraq.

Both Moscow and Washington last week said the bombardments are "vital to ensure Israeli security" and that Israel should be allowed to continue tracking Iranian activity in Syria and Iraq, according to a source who spoke to Asharq al-Awsat.

Analysts say Russia's dubious role of endorsing Israel bombing Hashd al-Shaabi targets, whilst pledging to help defend the militia by propping up Iraq's air forces is yet more proof of Russia's mysterious role in the Middle East, a country which is close to both Israel and Iran.

Iraqi security expert Ahmed al-Hamdani told The New Arab’s Arabic language service that Moscow often plays opposing sides in the region against one another.

He alleged that Moscow is playing a role in escalating tensions between the US, Israel against Iran to boost weapons sales and encourage Baghdad to buy Russian air defence systems.

 

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