Update: Quite clearly, the RIA Novosti article states that Russia’s vital interests lie in the Former Soviet Union, not Iraq. I must have been half asleep when I wrote this article as I assumed it was referring to Russian interests in Iraq. I’m very dumb sometimes.
Nonetheless, if Russia were to agree to send troops to Iraq, I stand by my assertion that it would be inconceivable without there also being an agreement that Russia had strong business and political interests there too. (Thanks to Nathan, who is clearly far more awake than I).
According to leaks from Washington, the newspaper writes, Russia has agreed to be involved in the Iraqi campaign in exchange for America recognizing the former Soviet Union as a zone of Russia’s vital interests.
Of course, even if this rumour were true, it wouldn’t mean that the US would bow out of Iraq, leaving Russia as the most influential outside power.
Most likely it would mean that America has decided to accept that Russia has substantial business and economic interests in Iraq. When put together with the story I posted earlier today that Russia – with US blessing – plans to start selling arms to Iraq once again, it begins to seem almost plausible that Russia has done the previously unthinkable and agreed to send troops to Iraq.