Iraqi National Security Advisor Falih al-Fayyad is visiting Moscow for security talks with Russian officials, the Iranian media reports. “Fayyad’s talks will focus on greater coordination of Iraqi-Russian efforts to fight terrorism and eradicate ‘Takfiri terrorist group’ Daesh [the Islamic State],” Fars News Agency (FNA), a mouthpiece of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), quoted an unnamed Iraqi source. According to FNA, this is the first time that a PMF delegation is visiting a foreign country after the Iraqi parliament legalized the militias as an integral part of the country’s armed forces.
A review of latest interviews with commanders of Iran-run Iraqi PMF units in IRGC-affiliated outlets indicates that the Islamic Republic is planning to deploy more Iraqi Shiite militia forces to the Syrian front lines once the Islamic State is ousted from the Iraqi city of Mosul.
Fayyad’s visit to Moscow for security talks may also be an effort by Russia and Tehran to strengthen the PMF’s political and military status inside Iraq and encourage the PMF leadership to deploy more combatants to fight in Syria.
Fayyad has previously emphasized that Iraqi militias may fight in Syria after Mosul. “Iraq shares borders and wide areas with Syria,” Lebanese Hezbollah’s website al-Manar quoted Fayyad on October 30. “The Syrian arena overlapping the Iraqi arena, and we might enter into areas inside Syria to deter ISIL [Islamic State] after the liberation of Mosul.”