Da'esh defeated in Syria and Iraq, who should take the credit?

Iranian Major General, Qassem Soleimani (C)

A dark episode of modern time is coming to an end. The forces of evil are facing total defeat in Syria and Iraq. With their fake caliphate crumbled and with no strongholds left, Da'esh is hoping to prolong their existence in some sort of guerrilla fight against Syrian and Iraqi forces, as well against their allies.

US political and military officials will try to take full credit for the defeat of Da'esh, but evidence proves otherwise. While we cannot deny the US role in defeating Da'esh especially in Iraq, to say it's solely the work of US-led coalition is false and inaccurate. How the US fought in Syria can be seen in the case of Raqqa, which has been literally reduced to rubble and with a heavy toll in civilian casualties.

 One year ago when corporate media cried for al-Qaeda and its affiliates in East Aleppo, reporting almost on a daily basis of the “last hospital destroyed”, that it's a “genocide in Aleppo which has been reduced to rubble”, the true meaning of such words can be seen in Raqqa.  

Da'esh couldn't be defeated only by using air forces. Ground forces are those who took the real fight and the final victory. Even though the corporate media and US military command praises the victory over Da'esh claiming the Kurdish paramilitary forces of Syria and Iraq are the forces who brought Da'esh to its knees, and that Kurdish forces are the strongest in the region, that statement couldn't be further from the truth.

In Iraq, Kurds indeed fought fiercely against Da'esh, especially in Kirkuk, but their victories wouldn't have been achieved without the huge support of US and Western governments in arms, training and with the aerial campaign which was mostly localized in the areas of Kurdish military operations. In October, after the referendum for Iraqi Kurdistan independence, which the Iraqi government rejected, Iraqi armed forces pushed Peshmerga out of Kirkuk and threatened them with military actions if they tried to push further with independence. Their US “allies” also backed down, leaving Iraqi Kurds all by themselves and without any support from foreign nations. Except Israel.

In Syria, the US project of the “Syrian Democratic Forces” share the credit in defeating Da'esh in Hasakah province, some parts of eastern Aleppo and in Deir Ez Zor province where their progress was fast, in many areas with light Da'esh resistance, and with the opportunistic goal to take (steal) the oil fields on the east bank of Euphrates river.

In Raqqa, Da'esh was squeezed from the west by the Syrian armed forces and SDF from the east. Kurdish and US forces made a deal with Da'esh to evacuate the city of Raqqa and to concentrate their fight against Syrian forces in Deir Ez Zor, which left us with no other presumption than that Da'esh finally and publicly revealed itself as yet another of many US proxies against Syria and Iraq.

This is something we already knew, and something which former US Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed in a leaked audio recording at the meeting with Syrian “opposition” members at the Dutch Mission of the United Nations in 2016.

With the recent testimony of former “Syrian Democratic Forces” spokesman Talal Silo (who defected to Turkey) given in an interview with Anadolu Agency, we have solid proof of such claim. Even now as I write, Da'esh crossed the Euphrates river from the east bank and attacked Syrian positions north of al-Bukamal. The attack failed, but the question still remains: Are SDF and their US masters serious in fighting Da'esh on the east bank of Euphrates since they still have the ability for such attacks?

Da'esh was the perfect tool for the United States to weaken Syria and to use it as a pressure against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad which miserably failed. The cost was very high in Syrian blood, but we must be aware that US military and political officials don't care much about Syrian lives.

Back in 2015, former CIA director Michael Hayden stated that fight against Da'esh could last “thirty years”. The US-led coalition were conducting aerial campaign against the terrorist organization for more than a year, and at that time Da'esh was getting stronger and bigger. US actions against Da'esh was no real threat for that terrorist organization. Da'esh sold stolen oil via Turkey to third parties, earning millions on a daily basis, and thousands of foreign nationals were still coming into Syria and Iraq to join the fake caliphate. It is impossible to believe the US inability to make serious damage to Da'esh and that Da'esh was just too strong even for US coalition forces. Russian intervention proved different and showrf the world how to deal with that terrorist organization, striking oil convoys, weapons depots and supply routes. Da'esh started to crumble leaving the US and the West literally in shock, and Western media propaganda concentrated their efforts to blame Russian forces for civilian casualties. Even before the first Russian warplanes actually took flight.

We have witnessed years of relentlessness battles between Syrian armed forces and Da'esh in the provinces of Aleppo, Hama, Homs and Deir Ez Zor. Preposterous lies from corporate media and think-tanks on how “Assad is not fighting” Da'esh and how the Syrian government is “colluding” with that criminal organization proved different on the battlefields. Countless battles led to total defeat of Da'esh in central Syria. The breaking of the siege of the Kweiris military airbase and eastern parts of Aleppo province, the liberation of Palmyra and Qaryatayn, clearing huge areas of eastern Hama province, all those fierce battles were victories for Syrian and allied forces even though they were stretched across the country with continuous lack of proper equipment and manpower.

Three years of the Deir Ez Zor siege became a “death hole” for terrorist mercenaries who were unable to penetrate the whole city. Against all odds Da'esh was fought off. As the US played very dirty game in Syria, attacking the Syrian Arab Army both on the ground and in the air, as well as Iraqi and Iranian militias who are legally in Syria fighting terrorism, and under the disguise of “mistakes” and “friendly fire”, one brutal and criminal attack must be mentioned. The attack on Syrian Arab Army's position on Thardeh Mountain south of Deir Ez Zor city in September 17 2016. Since Syrian forces were inflicting heavy damage to Da'esh terrorists throughout the years of siege, this “mistake” almost led to the fall of the Deir Ez Zor military airport and with that the city itself would have fallen into Da'esh's claws.

The US warplanes along with the planes from United Kingdom, Denmark and Australia unleashed hell upon the SAA position killing around 100 Syrian defenders and wounding many more. The attack lasted almost an hour, and even though the Russians tried to contact US forces via established deconfliction hotline, the answer came too late. Minutes after the attack, Da'esh criminals went on the offensive and took the Thardeh Mauntain, and from that position all of the Deir Ez Zor airport, which was of utmost importance for the survival of the city, was in their range. Some unconfirmed reports stated that US coalition forces were jamming radars, if that was the case and since we know for a fact that Da'esh do not possess radars, we can presume that the attack was thoroughly planned in an effort for Da'esh to take the whole city of Deir Ez Zor and prolong their presence in the province and to make the fight against Da'esh much harder for Syrian and allied forces. This attack was everything but a “mistake”, and their plan failed.

Also, the November 23 episode of the US fifth generation F-22 fighter jet which prevented two Russian SU-25 bombers from carrying out combat sorties against Da'esh in the vicinity of Al-Mayadin in Deir Ez Zor province clearly shows that the US operations in Syria are just the disguise of “fighting terrorism”. When a modern SU-35S fighter jet arrived at the scene, the F-22 fled like a coward into the Iraqi air space. It was a simple bully tactic against those for who you know they cannot do you any harm, the very well known pattern of the US foreign policy throughout the decades.

Why would the US Air Force protect Da'esh terrorists on the ground? The defeat of Da'esh comes inconveniently for the US and they are taking it very hard since they expected that criminal terrorist organization would last for decades. Without Da'esh the US is lacking an excuse for their presence in Iraq, and especially in Syria where every single part of their actions are illegal and in breach of International Law and the UN Charter.

US arrogance reached a new low with the letter of CIA Director Mike Pompeo to the Commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Major General Qassem Soleimani. Let us remenber that Soleimani was the mastermind of the liberation of Tikrit in Iraq. He was leading many battlefronts in Iraq and Syria against terrorist groups, and he participated in the forming and training of Syrian National Defence Forces.

As The Washington Post reported, Pompeo “sent a letter to a top Iranian military official warning him that the United States would hold Tehran accountable for any attacks it conducted on American interests in Iraq. 'What we were communicating to him in that letter was that we will hold he and Iran accountable ... and we wanted to make sure that he and the leadership of Iran understood that in a way that was crystal clear,' Pompeo said at a defense forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute in Simi Valley, California.” Soleimani refused even to open the letter showing a deep contempt toward the US official and the overall US policy in the region.

Recently we had one comical episode performed by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who urged Iranian-backed militias in Iraq to go home, completely unaware that Iraq is in fact their home. Was it a pure ignorance or just plain stupidity? Let the public decide. Anyhow, it is for the US troops to go home, not Iraqi troops.

Speaking about the ideology of Da'esh, there is no such thing no matter how hard Western “experts” try to spin the obvious fact. You may find some small differences between Da'esh and the Saudis, but in its core it is the same ideology, Salafism, and it is in fact Saudi state ideology. It comes naturally since Saudi Arabia is the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world and without their financial and military support to terrorist groups in Syria, Da'esh would never be as strong as it was. The US and Saudi illogical accusations that Iran is a leading state sponsor of terrorism also comes natural since Iran proved itself as fierce enemy of Da'esh and other Takfiri terrorist groups, destroying the US plan of a continuous and never ending bogus enemy which would justify the US presence in the region. Today real “axis of evil” in the Middle East is Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States who set the region on fire. Their terrorist proxies will be defeated, it's just a matter of time.

On the ground those who really made the difference in the fight against Da'esh, and who took the most casualties, are the people of Syria and Iraq with the Syrian armed forces and National Defense Forces, the Iraqi Army with Popular Mobilization Forces, Lebanese Hezbollah and the IRGC, with the support of Russian Aerospace Forces and Russian ground forces. The Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon admitted that 2,000 US ground troops are in Syria “fighting” Da'esh, and if they admitted 2,000, the real number is probably much higher. We just need to take a look at the dozens of Russian casualties in comparison to US casualties, which are none. Da'esh never attacked US troops. That fact speaks for itself who was serious in fighting Da'esh. Lies and spins will continue by the corporate media, “experts” and think-tanks, but the reality is much different. In the end, history will be the judge. The history which will be written by those who really defeated Da'esh.

Matija Lukač

Matija Lukač is a pro-Syrian activist and researcher of the Syrian conflict; he is also a Special Assistant and Contributor for the Middle East and Syria at the GlobalCIR website.