Iraqi Parliament to Vote on Request for Russian Airstrikes
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iraq's parliament is planning to vote to request support from Russia in fighting the ISIL group by the end of the month, a member of the State of Law Coalition said.
According to a member of the State of Law Coalition, Iraq's parliament is planning to vote whether or not the country will request the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces in fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant militant group by the end of this month.
The State of Law Coalition is Iraq's largest political party, led by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and is part of the ruling coalition. The legislator told Sputnik that the vote is expected to pass with majority support. The US has been increasingly concerned about Russian influence in Iraq, and has sent envoys to the country to dissuade further cooperation.
"We have enough strength in the parliament," legislator Mowaffak Rubaie said.
Rubaie is also a former national security adviser in Nouri al-Maliki's government. Iraq has spent over $20 billion on US military training since the 2003 US invasion which toppled Saddam Hussein. The new army has been unable to counter ISIL and has a dire lack of heavy equipment, such as artillery and helicopters.
Iraq has recently purchased TOS-1 multiple rocket launcher systems and Mi-28 helicopter gunships from Russia to strengthen its army in the fight against the notorious terrorist group. At the same time, US airstrikes in the country have failed to help the Iraqi government mount an offensive against ISIL.
The United States' top-ranking general Joseph Dunford visited Iraq on Tuesday to seek assurances that Iraq would not request Russian aid in its operation against ISIL.
"Both the minister of defense and the prime minister said: 'Absolutely.' There is no request right now for the Russians to support them, there's no consideration for the Russians to support them, and the Russians haven't asked them to come in and conduct operations," Dunford said as quoted by Reuters.
A week prior to Dunford's visit, the US State Department envoy for the US-led anti-ISIL coalition also visited Iraq, telling Iraqi Prime Minister that the US is "disturbed" by Russian-Iraqi cooperation, according to leaks reported in regional media.
The new vote would alter these assurances, as Iraq's government is obligated to follow decisions made by its legislature, Rubaie told Sputnik.