Officials: Russia-Iraq intel-sharing pact could ‘complicate’ U.S. operations in Iraq

Officials: Russia-Iraq intel-sharing pact could ‘complicate’ U.S. operations in Iraq
Gnarly Russian brass visit troops launching military exercise near St. Petersburg, Mar 2015. (Image: AP/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)

[Ed. – Gee, ya think?]

Russian reconnaissance flights over Iraq to spy on Islamic State militants would complicate the U.S.-led campaign against the extremist group but wouldn’t obstruct it, American officials said Monday after Baghdad left open the possibility of overflights by Moscow.

At the same time, U.S. ability to share intelligence with Iraq could be diminished if the Iraqis are sharing information with the Russians, American defense officials said. …

Though Russia has long exercised considerable influence in Syria, it has yet to get involved in Iraq where the U.S. has been active in supporting Iraqis fighting Islamic State.

Senior Obama administration officials said they expect Iraq could share intelligence from the U.S. with Russia, and therefore Syria, and now has to factor that into cooperation with Baghdad. Col. Warren said the U.S. and Iraqis currently share only intelligence that is specific to Islamic State targets in Iraq. The U.S. “always takes appropriate precautions to safeguard sources and methods,” he said. …

Mr. Putin said Russia was setting up a center with Iraq, Syria and Iran to “coordinate the efforts of regional powers in fighting” Islamic State and other terrorist groups. He said Russia was open to any other countries joining.

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