A work in progress

Date Event Source
Earlier in 2015 “Three senior officials in the region say Soleimani’s July trip was preceded by high-level Russian-Iranian contacts that produced political agreement on the need to pump in new support for Assad…”

“The decision for a joint Iranian-Russian military effort in Syria was taken at a meeting between Russia’s foreign minister [i.e., Sergei Lavrov] and [Iran leader Ayatollah Ali] Khameini a few months ago…Soleimani, assisgned by Khameni to run the Iranian side of the operatin, traveled to Moscow to discuss details.”

Reporting by Laila Bassam and Tom Perry

7/14 Nuclear Deal Reached with Iran
7/24 Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani arrives in Moscow for meetings with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin

Reporting by Jennifer Griffin and Lucas Tomlinson:

“Soleimani arrived in Moscow on Air Iran flight #5130, a commercial flight from Tehran, at 6:50 a.m. on July 24, a Friday….



“…Soleimani…went to Moscow in August [sic] with the message that Russian airstrikes against the Islamic state group in Syria weree imperative…The meeting also covered plans to create a joint intelligence-sharing center between Iraq, Syria, Iran and Russia in Baghdad, which began operating later the same month.”

Reporting by Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Vivian Salama, AP



“At a meeting in Moscow in July, [Soleimani] unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for…Assad could be turned into victory—with Russia’s help.”

“The Russians were very alarmed…The Iranians assured them there is still the possibility to reclaim the initiative…Soleimani [assured] them that we haven’t lost all the cards.”

Reporting by Laila Bassam and Tom Perry

7/26 Soleimani departs Moscow Id.  Griffin and Tomlinson:

“…He left Moscow the following Sunday, July 26, at 10:25 p.m. on flight #5120, according to western intelligence sources.”

7/29 Secretary of State Kerry, Secretary of Defense Carter and others testify before Senate
Armed Services Committee in support of Iran nuclear deal.  Kerry testifies that “under the United States initiative, Soleimani will never be relieved of any sanctions.”
8/10 “Iranian officials” confirm that Soleimani “traveled to Russia in July to discuss future weapons deals, including the purchase of the S-300 missile system.”


8/12 Kerry raises “concern” about Soleimani visit with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei  Lavrov

Reporting by Karen de Young

8/14 Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov denies that Soleimani was in Moscow “last week.”  “U.S. reports on the alleged Soleimani visit to Moscow, however, said it took place last month [i.e., July] and not last week as Ryabkov stated in his denial.”

Anonymous, “based on reporting by Interfax, Tass, AFP and AP

8/26 “Russia Direct” raises skeptical questions about earlier reporting on the Soleimani visit:  “What is the source of the information, why did it appear, and was there any reason for the Quds force commander to fly to Moscow, and on a commercial flight at that?”

Article by Yulia Sveshnikova, “Research Fellow at National Research Center—Higher School of Economics (Moscow)”

9/22 Soleimani “spotted in Baghdad on September 22.  He met with Shia militias backed by Iran; intelligence officials believe he met with Russians as well.”

Reporting by Lucas Tomlinson and Jennifer Griffin

9/27 Announcement by Iraqi military of intelligence-sharing agreement between Iraq and Russia, Iran and Syria

Reporting by Michael R. Gordon

9/27 “Military diplomatic source in Moscow” quoted as saying the Baghdad coordination center will be led on a rotating basis by officers of the four countries, starting with Iraq.

Reporting by Steven Kalin

9/27 Nasir Nouri Mohammed, a spokesman for the Iraqi defense ministry, says the intelligence-sharing operation will open in Baghdad “in weeks, maybe less.”

Reporting by Loveday Morris

9/28 Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi defends the intelligence-sharing agreement, welcoming Russia’s involvement, and states that “we welcomed [Russia’s] interest by establishing an intelligence cell in which Syria and Iraq participate.”


9/28 U. S. officials attempt to down-play the significance of the intelligence-sharing announement but are characterized as having been taken by surprise.  “U.S. officials say the new cell is housed in a building across from the Iraqi Defense Ministry in Baghdad’s Green Zone and includes small numbers of low-to mid-level security officials from Russia, Syria, and Iran.”

Reporting by Missy Ryan

10/7 State Department spokesman John Kirby, answering the question, “Why does the U.S. refuse to share [with Russia] intelligence about ISIS positions,” states:  “I don’t know how you can share intelligence when you don’t share a basic, common objective inside Syria.”

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