Does Iran even want Russia in Syria?

By Abbas Qaidaari, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

The already complex situations in Iraq and Syria have become more complicated following the announcement that an intelligence sharing command base has been formed by Iran, Russia, Syria and Iraq. The base, which is slated to be set up in Baghdad, is geared to enhance collaboration in the fight against the Islamic State (IS).

News of the initiative was originally reported by the Russian news agency Sputnik. It quoted a Russian diplomatic source as saying, “This shared intelligence base will be formed by the representatives of the chiefs of joint military staff of each of these four countries. … The first goal of the base is to gather intelligence regarding the region in the framework of fighting against this terrorist group. After the data is collected, it will be analyzed and will eventually be forwarded to the related organizations in the armed forces of each of these countries.”

The Russian source added that “the command of this base will rotate every three months between the member states and the first rotating president will be Iraq.” Russia’s official representative to the base, Sergei Kuralenko, further stated that “all four countries will have equal responsibilities in coordinating the fight against [IS]. The responsibilities of each side will be determined by a special charter, which will be soon adopted.”

Although Russian media and Russian officials have been very clear and detailed about the base, it appears that Iranian officials still have their doubts. For example, the Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Danaeifar, responded to the news by saying, “This is a rumor! It is not as serious as it sounds. Iran has its own plans for fighting against Daesh [IS] in Iraq and Syria. Iran’s plans include logistic, consultation and training, and we are seriously following up on them. We have our own plans and we are depending on those.”

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