The Iran Project

Unstated Alliance: US seeks longer ISIS life

A B-1B Lancer disengages from a KC-135 Stratotanker after refueling following airstrikes in Syria. (File photo)

Alwaght– End of ISIS terrorist group in Syria and Iraq now makes any longer US military presence in the two countries meaningless, though since the beginning the American military deployment to Syria was uninvited and so a violation of the Syrian sovereignty and in practice lacked the intention to fight the terrorists.

In the present situation, Washington has lost the excuse to continue to stay on the Syrian soil, with the pressures mounting on the US to withdraw its forces, but Americans are moving against the exit demands by intensifying their support for the ISIS remnants.

The official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) has reported that helicopters of the US air force on Thursday evacuated a number of the ISIS commanders from an area in Deir ez-Zor in Syria’s east to al-Hasakah in northeastern corner of the country which is under control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a predominantly Kurdish militant alliance backed by the US. This is not the first time the Americans transfer ISIS leaders and fighters in various parts of Syria. Eyewitnesses suggested that before the Syrian army started its operation against the terrorist group in Mayadin in the east of the country in mid-October, the American helicopters transferred a number of ISIS terrorists from other parts of Syria to the encircled region.

The very significant point is that terrorists groups like al-Nusra Front that rebranded itself to Tahrir al-Sham, the main branch of Al-Qaeda in Syria, have been sidelined in the US plans and the ISIS has replaced them as the main party backed by the Americans. But why is the ISIS now finding favor with the US which is taking steps in the terrorist group’s support?

The US is working hard to steer clear of fully losing Syria to Russia and Iran. Syria’s geopolitical position advantages like its neighborhood with Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territories as well as access to the Mediterranean Sea make it a setting for many actors seeking influence. The US, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia in the past six years worked hard to remove President Assad of Syria to pave the way for obtaining their goals in the Arab country. The three parties’ main instrument to this end was the ISIS terrorist group. Many documents substantiate hands of these countries in forming and nurturing ISIS in the crisis-hit country.

Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a Saudi prince with liberal stances, has disclosed that ISIS was created in Saudi Arabia. The American whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed documents proving that ISIS was an American-made terror organization. Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton several times talked about the US role in the emergence of the terrorist group. Donald Trump during his campaign-time attacks on the Obama administration’s policies revealed that ISIS was made by the US intelligence services.

So, it is more than clear that the West created ISIS in the face of an Iranian-led regional camp known as Axis of Resistance. The US now seeks to protect ISIS commanders in an effort to prevent its full collapse as the group showed having a big potential for unifying the opposition camp. The social networks provide the terrorist group with an efficient platform to continue life now that it is neutralized as an organization on the ground. The head of the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affair Roy Johnson warned that the cyberspace will be the new place of the ISIS caliphate.

The analysts hold the idea that one of the main factors barring al-Qaeda from proliferation was a failure to upgrade and walk side by side with the modern technology. Additionally, al-Qaeda promotes an anti-Western policy. This is why in the past few years it has had downturns in front of ISIS upturn, something made it fall out of favor with the US. Washington created, trained, and armed al-Qaeda in the 1980s to fight the Soviet Red Army in Afghanistan.

Despite the fact that ISIS has totally lost its territories in Syria and Iraq, the US finds the group highly reliable for future projects serving the American goals in Afghanistan and Central Asia. After all, it has shown great recruiting potentials and its agenda has never been to fight the Western forces in the region. ISIS behavior in such hot spots as Syria and Iraq made it clear that it is inclined to work with the West and Israel, and it has worked with them on the ground.

ISIS, excuse for Syria stay

After the finish of the terrorist group, now Washington is stripped of pretexts for ongoing presence in Syria. The Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 11 from Russian airbase in Syria ordered the withdrawal of the Russian forces from Syria after the conclusion of the mission, setting in motion waves of pressure on the US to follow suit. In this situation, the best move is to protect the ISIS commanders and leaders for use in prospective projects. US can build its argument for staying longer in Syria on fighting remnants of ISIS.

The US envoy to the US-led international military coalition in Syria Brett McGurk said that the coalition in the new year will review its strategy with the great concentration being given to stabilization of the liberated regions in Iraq and Syria. He said that the American forces will stay in Syria until Washington makes sure that ISIS is fully defeated in Syria.

“We’ll also remain present in other areas of Syria to make sure that ISIS cannot return and to make sure that we can help with the stabilization efforts so people can return to their homes,” McGurk was quoted as saying.

This apparently leads to the conclusion that terrorist groups have often presented instruments serving the US interests. Therefore, full ISIS destruction is never good news to the American interests and Washington will strive to impede its annihilation.

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