‘ISIS, al-Qaeda wouldn’t have emerged if US didn’t invade Iraq’

Reuters / Stringer
If the US did not invade Iraq in 2003 probably there wouldn’t be ISIS or al-Qaeda there, or anywhere in the Mideast, so it’s their responsibility to handle the situation, Khaled El Shami, political editor of al-Quds newspaper, told RT’s In The Now.

RT:What do you think about Egypt basically asking for the world to intervene in Libya?

Khaled El Shami: Obviously the threat of terror in Libya now is not confined to Egypt or the Middle East but to Europe and eventually to the whole world. The Egyptians were beheaded on the shore of Libya only 350 km away from the south of Italy. I think now the EU countries realize this threat and the way is paved at the moment for a new UN resolution to intervene in Libya.

RT:There are about 15-20 strikes on ISIS by the US-led coalition a day. If the US really wants to get rid of ISIS shouldn’t the strikes be more frequent?

KS: I think many people in the Middle East are asking the same question. Now we don’t really know the answer. What we know is that if America didn’t invade Iraq in 2003 probably we wouldn’t have ISIS or al-Qaeda in Iraq or anywhere in the Middle East now. They do have the responsibility to come back and clean up what they have done in the Middle East. And that’s why I think it is only fair that Egypt is seeking international intervention at this point. Airstrikes are not going to solve the problem. A guerilla war can never be won by airstrikes. Yes, ISIS was contained in Syria and Iraq but it is expanding actually in Libya at the moment, and I don’t believe the US is doing enough to beat ISIS or to achieve a clear victory there.

READ MORE: Egypt President Sisi urges UN intl coalition to intervene in Libya

RT:Do you think we could see any kind of protest in the Middle East about US policy towards ISIS that would be effective?

KS: I think it’s only fair to say that the United States is currently as unpopular as never before in the Middle East. Many people in the Middle East would say actually that the Americans have founded ISIS. And I don’t agree that [ISIS] is just an idea. I do believe that there is an ideological part that has to be handled and has to be fought as well. But al-Qaeda and ISIS are huge organizations with huge funding from states in the Middle East. You also have a huge intelligence support behind these people. How could they invade most of Iraq and Syria, which are now under the control of ISIS? This is not the work of amateurs; they are supported by countries and intelligence operations. So we need to have a serious review of this failing war in my opinion… It has been almost a year now and not much has been achieved. The international community should launch a real war against ISIS and al-Qaeda because now they are a real threat to international peace. I live in Europe now and we have a terrorist attack almost every day. France, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland. This is serious. You have thousands of people travelling from Europe and everywhere else to Iraq and Syria to fight there and they will go back to their countries one day. So I don’t really agree with this attitude that it’s not serious, this is a very serious threat to the whole world.

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