US might turn against ‘Shia Axis in Syria’ in post-ISIS phase
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) told RT that thousands of ISIS terrorists and their families were allowed to leave Raqqa shortly before the city was recaptured. Earlier, it was reported the deal with Islamic State was agreed with the knowledge of the US-led coalition. The deal allowed hundreds of ISIS militants to escape deeper into Syria, while others reportedly made their way to Turkey.
RT: Do you think it was the right decision to allow Islamic State fighters to leave Raqqa?
Ali Rizk: It wasn’t the correct decision. It might also have been a deliberate America-led decision. This isn’t the first time we hear stories of such an essence. The head of Russia’s General Staff [Valery Gerasimov] recently made statements in the same direction, saying the Americans were actually training or providing forms of assistance to ISIS. I think you have to put this within the framework of the aftermath of ISIS. We all know that ISIS is losing ground, it is basically on the verge of defeat in Syria, already defeated in Iraq. So, the fact that it is on the verge of defeat in Syria, I think what the Trump administration might be doing, is preparing for the post-ISIS phase. What I meant to say is putting together, maybe a new group, not ISIS, but a new group which “includes” former ISIS fighters to take on the Syrian Army and its allies, first and foremost Iran. Because the Trump administration and also Trump’s close ally Israel premier Benjamin Netanyahu, they have spoken of the necessity to counter the Iranian presence in Syria. I think that this latest piece of news is very closely linked to the Trump’s strategy and to Israeli strategy of escalating against Iran in Syria, also against Hezbollah and what they call the Shia axis in Syria.
I believe this undermines the claim of the US that it is fighting terrorism and gives credit to the accusations that the US is using terrorism as a tool to achieve geopolitical objectives in the Middle East... [Terrorists] could regroup and maybe they could even adopt a different name this time because ISIS is a splinter of the Wahhabi forces of Al-Qaeda that were fighting, for example, in Afghanistan and later in Iraq and they were trained and financed and used by the US and Saudi Arabia. These members of ISIS could disband and regroup under another banner, this time it could be more appealing to the Western and American rhetoric of democracy, human right and establishing democratic Syria. - Dr. Jamal Wakeem, professor of history and international relations at Lebanese University in Beirut
RT: Could this deal allow ISIS to regroup and take back control of parts of Syria?
AR: Of course, we’ve become accustomed to shortsighted American policies. The best example is Afghanistan. We also [know] how the Americans during the Reagan administration provided all forms of assistance to what they called the mujahedin in Afghanistan and look what that led to, it led in the end to 9/11, it backfired against the Americans themselves. But I don’t think the Americans ever learned the lesson. Despite the fact that they have fallen time and again to terrorist attacks, they continue with these shortsighted policies. Yes, it could lead to ISIS regrouping, it could lead to all kinds of different havoc or chaos. But this is basically the result of these US policies that we’ve got used to. And I don’t see that the Americans will learn their lesson anytime soon, despite the fact that these mistakes are accumulating...
In the post-ISIS phase in Syria, we’ve entered a new stage whereby the US will focus efforts on countering Iran, on countering Syrian Army, Hezbollah, possibly countering by proxy the Russian military in Syria as well.