Two decades ago if somebody talked about a strategic deal between Iran and Iraq people would have laughed. But today that became a reality.
The Iranian defence minister and his Iraqi counterpart signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Sunday in Tehran to strengthen military cooperation. Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan and Iraqi Defense Minister Erfan al-Hiyali inked the MoU to promote counter-terrorism cooperation, joint training and other efforts to ensure border security and provide logistical, technical and military support. Tehran and Baghdad have been closely coordinating their actions for three years in the fight against the Islamic State terror organisation. The defence ministers hope to bolster bilateral military cooperation between the neighbours, which signed a defence agreement in December 2014. (laht.com)
The Iraqi minister acknowledged Iran's help in the fight against Islamic State and also stressed the importance of unity. Iraq's Kurdistan region has announced it will hold an independence referendum in September. "We will not let any political side disintegrate Iraq," Hayali said. In his talks with Hayali, Shamkhani warned that "secessionist approaches can become a platform, to prepare the ground for insecurity and instability". Tehran has been a key supporter of Baghdad in its fight against Islamic State and has provided Iraq with financial and military help. Iran has its own Kurdish population along its borders with Iraq and Turkey and does not want to see Iraq's Kurdish region become an independent state. (firstpost.com)
He also voiced Iran’s support to the Iraqi armed forces in the fight against terrorism, as well as assistance in rebuilding and developing Iraqi cities after years of war. Iran was among the first countries coming to the aid of the Iraq when Daesh insurgents seized control of vast areas of the Arab country in 2014 and announced the establishment of a new caliphate. The Islamic Republic has also sent military advisers to train the Iraqi army and the Kurdish forces to fight Daesh. (tehrantimes.com)
Something to learn from
The signing of a deal between Iran and Iraq is something to learn from. The war between these two countries lasted 8 years killing about 1 million people in both these countries. The challenge between these two countries are quite real. They have a Shia and Sunni divide and then there is the issue of the rest of the Arab neighbourhood that includes Saudi, Kuwait and Qatar.