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    Islamic State militants passing a checkpoint bearing the group's trademark black flag in the village of Maryam Begg in Kirkuk, 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq

    Fight Against IS Could Benefit US-Russia Relations: Former Deputy Commander

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    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)
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    Former deputy commander of the US Central Command Robert Harward claims that cooperation against IS could benefit US-Russia relations.

    WASHINGTON, November 13 (RIA Novosti) – Russia and the United States should use the current fight against Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria to build and expand their dialogue, former deputy commander of the US Central Command Robert Harward has told RIA Novosti.

    "Immediately, most pressing they [Washington and Moscow] should leverage this opportunity to strengthen those bonds in these discussions and things we can cooperate on, not the things we don't agree on," Harward said.

    He noted that Russia's role in resolving the Syrian issue of chemical and biological weapons last year demonstrates what can be leveraged if the two countries act together.

    "If we look at the success that happened there and build on that, it will be beneficial to both our countries," Harward said answering the question if Moscow and Washington might cooperate amid the present tensions.

    The former deputy commander stressed that "stability in the region" is also Russia's long-term interest.

    The IS extremist group has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, IS launched attacks in Iraq and declared an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.

    US-led coalition to fight IS consists of more than 60 countries, and is currently carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State positions in Iraq and Syria. Russia has said the fight against the extremist group should be maintained by the UN Security Council, as the coalition's efforts are not sufficient.

    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)


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