"Washington seems keen to keep its prime assets, not least Daesh commanders, in
the region for 'divide and rule' operations which help sustain a pretext for US
bases across the region,” Professor Tim Anderson, a lecturer at the University
of Sydney, said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
"Driving divisions between peoples, with the help of Israel and the Saudis, and preventing the normal peaceful integration of neighboring countries of the region, has become a key to US strategy in West Asia,” he added.
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: Recent evidence shows that the Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) terrorist group is on the rise in war-torn Afghanistan with the support of the US government. According to Tasnim dispatches, a large number of prisoners, all of whom senior members of Daesh, recently broke out of a Taliban prison in northwest Afghanistan after US troops helped them escape through a covert operation. Given that Daesh's so-called caliphate has collapsed in Syria and Iraq, what goal is Washington pursuing by transferring the terrorists to Afghanistan and strengthening them?
Anderson: Washington seems keen to keep its prime assets, not least Daesh commanders, in the region for 'divide and rule' operations which help sustain a pretext for US bases across the region. Driving divisions between peoples, with the help of Israel and the Saudis, and preventing the normal peaceful integration of neighboring countries of the region, has become a key to US strategy in West Asia. That is also why they wish to keep their own troops stationed on the borders of Syria-Iraq, and surrounding Iran. Washington is reported to have lost some of its special forces soldiers in the operation to free Daesh fighters from a Taliban prison.
That can raise an image problem for Washington back home, where US soldiers dying to rescue Daesh fighters does not look good, given the well-publicized but false pretext ('fighting Daesh') for US troop presence in much of the region.
Tasnim: As you know, some regional countries, including Iran, have been sensitive about the presence of Daesh in Afghanistan due to their national security concerns. How justifiable do you see their concerns?
Anderson: Of course, Iran will be concerned about Daesh in Afghanistan, as they are about Daesh in Iraq and Syria and in the Caucasus. Iran is the chief target of both Israel and Washington, because of its leading independent role. Not that long ago the Saudi regime (chief sponsor of terrorism and effectively a 'cat's paw' for the US in West Asia) sent in Daesh terror attacks on Iran's National Assembly (parliament), the Imam Khomeini mausoleum and, more recently against a military parade. Riyadh has even tried to recruit for Daesh, with limited success, within Iran. There has been an ongoing war - including economic, terrorist and propaganda wars - against Iran ever since 1979. There can be little doubt that Daesh assets in the region are being mobilized against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Tasnim: Do you think that Daesh would be able to establish a foothold in Afghanistan given the fact that the Muslim people in the country are strongly opposed to them and their extremist ideologies?
Anderson: It will indeed be difficult for Daesh to build support within Afghanistan. First, the Afghan people are fiercely and famously independent. Second, while extremism in Afghanistan was fed by Washington in the 1980s, the particular strains of fanaticism in that country come from the Deobandi (South Asian) and not from the Salafi (Persian Gulf Arab) traditions. Although these can appear similar to outsiders, Deobandis and Salafis generally do not get along. However Saudi money can broker some alliances, with local intermediaries. We have seen, for example, some Pakistani mercenaries within Daesh groups in Syria.