Russian cooperation with Iran and Iraq has broader consequences than saving Assad

The Conversation - October 15, 2015

Nader Habibi is the Henry J. Leir Professor of the Economics of the Middle East at the Crown Center.

Harith Hasan Al-Qarawee is a Junior Research Fellow at the Crown Center.

The sudden launch of Russia’s military operations in Syria late last month caught the United States and regional players by surprise. It began with an announcement that defined the primary objective of the mission as a confrontation with the Islamic State (ISIS) in cooperation with the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad.

The strategy involves three components. First, Russia is expanding its military facilities in Syria. Second, Russia remains committed to the survival of Assad’s regime and its fight against ISIS in Syria. Third, Russia announced an intelligence sharing and flight corridor agreement with Iran and Iraq.

So far Western governments and commentators have focused on the first and second components of the new Russian strategy. The third part, however, is equally significant for the course of geopolitical developments in the region and deserves a more detailed analysis.... Read the Full Text