Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 15
By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:
The US and Iran, despite differences on many issues, have common goals in Iraq, said Vladimir Yevseyev, the director of the Russia-based Public and Political Studies Center.
"Tactically, the positions of Washington and Tehran coincide on the Iraqi problem, which allows them to coordinate joint activities (at official level both sides refuse this)," Yevseyev told Trend Dec. 15.
However, in his opinion, the strategic goals of the US and Iran in the region are different.
The expert says Iran is interested in preservation of Iraq as a unified state and the elimination of the "Islamic State" terrorist organization both in Iraq and Syria.
"In turn, the Americans are only interested in weakening rather than eliminating the 'Islamic State'," he said, adding "Aside from that, they would like to increase their influence in Iraq through Tehran."
"This will significantly limit the abilities of the cooperation between US and Iran in the fight against the 'Islamic State'," Yevseyev said.
In general, as the expert says, Iran is now actively involved in the resolution of the Iraqi crisis.
"And it [Iran] works with both Iraqi leadership, represented by the Prime Minister Haider Jawad al-Abadi, and the leadership of the Iraqi Kurdistan, represented by the President Massoud Barzani," Yevseyev said.
He also noted that there are Iranian instructors in the Shia part of Iraq and in the Iraqi Kurdistan, adding that Iranian weapons are being delivered there.
"Aside from that, there are 'Quds' units of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps near Baghdad," he said.
Earlier, the US Ministry of Defense reported that Iran's fighter jets attacked the militants' positions in eastern Iraq. The US supported Iran's actions concerning to the IS. Later, Tehran's officials disseminated the contradictory information. It confirmed and refuted the military operation.
"It is rather difficult to confirm or refute the information regarding the use of the Iranian aviation against the IS militants," Yevseyev said. "In principle, this could happen, but it was not of a mass character."
The 'Islamic State' (IS, formerly ISIL or ISIS,) was created in 2003 in Iraq. Between 2004 and 2006, the organization was led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and consisted of 11 radical Islamist groups, which had close ties to the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda.
Following the start of military confrontation in Syria between the armed opposition and the government forces, the IS penetrated the country in 2013. The organization said at the time it refuses to take the oath of Al-Qaeda and declared 'a holy war' against all groups in Iraq and Syria, as well as the Syrian government forces.
Strengthening of the IS in Syria allowed it to return to Iraq, deploying military actions against government forces there.
In late June of 2014, the IS announced about the creation of the 'Islamic Caliphate' on the territories under its control in Iraq and Syria. In turn, Iraqi authorities asked the international community for help in fighting the IS.
Elena Kosolapova is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova