‘Western policy of destroying ISIS completely unsuccessful’
President Obama is under increasing pressure from the military to send troops to fight against the Islamic State. It has also been reported that the Pentagon doesn’t have enough drones to use against extremists.
RT:Do you think President Obama's policy in fighting the Islamic State is working?
Douglas MacGregor: Of course not, it is completely unsuccessful from the standpoint of destroying ISIS, but it’s an enormous success story for ISIS. It is actually helping the Sunni Islamists recruit new people – more than a thousand every month from across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
RT:What should be done differently?
DM: First of all, the US should completely disengage from this. This is Sunni vs. Shia war at the regional level that has nothing to do with us. Iraq and Syria do not exist as states any longer. Southern Iraq is now a satellite of Iran, Syria is split between Mr. Assad who is aligned with Iran and Sunni Muslim extremists who want to remove him. Remember, on one side you have the Turks, the Saudis and other Sunni Islamists, and on the other side you have Iran, Russia in the background, its [Iran’s] allies in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria. So this is really not a fight for the US at all.
RT:The US is not the only country that is carrying out strikes against the IS, Britain is actively involved as well. Given the current policies, how long do you think it will take to defeat the Islamic State, if it’s possible?
DM: The only reason Britain is involved is because we are involved. The West, the rest of it, is really disinterested and understands that the way to protect Europe from this sort of things is to secure Europe’s borders, something that’s long overdue. The same holds with us. We all need to re-examine immigration and the people who are coming in to our countries. That has nothing to do with intervening in the region. We are not going to change the outcome, we cannot manipulate the people on the ground – to do so is a fool’s errand. You would think it is a point we have learned from both Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a matter that has to be settled in the region by the people who live there.
RT:There are reports that the US does not have drones to combat Islamic State. Are you surprised by that?
DM: There is a real appetite in Washington DC for unmanned systems. The unmanned system is popular because you don’t put any Americans at risk and in theory you can kill other people in other countries with impunity. This is the sort of thing that politicians love when they understand there is no support in the US inside the electorate for the commitment of the US military power on the ground in the Middle East. They know that.
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