‘US’ foreign policy, training of Islamic radicals behind ISIS, Syria crisis’

© Mohammed Salem
America’s major foreign policy and training of Islamist radicals in the past are responsible for “disasters” in the Middle East now, such as Syria and Libya and Islamic State, a former head of the US consulate visa department in Saudi Arabia J. Michael Springmann told RT.

The US government, however, has been blaming Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime for the rise of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

On Tuesday, State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a briefing that Assad “is the reason ISIS and other terrorist groups have been allowed to fester and grow and sustain themselves inside Syria,” and Russia should not lend support to the Syrian government in its fight against terrorism.

Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, dismissed the US claims accusing Assad instead blaming “the American occupation” for the rise of IS.

“ISIS appeared and became active in Iraq when the militants began storming Baghdad …” Churkin said.

In an interview with Russian news outlets, including RT, Assad criticized the US-led international coalition, saying that since it “started to operate, ISIS has been expanding.”

“You cannot be with and against terrorism at the same time,” Assad concluded.

The president, however, did not completely rule out the possibility of cooperation with the US-led coalition, but only if countries within the coalition “change their policies and realize that terrorism is like a scorpion: if you put it in your pocket, it will sting you.”

A former head of the US consulate’s visa department in Saudi Arabia J. Michael Springmann told RT that the US and the coalition will have to withdraw and “and stop supporting terrorism”  to let Syria get back on track “without interference from people who know nothing about the region and who had nothing in their minds except to destroy the area.”

RT: You've said before that the US training of Islamist radicals in the past is tied to America's major foreign policy disasters in the Middle East. Can you expand on what you mean?

J. Michael Springmann: The United States of America some years back was working with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to recruit the wildest, most outrageous, most uncontrollable Muslims and Arabs from all over the world to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Along the way they found that they had a good thing going – they had a cadre of well-trained, well-armed fanatics. They could be used to overthrow governments, to destabilize countries the United States didn’t like.

They began with Yugoslavia, they moved on to Iraq, then into Libya and now they are in Syria. The American government publicly raises its hands about that problem, about ISIS. But unfortunately, it is just a rebranding. Originally it was Mujahideen. Then it was Al-Qaeda. Now it is ISIS, the same crowd of fanatics trained and advised by the United States and some of the most repressive governments in the region – Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.

© Kevin Lamarque

RT: Is history repeating itself now?

JMS: Yes, it is. We are back to the same thing we had in Libya, the same thing we had in Yugoslavia. The idea is to de-house, to de-culturalize, destabilize and destroy countries that the United States does not like.

RT: Syria's President Assad had this to say on the coalition that's bombing IS militants, that its efforts had failed and “there is no impact on the ground.” How would you assess the coalition's successes? Have there been any?

JMS: It [the coalition] is going to change its policy. It is going to have to stop supporting terrorism. It is going to have to withdraw. It is going to have the people in the region to elect their own governments and run their own economies without interference from the outside, without interference from people who know nothing about the region and who had nothing in their minds except to destroy the area.

RT: Does the US really know how to engage Assad at this point, after all these years of war and ruined diplomatic opportunities?

JMS: They have overextended themselves, they wrecked the American economy in the process. The Americans do not realize, and they are praising the American government for its protection of them from terrorists, that money that can be used to fix highways, sewage treatment plans, bridges, have gone to a bunch of fanatics, whose only goal to turn Syria and Libya into another Iraq. It’s a big failure.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.