Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi defended his country's intelligence-sharing agreement with Russia, Syria, and Iran, saying Baghdad needs to work with these countries to defeat the Islamic State militant group.
In a televised speech before his departure to attend the United Nations General Assembly on September 28, Abadi said Iraq welcomed Russia's "recent interest" in battling IS, which had taken over a third of Iraq's territory.
"Many terrorists who are fighting with [IS] are Russian who would return to Russia to carry out terrorist acts," Abadi said, noting that his country's interests are aligned with Syria, Russia, and Iran in seeking to eliminate IS.
Iraq will continue to work closely with the U.S.-led coalition that has been bombing IS in Syria and Iraq, he said. Iraq needs "all the world's intelligence efforts in order to fight, to besiege, and to terminate Daesh [IS]."
Iraq's decision to strengthen ties with Syrian President Bashar Assad and his two main allies, however, potentially complicates U.S. efforts to combat IS without strengthening Assad, whom the United States has refused to work with.
Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Interfax