No Pretext Left for 'Uninvited' Foreign Powers to Stay in Region: Australian Prof.
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A professor of political economy based in Australia said that after the collapse of Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) terrorist group in Syria and Iraq, there is no pretext for the “uninvited” foreign powers, like the US, to stay in the Middle East anymore.
“There are several important implications of the latest Resistance Axis victory: first, the two principally affected states can turn to other important concerns,” Professor Tim Anderson, a lecturer at the University of Sydney, said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
“The Republic of Iraq can continue its process of consolidating an independent state, while the Syrian Arab Republic can turn to the elimination of the internationalized sectarian gangs in western Syria,” he added.
“Second, the uninvited foreign powers can be expelled from the region, their most recent pretext for intervention (‘fighting Daesh’) having been exhausted,” the analyst noted.
Professor Tim Anderson is a distinguished author and senior lecturer of political economy at the University of Sydney, Australia. Author of the 'The Dirty War on Syria', he has been largely published on various issues particularly the Syrian crisis.
The following is the full text of the interview:
Tasnim: As you know, the resistance forces and the armies in Syria and Iraq have recently liberated last strongholds of Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) terrorist group in the Arab countries. What do you think about the recent military achievements? Do you have a positive perspective on the security situation?
Anderson: As should be well known, the governments of Iraq, Syria, and Russia have all recently declared victory over the forces of Daesh in both Iraq and Syria. This does not mean that the sectarian terrorist group has been totally eliminated but rather than it has no significant urban bases. That is a most important breakthrough because fighting terrorist groups in urban areas was very difficult, because of the gangs’ many hostages and other civilians nearby. There was a real danger to civilians and the sponsors of the terror groups created constant propaganda distractions, crying ‘human rights’ when the gangs were being bombed.
The western media is almost silent over this unexpected outcome and, in its place, some are pretending that the US-led, Qatar-based group was responsible for the defeat of Daesh. That is absurd, but plays its part in the attempts to sanitize imperial history.
There are several important implications of the latest Resistance Axis victory. First, the two principally affected states can turn to other important concerns. The Republic of Iraq can continue its process of consolidating an independent state, while the Syrian Arab Republic can turn to the elimination of the internationalized sectarian gangs in western Syria. Second, the uninvited foreign powers can be expelled from the region, their most recent pretext for intervention (‘fighting Daesh’) having been exhausted. Third, the peoples of the region will understand more clearly who are the guarantors of their safety and national integrity. The independent countries of the region are seeing a consolidation of their internal support.
After orchestrating direct and terrorist wars in at least six countries over the past 16 years, Washington, London, Paris, and their acolytes project propaganda which wails most loudly about the forces that successfully resisted their aggression. They complain about Hezbollah which, by successfully resisting apartheid Israel, prevented the annexation and disintegration of Lebanon. They tell constant lies about the Syrian Arab Army which, at great cost, did exactly what a national army should do: defend its people from sectarian terrorists and foreign aggression. The big powers raise false ‘sectarian’ scandals over Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi, without which Iraq as a nation would have collapsed. Washington demonizes Russia, precisely because that nation’s counter-veiling power helped turn its terrorist tide, ensuring victory in Syria. And the US and Israel, in particular, remain obsessed with the Islamic Republic of Iran because it is the senior partner of the regional alliance they confront.
Tasnim: Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), recently declared the collapse of the Takfiri terror group in Iraq and Syria. What is your assessment of Iran’s role in the anti-terrorism campaign in the Middle East region?
Anderson: Iran’s role in the coordination and integration of resistance forces has been vital. Its contribution against sectarian terrorism was seen most prominently in Aleppo, in eastern Syria, in Tikrit, and in Mosul. However, more broadly, Iran’s capacity has been seen in support for Syria’s military command and control (especially from 2015), in logistic and humanitarian support across the region, in diplomatic processes (observe the engagements with Europe, Turkey, and Qatar) and, not least, in independent and resistance aligned media services for the entire region. What other media service maintains attention on the Saudi-led dirty war on Yemen? The Islamic Republic’s mentoring, training and support role for the Palestinian, and Lebanese Resistance and for Iraq’s popular forces is well known. Tehran’s alliance with secular Syria has been unshakeable, since 1979. General Soleimani’s role has been unique and uniquely feared by colonial forces, as he represents the face of regional resistance. That is deeply corrosive of colonial and neo-colonial ‘divide and rule’ strategies.
Tasnim: Secretary-General of the Lebanese Hezbollah Resistance Movement Hassan Nasrallah said recently that despite the US claims about fighting terrorism, it spared no effort to help Daesh forces in the Syrian town of Albu Kamal. “The US helped Daesh as much as it could in Albu Kamal short of directly engaging forces that fought to liberate the town from Daesh,” the Hezbollah leader noted. What do you think about the remarks?
Anderson: There was indeed a substantial counter-offensive by Daesh forces in Albu Kamal - as we also saw last year in Tadmor (Palmyra). In both cases that was only possible through logistical and intelligence backing from US forces in the region. Syrian commanders said they had observed Daesh acting on intelligence that was only available through satellite. In Deir ez-Zor this October a senior Syrian General told me just how well coordinated Daesh had been by US forces, such that he was effectively fighting a US command. In Iraq, from late 2014 onwards, and in Syria from late 2017, there were many reports of US helicopters evacuating Daesh commanders, particularly foreign agents, when Daesh forces along the Euphrates were on the retreat.
There was one incident last year where US air forces (including British, Australian and Danish planes) directly attacked Syrian forces, to assist Daesh. I will soon publish a longer piece on that incident, but the basic facts are these. On 17 September 2016 a carefully planned US-led air raid on Jabal al Tharda (Mount Tharda), overlooking Deir Ez-Zor airport, slaughtered over 100 Syrian soldiers and delivered control of the mountain to Daesh. After that sneak attack, the terrorist group held the mountain for almost a year but did not manage to take the airport or the entire city. US-led forces admitted the attack but claimed it was all a ‘mistake’.
Of course, a full understanding of that attack is only possible with after seeing accounts from all sides. However, in the current war propaganda climate, western peoples have been told that news sources from Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Russia are effectively prohibited. Those campaigns of censorship and intimidation have helped minimize dissent.
Fortunately, the crime at Jabal al Tharda can be assessed from eight sets of uncontested facts. First, the attack was on the forces of a strategic opponent, whom the US wished to overthrow, weaken or ‘isolate’; second, there was no semblance of provocation; third, this was a well-planned operation, with days of advance surveillance; fourth, the attack was sustained and effective, meeting covert objectives; fifth, there was both immediate and longer term benefit to ISIS; sixth, the US gave false locality information to the Russians before the attack, and delayed their ‘hotline’ response to Russia during the attack; seventh, the US made false claims about being unable to identify Syrian troops; eighth, the US ‘investigation’ was hopelessly partisan, self-serving and forensically useless; there was no attempt to even contact the Syrian side. If there were an independent criminal tribunal on this crime, I suggest they would have no problem in convicting the US command for mass slaughter in direct support of Daesh.
So we have seen multiple reports of Washington’s indirect support for Daesh, several instances where they did nothing to stop Daesh (e.g. the two invasions of Tadmor), instances where they did nothing to help Syrian alliance forces defeat Daesh (in Deir ez-Zor in late 2017) and that incident cited above, of direct intervention to support Daesh (in 2016). There can be no doubt that Daesh – like the mercenaries in dozens of earlier US ‘covert operations’ – has served as a tool of Washington’s divide and rule strategies. And when the ugly truth reared its head, the great power hid behind the cold war doctrine of ‘plausible deniability’; in this case not so plausible.