The Washington Post quotes Rafik Hariri Center Resident Senior Fellow Frederic C. Hof on Iraq’s expanded security cooperation with Russia and Syria in the fight against ISIS and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s motivations for the arrangement:

“I think the purpose of this cell is less to produce and share intelligence than it is to put an exclamation point on Mr. Putin’s thesis that anti-ISIL operations must be conducted through ‘existing governments,’ ” said Fred Hof, a former senior State Department official who is now a fellow at the Atlantic Council.

“His aim is to use the threat posed by ISIL to rehabilitate his client: the same Bashar al-Assad whose policies of collective punishment and mass murder created the vacuum that ISIL now fills in eastern Syria,” Hof said.

Read the full article here.

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