Introduction — Sept 28, 2014
Underlining Iran’s deep mistrust of the West, Iran’s President Rouhani told CNN’s Christian Amanpour on Friday that the U.S. campaign against ISIS had thus far been little more than “theater”.
Rouhani’s cynicism is echoed by many in Iran. The Commander of Iran’s Volunteer Basij Forces Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, for example, has accused the U.S. of being behind Islamic State.
On September 14 he told Fars News: “Washington has created the ISIL terrorist group to carry out its plots in the Middle East,”
There is indeed a widespread belief in Iran that the U.S. and its allies have armed, trained and financed the Islamic militants to further their own agenda.
Much of this has helped fuel the ongoing conflict in Syria, which has resulted in the deaths of many thousands of ordinary Syrians.
CNN’s Amanpour doesn’t touch upon that in the following interview however. Instead she focuses attention on Syria’s President Assad and questions why Iran supports his “genocidal barbarism”. As if President Assad was solely responsible for the loss of life and the Western backed militants had played no part.
In other words the following interview is little more than a propaganda piece presented as journalism.
Iran’s President calls airstrikes on ISIS ‘theater,’ says broader campaign needed
Mick Krever — CNN Sept 27, 2014
Airstrikes against ISIS militants are a “psychological operation,” not a military one, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Friday.
“It is a common threat for all of us,” he said. “And this requires a unison effort from all of us.”
“We need a vast campaign of operations … the aerial bombardment campaign is mostly, I would say, a form of theater, rather than a serious battle against terrorism.”
Iran and the United States have found their foreign policies surprisingly aligned in the past several months, as both try to beat back the advance of the Sunni extremists that have gained a foothold in Iraq and war-torn Syria.
While the United States has limited itself thus far to airstrikes in those two countries, Iran has sent Revolutionary Guard units into Iraq; the head of the Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, Qassem Suleimani, has even been photographed on the ground in Iraq.
Five Gulf countries, traditional adversaries of Shiite Iran, joined with the United States in a rare coalition to strike ISIS in Syria.
However, Rouhani said he’d like to distance himself “from the word ‘coalition’ because some countries haven’t come together under the umbrella of this coalition.”
The question of Syria
Many of the countries participating in the coalition have long pushed for the ouster of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad, as the Emir of Qatar told Amanpour on Thursday in his first-ever interview. Iran, on the other hand, is al-Assad’s most fervent backer; most military analysts agree that the regime would have fallen long ago were it not for Iran’s 2012 intervention in the conflict.
“How do you feel,” Amanpour asked Rouhani, “as the president of Iran, as the main military backer of a regime, the Assad regime, that the United Nations has said has killed 200,000 of its own people — tortured people, executed people. Why does Iran want to be associated with that kind of genocidal barbarism?”