South Asia and Beyond

Islamic State, Al Qaeda Have US Backing, Hamas, Houthis Are Not Terrorist Groups

 Islamic State, Al Qaeda Have US Backing, Hamas, Houthis Are Not Terrorist Groups

“The real terrorist or extremist groups are Al Qaeda and its offshoot the Islamic State (ISIS). Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis none of these are proxies … they are supported in their host countries … “

With that Tehran academic and foreign policy commentator Seyed Mohammad Marandi told The Gist in an interview to be aired on Monday evening, that none of the latter groups would qualify as terrorist or extremist.

“In Yemen the Houthis are government, in Lebanon Hezbollah is recognised by the government, it has MPs, in fact Hezbollah was created as a result of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. There was a national resistance organisation and it kicked out the Israelis in 2000.”

As for Hamas, it won parliamentary elections in Gaza in 2007, defeating the Palestinian Authority (PA) and resorted to armed force to expel them after the PA refused to recognise the result.

“People in India should recognise that these (Islamic State, Al Qaeda) are extremist groups created by the West and it’s Iran, Iraq and Syria that fought these groups and defeated them.”

He pointed out that in Syria in Sept 2012, Jake Sullivan currently national security adviser to President Biden, wrote in an email to then secretary of state Hillary Clinton that “in Syria Al Qaeda is on our side” (back then ISIS was a part of Al Qaeda, then it split away because of internal differences).

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“We also have the US Defense Intelligence Agency document of the same year which said its regional allies wanted to create a Salafist entity between Iraq and Syria … basically to overthrow Syria, the US took a wilful decision to support this. Who was this Salafist entity it was ISIS. They occupied the area between Syria and Iraq.”

He says the West continues to support them. The US is assisting ISIS in Al Tanf across the Jordanian border in Syria, while in Idlib in northern Syria, NATO is supporting Al Qaeda and its ISIS affiliate.

He claimed that in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in Syria, there were both ISIS bases and Al Qaeda bases, underscoring the “long standing relationship between these extremist groups and the West and I consider Israel to be the West. Iran sent troops to Syria and advisers to Iraq to defeat ISIS which they did. The general who led this war Qassim Soleimani was murdered by the Americans.”

Israel is universally despised, said Marandi, that’s what all the opinion polls are saying. I know India is a different situation public opinion is divided. I think many in India would change their perspective if they knew who actually fought ISIS and Al Qaeda.

“The notion that Iran wants to drive the Jews into the sea, that’s nonsense propaganda. It is being done by the very people who are committing genocide in Gaza.”

Surya Gangadharan

Thirty eight years in journalism, widely travelled, history buff with a preference for Old Monk Rum. Current interest/focus spans China, Technology and Trade. Recent reads: Steven Colls Directorate S and Alexander Frater's Chasing the Monsoon. Netflix/Prime video junkie. Loves animal videos on Facebook. Reluctant tweeter.