Russians and Iranians together in the same trench

It’s true that this is the third time in months I have written about the alleged dispute between the Russians and the Iranians. I still find it hard to believe news about this rift and instead believe it is fabricated, with the purpose of masking Russia’s intervention in Syria to ease widespread anger from many Arab states against the Russians.

Yesterday, Arab media echoed news of the dispute, this time from Baghdad, which is typically a reliable news center due to its multiple affiliations. But there is still nothing that proves, with accuracy, that tensions exist between both countries. If anything, evidence on the ground suggests that Russia and Iran’s military and political forces are sharing the same trench.

It seems to me that conflict-of-interest rumors between both countries are either wishful thinking, or a part of Moscow’s propaganda push

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

On Syrian battlegrounds, the work is comfortably divided. There are no Russian ground forces and no Iranian air forces, making them complementary armies. Even if disagreements over day-to-day battles existed, this would be expected of any war. These disagreements reportedly included forcing Iranian military leaders to relocate some of their units from certain areas, as well as Russian aircrafts mistakenly bombing Iranian-allied militias. It seems to me that conflict-of-interest rumors between both countries are either wishful thinking, or a part of Moscow’s propaganda push that has been in motion since Russia got involved in the war alongside the Iranians to save Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Solid ties

There is a solid relationship between the two governments. Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have visited Tehran three weeks ago if there was a dispute. It was his first visit in eight years, during which he met the Supreme Leader who offered him an old copy of the Quran. Putin pledged to President Hassan Rowhani exports worth $5 billion, and the two governments signed agreements, including military deals. It is difficult to believe that there is a dispute when their relationship appears to be strong. The news from Iraq about the supposed rift between the two allies now has no value and most likely, the truth is quite the opposite.

Iraq, not Syria, is the country located at the center of high tensions between international and regional powers. The Americans are fighting in Ramadi, Russians are advancing in the northeast, Iranians in Baghdad and the south, Turks in the Kurdish region and around Mosul, while ISIS is tunneling more trenches in Mosul and several cities in the western provinces. Washington has announced it will deploy troops on Iraq's border with Syria, as well as supporting Sunni tribes in Anbar, which indicates an escalation of the conflict between the many axes of power.

Although nothing is impossible in politics, it’s difficult to believe that there is a dispute between the Russians and the Iranians. The reiteration of this rumor is merely a cooked up recipe for psychological warfare.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Dec. 26, 2015.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 13:57 - GMT 10:57
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