In addition, during his recent trip to New York, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told a gathering of media professionals, “[Russian President] Mr. Putin had personally asked me to form a strategic coalition with him against terrorism in Syria. However, there is no strategic coalition between Tehran and Moscow.”
In the meantime, it appears that Iraqi officials are most eager about the base. The Iraqi prime minister’s spokesman, Saad al-Hadithi, told French media that “the intelligence sharing base which is about to be formed is a joint coordination committee between the four countries mentioned. Security issues will determine when this committee will start to function.”
Of note, the United States has not welcomed the formation of this military intelligence collaboration. US Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work reacted to news of the joint base by saying, “We were caught by surprise that Iraq entered into this agreement with Syria and Iran and Russia. Obviously, we are not going to share intelligence with either Syria or Russia or Iran. So we are in the process of working to try to find out exactly what Iraq has said. We’re not going to provide any classified information to help those actors on the battlefield.”
During the past weeks, Russia has been flexing its muscles in the Middle East. It has sent dozens of fighter aircraft, bombers, tanks, artilleries and commando forces to Syria in order to fight the groups opposed to the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Moscow’s clear desire to increase its military presence in Syria and the region shows that Putin is looking for a new regional order. Russia has already been active in the region, for example, by providing Sukhoi fighters to Iraq, providing political and military support for Syria, as well as maintaining a naval presence in the Syrian ports of Latakia and Tartus.