Iraqis have found a new hero called "Hajji Putin."
Disappointed by Washington’s failure to defeat the Islamic State terrorist forces, Iraqis are now turning toward Russia for help.
Some people even want to give Putin honorary citizenship because, according to one Iraqi student, the Russian president loves Iraqis more than their own politicians.
"I have been waiting for Russia to get involved in the fight against Daesh," Mohammed Karim Nihaya, a painter living in Baghdad, told Agence France-Presse, using an alternate name for ISIS.
Although the U.S.-led coalition has been fighting in the Middle East to reclaim territories under ISIS’ control, the campaign is largely ineffective and terrorists are still blowing up temples and massacring innocent civilians in Syria, Iraq and Jordan.
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So when Russian warplanes began bombing ISIS targets in Syria on Sept. 30, distraught Iraqis were intrigued. In fact, according to the latest reports, Iraq may request Russian air strikes on its soil soon against the militant group.
“In the upcoming few days or weeks, I think Iraq will be forced to ask Russia to launch air strikes, and that depends on their success in Syria," Hakim al-Zamili, a leading Shi'ite politician, told Reuters in an interview.
Meanwhile, everyday Iraqis can’t stop admiring Putin.
"I thank Putin because he convinced me to stay in Iraq... Hajji Putin is better than Hussein Obama," a taxi driver Ali al-Rammahi told AFP. Hajji is a title of respect in Islam, mostly given to Muslims who have performed the holy pilgrimage to Mecca.
"We should give Putin Iraqi and Syrian citizenship because he loves us more than our own politicians," added a student named Mohammed al-Bahadli.
While these people cannot be blamed for their loss of hope in the U.S.-led coalition, pinning hopes on Kremlin for reprieve might not be a good idea.
Although Russia says its military campaign is directed toward ISIS in Syria, more than 90% of their strikes have missed militant targets.
So, Iraqis might want to rethink their hero worship of Putin.
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